So just like us, I’m sure you’ve seen the latest skincare trends on social media, the “black wax facial peal”.  We’ve been reading up to see if these facials are all they are cracked up to be…

What is the treatment?

The treatments usually last around an hour and costs around £30.  The process involves covering the face with a black face mask.  Once set it’s pealed off exfoliating the face, clearing blackheads and pores, removing unwanted hair in the process.  The masks contain charcoal, which makes the mask black, and is intended to purify the skin.

Some sites claim that the treatment is pain free, however, we’ll let you make the call if it’s pain free or not!

So whats the issue?

Now the treatments promise a lot, but in our opinion also have the potential to cause damage to the skin.

What do the experts say?

Andy Millward, facialist and member of the BABTAC has warned just how much damage they could be doing.

‘They effectively act like glue binding to the cells on the skin’s surface as well as any vellus hair.  In fact, there are loads of DIY versions of the mask doing the rounds on YouTube which literally are made from PVA Glue and charcoal powder.  When removed, the mask is removing cells from the outer layer of skin (the stratum corneum) and any hair along with it. You only need to watch some of the videos that have gone viral to see the excruciating pain the mask users are in.’

What damage can the treatment do?

Andy explained that although your skin may be soft and smooth, this is simply because you’ve effectively stripped off a surface layer of skin. It’s a form of extremely aggressive exfoliation that irritates the skin in the process. The other thing the masks are pulling off your face, other than your baby hairs? All the natural oils that sit on your skin to keep it healthy.

These oils provide a chemical barrier that protects the skin from any harmful micro-organisms. So when you strip them away, you’re leaving your skin open to all kinds of nasty stuff.

‘It’s a little like using a chainsaw to prune a tree, when some hand-held garden shears would have done the job.  The chainsaw might get the job done, but you’ll end up stripping the tree back a little further than intended.’

What if I’ve already had the treatment?

So, you’ve had the treatment, now what do you do?  Well don’t panic, within 30 days, the skin will replace the oils and sebaceous filaments you’ve ripped.  So stay calm as the damage will heal. But that won’t happen if you keep using the masks!

‘If you’ve used the masks once you’re unlikely to cause any long-term damage so don’t panic.  The positive thing is the skin is a very sophisticated organ. It is more than capable of replacing the sebaceous filaments that have been removed.’

However this process can take up to 30 days, during which time the skin is obviously going to be a little more vulnerable.

‘So if you continue to use products that strip the skin of its natural oils (including harsh cleansers and exfoliants) then you’re likely to cause secondary issues.’

He recommends using a gentle cleanser while you wait for the skin to recover.  Also apply a hydrating, antioxidant-rich serum to help the repair process along. Make sure to use a sunscreen, too, as the damage may make your skin more sensitive and vulnerable to damage.

Credit: Metro “Why you shouldn’t use those black peel-off face masks everyone’s obsessed with right now”