When it comes to testing weird and out-of-box beauty treatments, I’m usually all in. So I just had to try the latest buzzy trend I’ve been hearing so much about. There's a “new” way to cleanse your face, and the hook? You wash with carbonated water. Yes, you read that right. Carbonated water cleansing has been all the rage in Japan and South Korea for quite some time now and I’ve always loved drinking seltzer, so why not wash my face with it, right?
But first things first, I was curious as to whether or not there’s any actual scientific validity to washing your face with bubbling water, as opposed to just regular old tap water. “Carbonated water has been reported to cause vasodilation (dilated capillaries), which would improve delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the skin,” explains dermatologist Dr. Emily M. Wise. “However, there have never been any studies in dermatology literature to validate the specific claims made by this trend.” Celebrity aesthetician Kate Somerville agrees. “The bubbling sensation of carbonated water can give the perception that the water is acting as micro brushes to help cleanse pores and remove dead skin (because you feel a 'tingling' effect), but that is not the case.”
Well, even though experts agree that the carbonation might not do much for your skin, I still decided to give the trend a whirl because, in theory, according to Somerville, “the CO2 could reduce skin’s pH level, which might offer some exfoliation properties” and although it would be minimal, I felt like it could be refreshing and fun to try!
A few notes: You only want to do this treatment 1-2 times per week. If you have sensitive skin and/or rosacea, proceed with caution because the carbonation could irritate you a bit.
Since I do have sensitive skin, here’s how I washed my face with carbonated water:
Choose a carbonated water with absolutely no artificial scents or coloring. No lemon, lime or any flavorings, either; you want pure carbonated mineral water. I chose San Pellegrino because the rest of my grocery store options had flavoring included.
Fill a large bowl with half regular water (I used filtered water from the Soma that I keep in my refrigerator) and half carbonated water. You want a 1:1 ratio.
Dunk your makeup-free face in the bowl and hold for 10-15 seconds.
My first dunk was, let’s say, not so fun. The bubbles immediately went up my nose and it actually kind of hurt! Once I stopped wincing and sniffling, I dunked a second time and held my face in the water for about 10 seconds. When I pulled my face out, my skin felt really refreshed!
The bubbles (when not going up your nose) actually do a nice job of revitalizing the skin a bit, even if they’re not actually clearing out your pores in any truly significant way. Would I do this on a regular basis? Probably not, mostly because San Pellegrino is pricey and the process of cleaning out a big bowl and setting everything up is a little daunting, but I will say that it felt nice and I was definitely super awake after taking these photos.