So, wait a minute — people are washing their faces with sparking water? As odd as it may sound, it’s a thing.
Especially among women in Japan and South Korea, sparkling water facials have taken off. And for a couple of years now, these ‘fizzy facial cleanses’ have also begun to gain popularity in the US.
But is sparkling water actually good for your skin, or is this beauty myth destined to fizz out into obscurity? And is there any science to back it up, or is it just a clever ploy by enterprising marketers to encourage you to buy LaCroix by the case?
Before you start washing your face with sparkling water, there are a few important things you should know. Let’s take a moment to understand what a sparkling water facial can and can’t do.
What Does Washing Your Face with Sparkling Water Do?
There are plenty of reasons to try washing your face with sparkling water. It has several qualities that can contribute to healthier, more attractive skin. For thousands of years, people have praised it for its purported healing properties. Whether those stories are true or exaggerated, the beverage is rich with minerals and bubbling with exfoliating qualities.
Here are 3 reasons why it may be the perfect addition to your skincare regimen:
1. Increase Circulation
It makes sense that sparkling water as skincare took off so meteorically in Asia. There, people have long viewed blood flow as a key foundation of health and beauty — and it turns out they were right. Washing with sparkling water helps to increase blood flow and circulation in your face, and the science is relatively simple.
The Science of Blood Flow
Capillaries are tiny blood cells near the surface of your skin, and good blood flow to them is essential to cell turnover and smooth skin texture.
It turns out that what makes sparkling water bubble — carbon dioxide (CO2) — is the perfect ingredient to help activate better blood flow to your capillaries. According to research published in the journal Skin Research & Technology, CO2 can boost capillary blood flow and even decrease the loss of water in the outermost layer of skin.
This improvement in blood flow means oxygen travels more freely, helping to renew your skin cells more quickly. As a result, a sparkling water cleanse can do great things for stubborn blemishes like acne scars. While results won’t be instant, you might begin to see improvements in your complexion with weeks or months of consistent use.
Increased blood flow also means nutrients can be distributed more easily to where they need to go. All of the vitamins and minerals you consume on a daily basis may be more likely to travel throughout your facial skin.
2. Clear Your Pores
Not surprisingly, sparkling water also works to remove dirt, oils and dead skin from your face. The carbonation helps to break up these substances that clog your pores, gently exfoliating and removing dead skin cells.
With cleansing bubbles scouring your skin, you might not need to use a wash cloth or scrubbing tool. The fizz of the CO2 in the carbonated water acts as what dermatologists call a “vasodilator.” That’s a fancy word for something that helps to open your pores and dilates your blood vessels.
When your pores are open, they’re more likely to release deeply embedded oils and grime that’s can be challenging to remove.
3. Get a Healthy Glow
Sparkling water is good for your face, and that’s evident from the healthy glow that washing your face with it tends to produce. It has a couple key qualities that make it an exceptional cleanser.
The Right pH Balance
To start, sparkling water has the right pH for your skin. pH is a measure of how acidic or basic water is, and different parts of your body tend to maintain certain levels of acidity. Your skin has a natural pH that hovers around 5.5.
Tap water typically has a pH of about 7, meaning it is more basic than the outer layer of your skin. However, sparkling water’s pH is about 5.5 — the same as skin, so it is an optimal cleanser if you are looking to maintain your skin’s natural pH balance.
While washing your face with tap water is normal and unlikely to result in skin damage, the water is more basic. That means it may be more likely to cause dryness and irritation. This can result in an environment where bacteria thrive, which can quickly lead to acne.
Beneficial Minerals for Skin Health
Sparkling water from natural sources typically has a high mineral content, and those minerals can do a lot of good for your skin.
The minerals in sparkling water (calcium, magnesium, zinc, etc.) may contribute to evenness in skin tone and smoothness.
- Zinc is known to assist with skin healing and is often used by those suffering from acne. It is also thought to have antioxidant qualities that may protect against premature aging.
- Magnesium is an essential mineral for skin health. It is often added to skincare products because it promotes elasticity.
- Calcium also contributes to skin elasticity, and plays a role in deterring acne. Skin that is deficient in calcium is likely to be thin and generally unhealthy.
How to Use Sparkling Water to Wash Your Face
So how exactly do you use sparkling water to wash your face? No, you won’t need to stand in the shower and let Perrier drip from your forehead to your toes.
Over the years, Japanese and Korean beauty enthusiasts have developed a tried and true method for washing your face with sparkling water:
- Pour the carbonated water into a large bowl. You will need a lot of it, so a home soda maker may be more economical than multiple bottles of mineral water.
- Gently submerge your face in the water and hold it in place for 10 seconds. This may feel uncomfortable at first, but you will quickly become accustomed to it.
- Apply a facial cleanser. wash it off with the remaining sparkling water.
Alternatively, you can gently dab your face with cotton pads that have been soaked in sparkling water. This method requires less water but may not be quite as effective.
If you find your skin reacting negatively to the carbonated water, reduce use or stop altogether.
What Does a Sparkling Water Facial Cleanse Feel Like?
To be honest, it might feel a little uncomfortable at first. When you dip your face into a bowl of carbonated water, the bubbles will feel a bit tingly and weird. The bubbles might enter your nose, so it can be helpful to gently breath out as you submerge your face.
The good news is that to reap the benefits of washing your face with sparkling water, you only need to do it once or twice a week. That’s still enough that you should get used to the sensation pretty quickly.
The Best Sparkling Water for a Facial Cleanse
If you’re ready to give your face a fizzy facial, you have a couple of options for sparkling water.
Avoid any brands that contain flavors, sweeteners or a high sodium content. These ingredients may dry out your face or lead to minor irritation. They’re definitely not optimal for washing your face.
Instead, use any brand of unflavored sparkling water – from a natural source or manufactured. In other words, keep the Key Lime LaCroix for drinking (it may even help reduce inflammation and acne) and opt for something like San Pellegrino for your face. If you’re looking for a particularly bubbly brand, take a look at our list of the most carbonated sparkling water options.
For a more economical option, you could use a home soda maker like SodaStream. Not only is it more environmentally friendly than bottles or cans – it’s more affordable in the long run. Homemade sparkling water will have the same positive skin cleansing benefits as store-bought, without the guilt of using expensive water to wash your face.