- Charcoal masks are commonly used to treat a number of skin conditions, including acne and a dull complexion.
- Bamboo charcoal is more porous than standard charcoal, allowing it to absorb more toxins from the body.
- There is limited evidence to suggest that adding bamboo charcoal masks to your skin care routine helps to treat acne.
- Peel-off charcoal masks can be harmful and should be avoided by those with sensitive or dry skin types.
Charcoal is a popular ingredient in face masks due to its purported detoxifying effects on the skin. The type and quality of charcoals used in cosmetics have been found to influence the efficacy of these products. Bamboo charcoal masks are allegedly more effective for drawing out impurities from your skin due to their increased absorbency.
What Is a Bamboo Charcoal Mask?
As its name suggests, bamboo charcoal is made from harvested fragments of bamboo plants. The bamboo is burned at a high temperature in a low oxygen environment to produce the activated coal. Studies have shown that bamboo charcoal has a large surface area and is very porous, which may allow it to absorb more toxins and impurities than other forms of coal.
Bamboo charcoal face masks contain a high concentration of activated charcoal powder and are typically designed to be rinsed or peeled off your skin.
Benefits of Bamboo Charcoal Face Masks
At the current moment, there is no scientific research to support the benefits of bamboo charcoal masks on the skin. However, anecdotal evidence from those who have used charcoal masks suggests that they may provide some beneficial effects on a variety of skin complaints and conditions, such as blemishes.
Charcoal masks exfoliate the skin, removing dead skin cells and other debris from its surface. This exfoliating effect will help to leave your skin appearing brighter over time.
Charcoal facial masks allegedly work by drawing out buildup and impurities from deep within your pores, helping to control pimples and breakouts. Unfortunately, there is no solid evidence to support this benefit.
Improves eczema and dry skin
Some charcoal masks contain added ingredients to treat dry skin and eczema. Ingredients such as hyaluronic acid or plant oils are often used to boost your skin’s moisture levels. However, charcoal can be a drying ingredient, so it’s best to look for more nourishing alternatives to treat these particular skin complaints.
How to Use a Bamboo Charcoal Mask
When using a mask as part of your routine, you should apply it after washing your face with your daily cleanser. By doing so, the active ingredients in the mask will be more readily absorbed.
Some masks are designed to be peeled off the skin, while others are gently rinsed off. Rinse-off masks are gentler and carry few side effects, while peel-off masks are harsher, yet provide more immediate results.
To apply a rinse-off charcoal mask:
- Apply a thin layer of the mask using clean fingers or a brush.
- Leave on for 10-15 minutes, or as advised on the labeling.
- Gently rinse off the product with lukewarm water.
To apply a peel-off mask:
- Apply the mask to your skin using clean fingers or a brush.
- Leave the mask to dry for 10-15 minutes, or as advised on the labeling.
- Slowly and gently peel off the mask from your skin.
After rinsing or peeling off your mask, make sure to follow up with a hydrating moisturizer or serum to prevent dryness from occurring.
Charcoal is absorbent, which means it can strip away oils from the skin. If used too often, this can compromise your skin’s natural protective barrier, causing it to become dry and irritated. To avoid this, limit your use of charcoal masks to once per week and ensure that you use hydrating products as part of your daily routine. Those with dry or sensitive skin should avoid using charcoal masks.
Other Types of Charcoal Masks
While bamboo charcoal masks are more absorbent and efficient than those containing standard charcoal, masks with added ingredients are generally the most beneficial for your skin.
Charcoal masks may also contain salicylic acid, another powerful ingredient that has been clinically proven to unclog pores and combat acne.
Bamboo charcoal masks are widely used as a treatment for various skin complaints including acne, oiliness, and a dull complexion, despite limited evidence to support their purported benefits. Through exfoliation, they may help to brighten and leave your skin feeling smoother. They may also provide some benefits in drawing out oils and impurities from your pores, although this is based on anecdotal evidence.
Charcoal masks can be drying, and should, therefore, be avoided by those with sensitive or dry skin.
- Arif T. (2015). Salicylic acid as a peeling agent: a comprehensive review. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology, 8, 455–461. https://doi.org/10.2147/CCID.S84765
- Huang, P. H., Jhan, J. W., Cheng, Y. M., & Cheng, H. H. (2014). Effects of carbonization parameters of moso-bamboo-based porous charcoal on capturing carbon dioxide. The Scientific World Journal, 2014. https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/937867
- Meier, L., Stange, R., Michalsen, A., & Uehleke, B. (2012). Clay jojoba oil facial mask for lesioned skin and mild acne–results of a prospective, observational pilot study. Complementary Medicine Research, 19(2), 75-79. https://doi.org/10.1159/000338076
- Sánchez, N.C., Fayne, R.A., Burroway, B., & Bw (2019). Charcoal: An Ancient Material with a New Face. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clindermatol.2019.07.025