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You Want Me to Wash My Face With What!?

These charcoal skin care products are game-changers in your pursuit of great skin
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If you have breakouts, covering your face in black soot probably seems like a really terrible idea. But if that black soot happens to be active charcoal, it may be just the acne cure you've been looking for.

Charcoal skin care products aren't exactly news. In Japan (here we go again with our Asian skin care trends), charcoal has been used as a cleansing ingredient for centuries, and in countries like India and Egypt, it's been used to treat wounds for even longer.

"Charcoal is a powerhouse ingredient used for its cleaning power," says New York City dermatologist Sapna Westley, M.D. "It acts as a magnet to draw out and trap impurities." And active charcoal is surprisingly similar to the charcoal in your backyard grill -- it's simply heated, making it porous and more absorbent.

Yes, it's counterintuitive to wash your face with something that looks so, well, dirty. But trust us on this one. These charcoal skin care products will leave your skin cleaner and brighter.

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Cleanser: Bioré Deep Pore Charcoal Cleanser, $7.99
Try this ultra-potent charcoal cleanser if you're freaked out about washing your face with something that looks murky. It turns into pale foam when you add water, and it works fast -- Bioré researchers found that it removes dirt in 30 seconds instead of the usual one to two minutes it takes for most facial cleansers to do the job. (PS: We also love the self-heating mask for the occasional deep clean.)

This scrub has a combination of charcoal and salicylic acid to attack acne in two ways: the charcoal draws out oil -- and whatever else is clogging your pores -- while the acid exfoliates away dead skin cells. Meanwhile, the physical exfoliation (read: beads) helps wash it all away. Plus, it creates that totally satisfying tingling sensation.

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Strips: Boscia Pore Purifying Black Strips, $15
If you love pores strips, you'll want to buy these in bulk. The charcoal powder makes them extra effective (pulling out gunk that's even deeper in your skin) while witch hazel -- a natural astringent -- makes pores look smaller. Botanicals embedded in the strips soothe irritation and cool the skin.

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Bar Soap: Pelican Deitanseki Charcoal Soap, $10.50
Want the authentic Japanese skin care experience? This imported bar soap is for you. It's a natural plant-based soap made with moisturizing bentonite clay (so your skin won't feel tight, like it does with other soaps). Plus, the black bar will make your soap dish look instantly hip.

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