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Is a Charcoal Face Wash Good for Your Face?

4 mins

Akhila Jerripothula

What is activated charcoal, and does it work for your skin concerns?

As we welcome warmer spring and summer months, oily and acne-prone skin can sense the impending troubles. The struggle of shining like a disco ball just a few hours into a hot day, or the anxiety-inducing feeling of seeing new pimples form… yikes! Don’t worry, because we’ve been there too. Combating oily skin and acne is a super common problem, and all hope is not lost! Keep reading to find out what natural solutions will work to tackle your skin concerns.  

Know Your Skin

Before you start experimenting with new skincare products, make sure that your current skin type is what you think it is. A common mistake that many people make is assuming your skin type never changes, and base their whole routine around how their skin was 5, 10 years ago. 

Our skin is the largest organ we have and adapts to different environments while being influenced by hormonal changes from puberty, stress, menopause, birth control, and dairy! If you don’t know your skin type already, here are some key points to help you figure it out:

  • If you have tight, itchy, and flaky skin, then you might have dry skin. This means that your skin naturally doesn’t produce enough moisture due to genetics, weather, hormones, and/or stress -- so you will need to supplement with hydrating skincare products and ingredients like aloe vera, castor oil, and hyaluronic acid. 
  • If you have greasy and sticky skin that’s prone to breakouts, then you might have oily skin. This means that your skin is overproducing sebum (skin’s natural oils) that can clog your pores, leading to pesky pimples and dark spots scarring. You will need to combat this excess sebum by using products that gently cleanse, and rehydrate your skin with moisturizing products to promote balanced skin. Drying your skin out with harsh products will only encourage oil production!
  • If some areas of your face are oily (like your T-zone around your nose and forehead) and others are dry (like your cheeks), then you likely have combination skin. Cater your skincare routine for combination skin by using different products in different areas of your face to best address your skin concerns. For example, you may need to use a product made for oily skin on your T-zone, whereas you may need to use a different product made for dry skin on drier areas like your cheeks. The same goes for face treatments like masks. The extra work is worth it!
  • If you consistently deal with redness and irritation, then you may have sensitive skin. People with this kind of skin don’t react well to certain skincare products that contain harsh chemicals or ingredients they’re allergic to. For you all, it’s best to stick with gentle and natural products to soothe your sensitive skin rather than irritate it, and skin barrier strengthening serums to lessen the sensitivity. Find what your skin likes and stick to it. Less is best!

When you figure out what kind of skin type you have, it brings so much clarity in terms of what products to use! There are skincare basics that apply to everyone, and should be used consistently to see the best results! Some of these basic rules are washing your face the correct way, exfoliating regularly to combat acne, and avoiding certain harsh ingredients! What you put on your skin matters.

Skincare Basics

Wash Your Face the Correct Way

How many times should you cleanse your face? Unless you have extremely sensitive skin, you should be cleansing your face twice a day. Once in the morning and once at night before going to bed! Your skin is exposed to various aggressive pollutants throughout the day, plus the accumulation of dirt, grime, sebum, bacteria, etc., it makes sense to want to wash our face at night. Especially with mask wearing, the friction and humid environment under the mask is prime for yeast and bacteria growth, giving you maskne! To tackle this, check out our full maskne routine here. 

Cleansing before bed is key because our beauty sleep is the time when our skin repairs itself. It needs a clean canvas to promote skin rejuvenation! Throughout the night, your skin is pressed up and rubbing against your pillowcase, exposing your skin to oils from your hair and other contaminants that might be on the pillow. Make sure to switch out your pillowcase once a week! 

Lastly, it is important to remember that the temperature of the water that you wash your face with is also very important. Stay away from steaming hot water as heat dilates your pores and can cause breakage on your delicate skin barrier. This can cause your skin to dry out in a bad way and aggravate your acne.

Exfoliate Regularly

The last basic skincare tip is to exfoliate. Your skin goes through a repeating cycle about every 30 days where it sheds the top layer of dead skin cells. However, due to dryness or excess oiliness, some people have trouble with their dead skin cells not shedding properly. Here's where exfoliation comes in!

There are two types of exfoliation; physical and chemical. Physical exfoliation comes in the form of rough particles like sugar or beads. It can also come in the form of a brush that physically scrubs away pore-clogging impurities, like our soft and gentle built-in silicone face brush! You could also use ingredients that are known chemical exfoliants like AHA’s and BHA’s, which work to improve skin cell turnover and encourage skin renewal. Exfoliate 1-2 a week at first, building up your skin's tolerance. Do this less if you have sensitive or active blemishes so as to not irritate the skin. 

Avoid Harsh Ingredients

With all the new skincare on the market, it’s easy to get really wrapped up amongst pretty packaging and buzzwords with fake promises. Look deeper to see what ingredients are really in your beauty products! There are a lot of nasty chemicals that are commonly found in skincare that can be causing skin sensitivity and breakouts. Try to avoid: 

  • Parabens
  • Silicones
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Formaldehyde
  • Lead
  • Phthalate

Instead of these harsh ingredients, look for natural products that feature skin-loving ingredients, like activated charcoal! Stay tuned to learn why this active ingredient can save oily, and acne-prone skin. 

What Is Activated Charcoal Good For?

Like we mentioned before, activated charcoal has been one of the top natural ingredients for fighting pore-clogging impurities and pesky pimples. To begin, what is activated charcoal? It is a fine black powder that’s produced when common charcoal is exposed to high heat. This exposure creates tiny internal spaces or holes in the charcoal, making it highly absorbent and able to trap chemicals and toxins. This is why people use activated charcoal to absorb all the pore-clogging impurities and excess oils on your skin!

Due to the incredible properties of this active ingredient, we use it here at WOW Skin Science to tackle common skin concerns. The first step of your skincare routine sets the tone for the rest of the regimen, so you want to start off strong! Use our Activated Charcoal Foaming Face Wash With Brush on oily or acneic skin to absorb impurities, exfoliate dead skin cells, and reveal your glow! We recommend using this product every other day due to its strong absorption abilities, or less often if you have sensitive skin.


All in all, is charcoal face wash good for your face? Looking at its multifaceted use and unique ability, activated charcoal is an ingredient that might be daunting to many, but works wonders on your skin— especially if you are oily or acne-prone. Looking at all of that, we can come to the conclusion that, yeah! charcoal face wash is good for your face! 

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Author: Akhila Jerripothula

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