DANGER: Black Peel-off Masks

Hello everyone, your friendly neighborhood Esthetician here to ruin yet another viral beauty trend. I’m gonna cut straight to the chase- those black peel off masks you’re seeing everywhere? STOP USING THEM! Or if you’ve been interested in trying them, DON’T DO IT! Why is this? you say…. Well, I’m glad you asked:


You’re stretching your pores. 

Those peel-off masks contain ingredients that allow them to adhere to the skin so they require you to peel them off. Because you’re pulling on the mask, and ultimately your skin, over time your pores will stretch as well. (Kind of like after you’ve used a hair tie a bunch of times, and it’s larger than when you bought it). When you stretch your pores, it not only looks unflattering, but it allows for even more bacteria and gunk to settle into them. Which equals more blackheads, which equals a sad face.

You’re removing a layer of skin that you need.

There’s a reason it HURTS to pull off these face masks. One, because you’re literally ripping all of the vellus hairs (i.e. peach fuzz) out of your face… but also, the first layer of skin (AKA the stratum corneum) is coming off with it. When this layer of skin is not in tact, you risk exposing your skin to other bacteria if you’re not careful after the mask is removed. Essentially, you’re super-exfoliating your skin. Which is not a good thing, if you couldn’t already guess. It also takes about 30 days (give or take) for your skin to repair the damage you’ve done. So sorry to break it to you, but your pain was for nothing. RIP your stratum corneum.

You’re damaging the lipid barrier on your skin.

If you’re not an esthetician, you probably don’t know what a lipid barrier is. Or maybe you do. I really have no idea. But if you don’t already know…. Simply put, it’s the protective barrier that holds all of the important oils and water in your skin. It protects against dryness, dehydration, skin sensitivities, etc. Along with the first layer of skin, you’re also damaging this essential part of your skin’s health. If your skin can’t protect itself against water loss and lubricate itself, you age faster. These are facts.

I know people with oily skin think this mask is a great idea because of the amount of oil and blackheads they’re prone to. But did you know that if you get rid of the good oils your skin needs, that you can cause your sebaceous (oil) glands to over produce, making you even oilier? Ummm hard pass, thanks.

You’re causing capillaries to break.

Capillaries = small blood vessels. Most people have a few broken ones on their face here and there due to sun exposure or even blowing your nose too hard (check around your nostrils, I’m sure you’ll find a few). When these break, it can cause the skin to be more sensitive, but it also brings redness to the face as well. When you tug on the skin that hard to remove these masks, you rupture these capillaries and then they sit close to the surface of your skin, causing that discoloration. Ever heard of color correcting? Redness is usually what we try to avoid.

You’re not removing the entire blackhead.

I know you’ve seen the videos. They’re sooooo satisfying. I get it. I do it for a living, trust me. But what you’re pulling out is only the top part of the blackhead. Which means you’re leaving the bottom part inside your pore to just collect more debris and form yet another blackhead. Very counterproductive, don’t you think?

You could also be removing sebaceous filaments, which are also necessary to protect your skin. Not all oil is bad people!!


Another thing that is extremely troubling to me, is the DIY versions of these kinds of masks. Any idea as to what one of the main ingredients are? Hmmm?


Um, excuse me, but you should not be putting children’s craft supplies into your skincare routine. The glue is obviously used for the adhesive part of the mask, and most DIYers will tell you to use “non-toxic” glue to make it seem less harmful. Yeah, no. Don’t put glue on your face. The fact I even need to explain this is like, blowing my mind.

The one component to this mask that I don’t hate is the charcoal. Charcoal is known to be a great detoxifying ingredient, and other charcoal masks are fantastic for drawing out impurities in the skin. The Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask and the GlamGlow SuperMud Clearing Treatment are both masks that contain activated charcoal, and you don’t have to surgically remove your skin to get them off. What a relief.

Anyway, just please avoid these masks. There are so many other ways to remove stubborn blackheads, oil, and uneven texture on the skin. Regular chemical peels, weekly (SAFE) exfoliation, etc. are great places to start. Contact your esthetician or dermatologist to get a thorough skin analysis so you can find a solution that best suits YOU. Always read reviews and do the research before using new and “trendy” products. Protect your skin and treat it well, and it will love you back!!




Coconut Oil is Ruining Your Skin

Let me just start off on a different tangent for a second and say that Pinterest is one of the greatest things that has ever been invented. Seriously, I will spend hours upon hours pinning to various boards that I’ve spent arguably way too much time naming and organizing. HOWEVER, there is a huge downfall to the beauty side of Pinterest, and I’m sure anyone in the industry will agree with me. The people pinning their beauty remedies and DIYs are NOT (for the most part) beauty professionals. They have no license, they have no expertise in the field of beauty, and they have no business recommending remedies to the masses via Pinterest, because they have no idea what they’re talking about. That’s not to say everything you see on Pinterest is wrong or won’t work, but the fact of the matter is that not everything you see on the internet is a good idea. Weird, right?

Which brings me to the point of this blog post, coconut oil. How many pins have you seen floating around about coconut oil? Maybe a million by now? And hey, you may be a coconut oil lover. You might use 7 tubs of coconut oil in the span of two weeks and have no plans on stopping. Great for you. Fantastic. Lovely. But can we STOP RECOMMENDING COCONUT OIL TO EVERY PERSON FOR EVERY AILMENT THEY EXPERIENCE? Coconut oil is not for everyone and it is not for everything. I’m not referring to using coconut oil in foods, because I’m not a nutritionist and quite frankly I hate the taste of it and will avoid using it in cooking if I can. So before you come at me with the nutritional benefits, don’t, because you’re wasting your time.

I’m talking about using coconut oil on your face. I’m a licensed Aesthetician, Aesthetics Instructor, and I work for a company that uses ethically sourced and naturally derived ingredients. I’m not some rando on the street preaching about skincare with no experience. And as of late, I’ve been increasingly aware of how many people are coming to me with acneic skin conditions and they all have one common denominator: coconut oil.

Things I hear in response to my distaste for coconut oil consist of, but are not limited to: “but it’s natural!” “My friend uses it and her skin looks great!” “I saw a post on Pinterest about it”, etc. etc.

First and foremost, just because it’s natural does not mean it’s good for you. Do you know what else is natural? Sulfuric acid. Lead. Arsenic. While I’m being a bit dramatic with my references, they’re probably not things you want to put on your skin, right? Right. And while your friend might use it day and night and six times on Sunday, it does not mean it’s right for your skin. Let me tell you why.

Ingredients in the skincare world are measured on a scale of how comedogenic they are. If you don’t know what that term means, it’s basically a fancy way of saying “what’s the likelihood of this ingredient clogging your pores?” They are rated on a scale from 0-5, 0 being the least likely and 5 being a guaranteed breakout-prone ingredient for most (if not all) people. Coconut oil is rated as a 4. Which means, by and large, most people will break out when using this product on their face. It doesn’t even have to appear immediately as large, cystic acne lesions in the skin. It can cause microcomedones (small, non-inflammatory lesions that can make your skin’s texture bumpy), that can (and will) eventually develop into whiteheads/blackheads/painful acne.

Why does this happen? Due to its thickness, coconut oil inhibits our skin’s ability to properly shed skin cells, which is required for our pores to be oxygenated. It encourages P. acnes (the bacteria that causes acne) to grow, using built up sebum and debris that are stuck below the surface in our pores as its source of nutrients. To put it simply, coconut oil basically puts a blanket over our pores which smothers them, giving bacteria a better environment to grow. *cue dramatic screaming*

Now, coconut oil might be great for some people’s skin. Why? BECAUSE EVERYONE’S SKIN IS DIFFERENT! Genetics and other internal factors have a huge affect in how our skin reacts to things. But the fact of the matter is, it’s far too thick for most people’s skin. So stop recommending coconut oil with the mindset that it’s perfect for everyone because “it’s all natural.” It’s not going to cure psoriasis, it’s not going to get rid of grade IV cystic acne, and it’s not going to reverse your aging. Your best bet is to go to an actual Dermatologist or local Aesthetician and get a product recommendation/prescription from someone who actually works with skin for a living.

If you’re still dying to use it, the best way to incorporate this into your daily (facial) skin care routine would be to use it as a makeup remover. Coconut oil does work wonders taking off water proof mascara, helping lift foundation, and removing liquid lipstick. PLEASE use an additional cleanser afterwards to remove it, preferably of the gel variety, and exfoliate 2-3 times a week (which is something you should be doing anyways). There are still PLENTY of “natural” products that will benefit your skin greatly without the risk of breakouts.

As far as using coconut oil for your body care and cooking, knock yourself out. The skin on the rest of your body is much more resilient than on your face, so chances are coconut oil will work just fine for that purpose (unless you’re allergic). I’ve also heard it’s a great conditioner for your hair, but I would stick to using it on your ends and avoiding your scalp due to how greasy it can be. Don’t want to look like you dipped your scalp in a deep fryer now do we? Hard pass.

At the end of the day, I’m not a Dermatologist. I’m an Aethetician that gets a little (okay maybe a LOT) nerdy about ingredient knowledge and product usage. However, I went to school to help people with their skin ailments and beauty needs, and if I could give you any advice, it’s this: as a consumer, the internet is your oyster. Do your research, gather and use samples frequently, and find what’s right for your skin before giving into the hype. It could save you from disaster!

Healthy, clear skin to all, and to all a goodbye! (see what I did there?)

xoxo Shelby