A couple of weeks ago, I asked for skin advice from, um… some more experienced lady friends of mine. I don’t know if 29 is a magic number, but since I pushed that oh-too-close to 30 mark, I have put on some significant weight and my skin has gone insane – even more than usual.
Well, I know what to do with the weight. But my skin? You’d think it would be charted territory for me by now considering I have had acne my entire life and I have always been in a battle with my skin. However, it was feeling overly textured or rough while always looking dirty. My pores were the size of craters and they were filling with yuck no matter how much I “deep cleaned” with products that swore to eliminate the problem.
I did some research. I have what I always thought was acne on my nose, spreading across the tops of my cheeks my entire life. For as long as I can remember, I could wash my face and still squeeze a bunch of slimy white snakes of stuff from the pores of my nose, which I thought were blackheads. Sorry Bioré pore strips… because you have nothing on this!
What I actually have is called Sebaceous Filaments – a tiny collection of sebum and dead skin cells around a hair follicle, which usually takes the form of a small hair-like strand. They usually have white or yellow color, and can be expressed from the skin by pinching (thanks Wikipedia). It’s a natural thing – just my body producing sebum. There’s not a whole lot I can do about it although I have read suggestions for how to remove some of the very old sebum from your face so it isn’t nearly as noticable.
This… yeah, these are not black heads. This is an unaltered picture of my disgusting pores before trying out Heather’s soap. No makeup. No filtering (although I did sharpen the image to make it easier for you to see). Purely, 100% my skin. No, you aren’t alone in this. You’re welcome readers! haha
I started with a cleanser from Neutrogena called Pore Refining Exfoliating Cleanser which claims it will visibly reduce the appearance of pores and refine the skin. I like it so far. It has done what it claims it will do – reduce the size of pores and provides light exfoliation for the skin. It has helped with the rough texture my skin has had as of late. But it cannot address my big concern – the fact that my pores still look filled up and dirty.
That’s when blogger friend Heather from The Nerdy Fox came to my rescue and told me about activated charcoal and how it’s good for removing old toxins and impurities from your skin. More research happened and I found out that activated charcoal can be found in a wide selection of beauty products and is known to treat acne and remove other icky stuff from your face. Activated charcoal has tons of other uses too, but that’s a whole different discussion.
Because Heather is so sweet, she offered to send me a full size sample of some Vegan Activated Charcoal Soap that she makes herself. Of course, I promised to do a review on it but at the time, I didn’t even know it was going to work as well as it does.
So what is Activated Charcoal Soap?
It’s a black-colored, round soap made with Saponified palm, coconut, and olive oils, with shea butter, bentonite clay, activated charcoal and essential oils and fragrance oils (has an amazing cedarwood smell). Heather suggests here on her Etsy listing for it that it will “draw out toxins and impurities which makes this soap great for acne and it is gentle enough for all skin types.”
I was instructed to wash my face with this soap morning and at night, leaving the soap on my face for 2-3 minutes before rinsing. After just one use, I saw large patches of the old, previously gunked up stuff literally seeping out of my pores. It was, well… gross. But worth it! It was doing exactly as suggested.
My face felt sort of tight – a little uncomfortably tight. I have combination skin and it’s trained for the humidity we experience 90% of the year here in South Carolina. With the way the weather has been lately, my skin is screaming for moisture and so it may have not been the best time to start a new beauty regimen. Regardless, the results are there and I backed up my face washing with my Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture lotion for Combination Skin. It seems to have addressed the problem nicely.
It was suggested to me that if I find the soap to be just too drying, to stick to using it only once a day. I’ve been using it in the evenings after work since I’m trying to get into the habit of removing my makeup after work. In the morning, I use the aforementioned Neutrogena pore-refining cleanser instead. I like the idea that I am working to address both issues. When your skin gets like mine, there’s just no one magic product out there that will address all of the problems.
How can you get it?
I’m really excited about Heather’s product, which can you order online via etsy. Can you believe that it’s only $4.00!? Even more crazy, she’s letting me give you a whole 15% off using promo code KIMIWHO15 at checkout!
But in case you aren’t convinced, I’ll do one better! I am going to give 1 lucky winner a chance to win their very own bar of Activated Charcoal Soap!
There are affiliate links in this post. This means I will receive a small % of any sale made utilizing those links. I was compensated a full size item to review which in no way has swayed my opinion.