Do charcoal masks really work? There are conflicting reports

Charcoal masks are one of the latest beauty trends to hit the market to fight acne. But like, all beauty trends, it’s fair to wonder: do charcoal masks even work? According to Lush Cosmetics, charcoal is the carbonized wood from oak, ash, hazel and chestnut trees. While young, the trees are cut, stacked and seasoned for a year. They are then burned for up to 16 hours, until the wood is carbonized and ground into a fine, black powder. You can get these products from major retailers like Bath and Body Works, Sephora , and Target, but again, do they work? And does it matter if you buy a cheap or expensive one? People have given rave reviews about the products. false

The scientific community is still up in the air. Jessica Wu, M.D., a Los Angeles dermatologist and author of Feed Your Face, wrote there aren’t any scientific studies on the effects of charcoal in skin-care products. She says:

There are some acne products containing charcoal because the idea is that the charcoal will bind to toxins, dirt, and oil and lift them out of the pores. However, I haven’t seen any research to back up these claims." She also says that a lot of these products also contain salicylic acid, an ingredient found in many face cleansers used to fight acne.

Even if the charcoal in these products don’t actively help your skin, it’s probably not hurting it either. According to Women’s Health magazine, charcoal is inert. Which means that it won’t irritate your skin or cause an allergic reaction. So even though the jury is still out on the overall effectiveness of these products, you definitely won’t damage your skin. Can’t hurt, might help.

So if you enjoy charcoal products — go for it! Treat yourself girl.

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