Complements The charcoal mask craze


I’m sure many of you have seen the charcoal mask craze all over social media. No matter how many times you use those charcoal pore strips or peel-off charcoal masks, you will still see tiny little gray dots on your nose and chin.

Marketing has convinced everyone that the gray dots are blackheads. This is wrong, however, and I want to set the record straight. These are sebaceous filaments, which are naturally occurring, tiny hairline formations on your skin that channel oil from your pores to moisturize the skin. Some people naturally have more than others, and tend to have oilier complexions.

Many clients have asked me about charcoal beauty products, so I finally broke down and tried an over-the-counter black charcoal nose strip. Not only did removing the pore strip hurt, but I also worried I was going to tear my skin while taking it off. Additionally, my skin was extremely dry afterward. When I pulled the strip off, I didn’t find anything but my normal sebaceous filaments.

I’m not saying you may not have any blackheads. When dead skin or the cosmetic products we use build up in the pores, that is when a whitehead or a blackhead occurs. If you squeeze the pore, the top of the plug will be darker than the rest of what comes out. This is a blackhead. Don’t struggle to extract it. You really shouldn’t pick at all, but if you do, you will want to wait until after a shower when your pores have been softened from the steam.

As for sebaceous filaments, you can’t get rid of them, but you can manage their appearance. So how do you make those blackhead imposters appear less visible? Try these four tips:

  • Exfoliate your skin two to three times a week.
  • Try a retinol product, which stimulates the production of new skin cells.
  • Have microdermabrasion by a licensed practitioner to remove the dead skin.
  • Try a clay mask (that is removed by water) to help absorb the oil.

Skip the painful pore strips and peel-off masks and instead try any of these tips. If you would like to learn more about treatment options, feel free to contact me with any questions at