How safe and effective are charcoal masks, really?

The masks are made of a mixture of activated charcoal and liquid glue

Charcoal face mask
Photo courtesy of YouTube

BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – People will go above and beyond to get rid of acne and other blemishes on their face. The newest trend is using a charcoal face mask to literally pull off unwanted imperfections.

The masks are made of a mixture of activated charcoal and liquid glue, or people can buy them online. After the mixture is applied to the face, you wait a couple of minutes for it to dry before pulling it off.

But, how reliable and safe can this new method be?

“What it’s doing is actually ripping off your stratum corneum, and by doing that it’s stripping your skin of what it needs to protect itself,” said Boardman dermatologist Jenifer Lloyd.

The stratum corneum is the outermost layer of the epidermis. It’s composed of 15 to 20 layers of dead and flattened cells.

Lloyd works at The Lloyd Dermatology and Laser Center, which was founded by her father. She is not a fan of the masks.

“The screaming that people do in the YouTube videos is because you are actually ripping out the little vellus hair follicle and it can cause folliculitis,” Lloyd said.

Folliculitis is when these tiny hair follicles get infected.

“When you pull it off, you actually see the little hair casts, and that’s why they think they are pulling off blackheads and things like that,” Lloyd said.

She says the best thing you can do is go to your dermatologist and get long-term products that can keep blemishes from forming in the first place.


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