DIY Charcoal Mask for Acne-Prone Skin

It’s no secret that have struggled with acne for the greater part of my post-pubescent life. Although it’s been well under control for several years, I was continuously on-the-go and traveling over the summer, and both of those things tend to wreak havoc on my skin. Now that life has calmed down a bit, I’m attempting to get my skin back in check.

I’m sure most of you have at least heard about activated charcoal as the latest and greatest beauty hack. For those of you who haven’t, it’s most known for whitening teeth, banishing bloat, and attacking acne. I recently received a sample of a charcoal mask and absolutely loved what it did for my skin! However, when I researched the price of the full bottle, I was less than thrilled.

In an attempt to save a few bucks and ensure that my beauty products are as non-toxic as possible, I decided to make my own. While I won’t go into detail about the toxicity of most beauty products on the market, I encourage you to check out EGW’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database to learn more. Keep in mind: our skin is our biggest organ, and it absorbs everything!

The ingredients that went into this mask were carefully selected, and here’s why:

  • Bentonite Clay
    • Due to its negative electrical charge, pulls toxins (which generally have a positive electrical charge) away from the skin
    • Unclogs and shrinks pores
    • Helps regulate sebum production
    • Controls redness and inflammation related to both acne and scarring
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
    • Contains alpha hydroxy acid that works to remove dead skin cells and reveal vibrant, healthy skin
    • Contains malic acid, which serves as a potent antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral agent that removes toxins from the skin
    • Balances skin pH, thereby balancing sebum production
  • Activated Charcoal
    • Proven to absorb thousands of times its own mass in toxins
    • Unclogs and shrinks pores
    • Helps regulate sebum production
    • Controls redness and inflammation related to both acne and scarring
  • Tea Tree Essential Oil
    • Has potent cleansing properties that work to remove toxins from the skin and prevent further clogging
    • Studies have shown that it is gentler, yet more effective than benzoyl peroxide
    • Helps regulate sebum production
    • Controls redness and inflammation related to both acne and scarring

You probably noticed that the ingredients selected have similar functionalities. This makes for a potent and highly effective face mask. As such, I recommend that this mask is used no more than two times per week, as overuse may lead to dried-out skin. Further, you’ll notice that the mask will tighten over the 10 minutes in which it is left on. This is to be expected. That sensation simply means that you are experiencing the bentonite clay and activated charcoal in action! :)


What you’ll need:

  • 2/3 cup bentonite clay
  • 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup activated charcoal powder
  • 1/4 cup filtered water
  • 40 drops tea tree essential oil
  • An airtight, 16 oz. container

What you’ll do:

  • Whisk all ingredients together in a small mixing bowl; transfer to container using a rubber spatula
  • To use, apply a quarter-sized amount to the face; leave on for 10 minutes and rinse with warm water; tone and moisturize as usual
  • Be sure to store in the refrigerator as it does not contain preservatives

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