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How to Treat Maskne with a Homemade Charcoal Soap

A new problem for many of us, maskne is acne as a result of daily mask-wearing. Even those of us who haven’t seen a pimple in years are noticing them pop up! To help treat your maskne, I formulated this charcoal soap as a powerful tool to draw out toxins while being safe for the face.

This charcoal facial soap is an all-natural, yet powerful, cleanser to add to your every day skincare routine. It is made using my lather soap blend swirled with activated charcoal for a deep facial cleanse.

I formulated this soap after I noticed I was having some irritation and blemishes from wearing a mask. Adding this soap to your routine may just be the one thing you need to tackle maskne once and for all!

Performing a deep cleanse is only half the battle when it comes to maskne. I also wanted to include some maskne tips on how to prevent and treat it. But first, let’s see what we’re working with.

swirled charcoal soap for maskne with lavender

What is Maskne?

Ever since the pandemic started and I have been wearing mask, I have noticed that I’ve been getting pimples on the tip of my nose. As someone who very rarely gets pimples these days, it is certainly out of the ordinary.

Have you heard of maskne before? It’s become a bit of buzz word in the beauty community lately and has been popping up for a lot of people. Maskne is acne or skin irritation as a result of wearing a mask.

Since masks trap in oils and sweat, we become much more prone to blemishes. Whenever our pores get clogged from things such as dirt or sweat, it blocks the ability for sebum (our body’s natural oils) to rise to the surface. When our pores aren’t cleaned, they get blocked and infected, resulting in acne and blackheads.

I know a ton of people who have also noticed maskne. Anyone who wears tighter fitting masks for a long period of time will be more susceptible to it. The mask can either worsen someone who already has acne or even create new problems for someone like me who doesn’t often see a pimple pop up.

The idea of maskne is actually not as new as we think! Think of hockey or football players, or even our doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers. They have been wearing masks for years and know all about maskne.

If what you are seeing looks like a rash and is itchy, you may actually have dermatitis. This can occur from irritation from a mask’s metal, rubber, or dye. Talk to a healthcare professional if you think you may have something other than maskne.

close up of a swirled charcoal soap for maskne

How to Treat Maskne

Luckily, there are a few things we can do to prevent and treat maskne or the severity of it. Here are some maskne tips to try:

  1. Change your mask. The first thing you want to consider is the type of mask you wear. 100% cotton is the best material for masks as it still allows your skin to breathe.
  2. Wash your mask. You will want to wash your mask every day. I’m sure many of us have multiple masks that we cycle through during the week. Once you’re done wearing your mask for the day, toss it in your laundry hamper and use a new one the following day.
  3. Avoid wearing makeup. The mask will really trap makeup into your pores and worsen acne. Since you will be wearing a mask anyways, consider only applying makeup to your eyes and anywhere else above the mask line.
  4. Change your skincare routine. Wearing a mask will actually intensify the product delivery to your skin (think applying Vaseline to dry feet and then wearing socks). You will want to avoid strong and harsh products. Instead, opt for products with fewer ingredients. This charcoal soap recipe is great for skin because it is all natural and contains no harsh chemicals or additives.
  5. Moisturize your skin. Not only does it moisturize your skin, but it will also protect your skin from further mask irritation. Check out my aftercare suggestions at the end of this post for more on moisturizers.
  6. Let your skin breathe. Now that you have cleansed and moisturized, avoid wearing a mark when at home and it is safe to do so, and avoid touching your face. Keeping pores unobstructed will help your breakouts heal.

activated coconut charcoal

The Benefits of Activated Charcoal in Face Soap

The magic ingredient in this soap recipe is activated charcoal. Activated charcoal is amazing for face soaps because of its ability to draw out toxins.

To make activated charcoal, manufacturers heat it at an extremely high temperature which actually changes its internal structure. It does not resemble anything you would burn in your own firepit or barbecue.

Since it has a negative charge, it can actually help to draw our positively charged molecules such as toxins and grease. When used on the face, it acts as a deep cleanser to draw out microparticles from the skin including dirt, chemicals, toxins, dust, and bacteria. Once they are drawn to the surface, it makes the removal of the toxins much easier.

While it may have powerful toxin-clearing properties, it doesn’t absorb vitamins and nutrients that your skin needs. It is also inert, meaning it is unlikely to cause allergic reactions or irritate the skin if used properly.

You may even notice your pores are minimized after using activated charcoal. Dirt and oil make your pores appear larger. By removing them, you will notice smaller pores and smoother-looking skin.

All in all, activated charcoal is a 100% natural ingredient with powerful properties. It was a no-brainer for me to add it to my soap recipe!

swirled charcoal soap for maskne with charcoal powder underneath

Make Your Own Charcoal Soap

This recipe is a 75/25 blend of coconut and olive oil. It can be a bit drying for people with dry skin, but works great for those with oily skin and those who get acne. You will get a great lather to really clean the face thoroughly.

Materials

Ingredients

activated coconut charcoal soap for maskne

Make It!

These step-by-step instructions are great for those who have made soap before. If it is your first time, please find more detailed instructions and photos on how to make cold-process soap, but be sure to follow this recipe’s ingredients.

  1. Keep your eyes and skin safe by wearing goggles and work gloves.
  2. Using a scale, weigh all your ingredients exactly as told in the recipe.
  3. Measure your bentonite clay and activated charcoal in two little containers, such as a shot glass or ramekin. Set aside.
  4. Slowly heat your oils over the stove in a stainless steel pot.
  5. Add water to a heat-resistant 4-cup measuring cup. Very slowly add your lye while stirring constantly. It is best to do this in a well-ventilated area as there will be very strong fumes you will not want to breathe in.
  6. Place your lye mixture in an ice bath. It will need to cool to 115°F. Your oils should also measure at 115°F. Reheat the oils if necessary.
  7. Using an immersion blender, pour the lye mixture into the oils.
  8. Continue blending until your mixture reaches a light trace.
  9. Blend in your lavender essential oils and pulse with the blender a few times. Work quickly as this will speed up the trace.
  10. To make the marbled effect, remove a couple of tablespoons of your soap and mix it with the charcoal and then the bentonite clay. Once thoroughly mixed, scoop the batter back into the bowl. Use a spatula to pull it through the mixture three times in different directions to create swirls.
  11. Pour your mixture into a soap mold. If you don’t have a soap mold, a cleaned and dried 1L milk carton will also work.
  12. Cover your mold with towels and cardboard, then set it somewhere warm (such as the top of the fridge) for 48 hours.
  13. After 48 hours, remove your soap from the mold. Cut into equal sections.
  14. Place your soap on a wire rack and allow it to cure in a cool and dark place for 6 weeks.

Aftercare Routine

Since it is a deep cleanser, you will want to make sure you are following up this charcoal soap with a good aftercare routine. If you have been suffering from acne, chances are your skin balance is off. I use my own rosewater toner in order to naturally restore my skin’s pH. Since we have stripped away the acid layer on top of our skin with a good cleansing, the toner will help to add a new protective layer to the skin.

Rosewater Toner Recipe

After toner, you will need to moisturize your skin. Even if you have oily skin, it is essential to add moisture back after stripping away our skin of its natural oils. And as I mentioned before, it will also help to reduce irritation for future mask use.

I liked to use my natural lotion recipe after washing my skin with charcoal soap. The lotion is formulated to absorb quickly, not clog pores, and moisturize without creating a heavy feeling.

Altogether, the charcoal soap, rosewater toner, and natural lotion have been my saviour for maskne these past few months. Give them a go and you should notice a difference in your skin too!

Charcoal Face Soap Recipe + How to Treat Maskne with It

This charcoal soap will help to draw out toxins trapped in the skin from wearing a mask. Use it to prevent and treat maskne.

Equipment

  • Kitchen scale
  • Infrared thermometer
  • Double boiler, soap making pitcher, and a pot of water.
  • Heat proof measuring cup (4-cup)
  • Immersion blender
  • Safety gear (rubber gloves, face mask, apron, eye protection, etc.)
  • Loaf-style mold

Supplies

Instructions

  • Keep your eyes and skin safe by wearing goggles and work gloves.
  • Using a scale, weigh all your ingredients exactly as told in the recipe.
  • Slowly heat your oils over the stove in a stainless steel pot.
  • Add water to a heat-resistant 4-cup measuring cup. Very slowly add your lye while stirring constantly. It is best to do this in a well ventilated area as there will be very strong fumes you will not want to breathe in.
  • Place your lye mixture in an ice bath. It will need to cool to 115°F. Your oils should also measure at 115°F.Reheat them if necessary.
  • Using an immersion blender, pour the lye mixture into the oils.
  • Continue blending until your mixture reaches a light trace or the consistency of pudding.
  • To make the marbled effect, remove a couple tablespoons of your soap and mix it with the charcoal. Once thoroughly mixed, add the batter back into the bowl. Use a spatula to pull it through the mixture three times in different directions.
  • Pour your mixture into a soap mold. If you don’t have a soap mold, a cleaned and dried 1L milk carton will also work.
  • Cover your mold with towels and cardboard, then set it somewhere warm (such as the top of the fridge) for 48 hours.
  • After 48 hours, remove your soap from the mold. Cut into equal sections.
  • Place your soap on a wire rack and allow it to cure in a cool and dark place for 6 weeks.

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