Well+Good

The best kept skin-care secret? Washing your face with sparkling water

Photo: Getty Images/Digital Vision

Put a bubbly anything in front of someone and undoubtedly they’ll be attracted like a moth to a lamp. Whether you’re a kid with actual bubbles or are an adult sipping on that La Croix or champagne, the fizzy action is simply hard to resist. That’s why it’s no surprise that plenty of beauty staples are carbonated…and why some people are even washing their face with—you guessed it—sparkling water.

The trend started in Japan and moved to South Korea, and according to SodaStream, it’s the number one reason people in Japan buy their product (yeah, even in lieu of drinking the stuff). Like the myths of yore about celebrities rinsing off their cleansers with Evian (I’m looking at you, Cameron Diaz), plenty of beauty aficionados swear that cleansing with the bubbles can upgrade your skin-care routine. When you think about it, it’d seem as though the bubbles—besides feeling pretty cool—would help expunge gunk out of your pores. Is that actually true though?

“A study of carbonated water immersion of the lower legs of healthy young people showed increased blood flow to the skin,” says Cybele Fishman, MD, a New York-based dermatologist. “This could be considered good, bringing more oxygen and micronutrients to the skin.”

“[Carbonated water] can reduce the appearance of scars and can actually help with the health of the skin,” —Dendy Engelman, MD.

Dermatologist Dendy Engelman, MD, agrees, noting that it’s not as gimmicky as it may sound. “It’s a real thing with science behind it as far as enhancing the blood flow to the skin, which can reduce the appearance of scars and can actually help with the health of the skin,” she says, noting that it’s even better to use carbonated water than warm tap water because it gives you a deeper cleanse.

“[The carbonation] helps carry away any pollutants and help lift them out of the pores to give you a deeper, more accelerated cleanse,” Dr. Engelman adds. “It makes your skin look better because of that vasodilation.”

Carbonated water’s also not going to harm your skin’s barrier. “Carbonated water is acidic, and the skin itself is acidic, so unlike foaming cleaners—which are alkaline—carbonated water won’t disrupt the natural acid mantle of the skin,” says Dr. Fishman.

It’s not all fun and bubbles though—not every skin type should cleanse with the carbonation. “If you have rosacea, the last thing you want is more blood flow to your face,” adds Dr. Fishman. “And if you’re prone to redness, the carbonated water may make things worse.” So as long as you don’t fit the bill there, pour out the bubbly…for your face.

For other derm tips, here’s how to treat cystic acne. And this is the low-down on prescription acne treatments