Is Washing Your Face With Sparkling Water The Secret To Amazing Skin?

Japanese and Korean women seem to think so.
PHOTO: istockphoto

I realize what you're about to read might contribute to your LaCroix addiction, and for that I'm sorry. What I'm not sorry about is the facial cleansing hack I'm about to get you hooked on. It was first popularized by women in Japan and Korea and it's slowly making its way to the U.S.

Commonly referred to as the "sparkling water facial" or "fizzy face cleanse," this effervescent method calls for you to wash your face with carbonated versus tap water to reap the following benefits:

Why Cleansing With Carbonated Water Works...

IT'S THE SAME PH AS YOUR SKIN

Tap water typically has a pH of 7, while sparkling water has a pH of 5.5, which is also the pH of your skin, so it won't irritate your face.

IT UNCLOGS PORES, MINIMIZING IRRITATION

The carbonation works to break up dirt, oil, and impurities in clogged pores, resulting in a deeper clean (and less breakouts).

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IT INCREASES CIRCULATION

The CO2 brings blood and oxygen to your skin's tissue, allowing your system to function better overall, leaving you with healthier-looking skin and a subtle flush.

"Using carbonated water in beauty products, such as sheet masks and toners, has long been a trend in Japan and Korea, and can involve DIY experiments at home using seltzer water in a bowl," says Charlotte Cho, co-founder of K-Beauty site Soko Glam. NYC-based cosmetic dermatologist Dendy Engelman, M.D. is also behind the cleansing ritual and further explains how carbonated water contributes to an overall healthier-looking complexion.

Carbonated Water 101:

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"Sparkling water not only helps cleanse your skin in a deeper way—its carbonation helps to break up the dirt and oil embedded in your pores—there are real benefits aesthetically," she says. "For example, at room temperature, carbonated water becomes a vasodilator [normal water needs to be heated to have a vasodilation effect], meaning it triggers your blood vessels to open up, bringing the blood supply to your skin's tissue. This, in turn, enhances nutrient delivery, like oxygen, to the dermis [skin]; and the better your circulation is, the better your system will function, and the healthier your skin will look."

To make your sparkling water rinse gentler on skin, mix it with equal parts mineral water.

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In addition to clear pores and a healthy glow—do I really need to go on?!—Dr. Engelman told me that tap water's pH (of 7) can disrupt the skin's acid mantle (a barrier on the skin's outermost layer), which is slightly acidic at a level of 5.5 pH. Coincidentally, that's the same pH of carbonated water. So when you cleanse with the latter, the carbonation won't alter your complexion's pH; whereas washing your face with tap water can cause dryness, which can lead to tiny cracks in your skin, inviting bacteria to brew, and breakouts to occur. Yep, acne happens THAT easily.

So does this mean you now have to spend your life savings on cases of Perrier (because $$$$$$!!!)?

No. If you want to commit to this sparkling water regimen (and/or generally like drinking it better than tap or filtered water), Dr. Engelman recommends investing in a soda maker. "It's a more eco-friendly way to get carbonated water, since you don't have to keep purchasing bottles of it," she says. "And the CO2 added to the water instantly lowers its pH levels, making it more skin friendly."

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Looking to dip your toe face into this bubbly trend?

  • Splash your face with sparkling water—you can also hold your breath and submerge your face into a bowl of sparkling water for 10 seconds.
  • Massage your favorite wash into your skin.
  • Wash away the soap with the carbonated water rinse.
  • Dab your face with a towel before moisturizing.

    However, Dr. Engelman doesn't recommend washing your face with sparkling water every day, since it can take a hot sec for your skin to get used to the fizziness—especially if you have sensitive skin. Sarah Lee, co-CEO and co-founder of K-Beauty brand Glow Recipe agrees: "If the foaming effect is too strong, mix equal parts sparkling water and mineral water to dial down the fizz for a gentler rinse.” Lee also recommends combining a 1:1 ratio of sparkling and green tea water, drenching cotton pads with the solution, and then placing them on her face for 10 minutes. The reason? The longer sparkling water is on your skin (Don't leave it on longer than she does though!), the better the results. And skin is ah-mazing, I can attest.

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    This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.

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