Tested on animals:No
Biore's Pore Penetrating Charcoal Bar is supposed to be able to "degunk pores" and make skin smooth, but this is a product we just cannot recommend. Not only can it not live up to its claims, but it contains some highly problematic ingredients that could serve to make skin concerns like acne and oiliness worse, which is why it earned our lowest, one-star rating.
Pore Penetrating Charcoal Bar is a black bar of soap marketed to treat combination to oily skin with enlarged pores. The first thing you'll notice about it is its strong peppermint smell. That's because this contains menthone glycerin acetal, a cooling agent related to menthol, and peppermint oil.
Biore says these additions make this cleansing bar "refreshing," but the tingling feeling they impart doesn't mean your skin is clean, it means your skin is at risk of being irritated. Though this product is meant to be rinsed off, there is still the potential that both these ingredients could cause irritation, and irritation can actually make oil production increase. See More Info about the connection between irritation and oily skin.
Among the other iffy ingredients included in this bar are sodium palmate and sodium palm kernelate, both soap ingredients that could serve to dry out skin. So what about the charcoal that is supposed to help clear out pores and gives this bar its name? While this does contain both carbon and charcoal powder, they come further down the ingredient list, meaning you're not getting a lot of either here.
Even if you were, while charcoal is a good oil-absorbing ingredient, it can't do much absorbing at all in a rinse-off product, and absorbing oil does not equate to "degunking" pores.
When it comes down to it, we don't recommend Biore's Pore Penetrating Charcoal Bar because of its inability to live up to its claims and its potential to irritate skin. If you are looking to reduce the appearance of blackheads and enlarged pores, you can find some great products that can do just that on our list of Best BHA Exfoliants.
- Contains potentially skin-irritating peppermint oil.
- Contains soap ingredients which can be drying.
- Charcoal cannot "degunk" pores as claimed.
Irritation's Connection to Oily Skin & Breakouts: Inflammation in skin is usually related to external factors such as irritation that damages the skin's barrier in numerous ways, whether you can see the reaction or not. When irritation on the surface of skin happens it activates specific chemicals called neuropeptides in the brain (Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 2007). Those substances are specifically the kind that regulates the hormonal system of the body.
When this happens, it leads to the formation of inflammatory chemicals directly in the oil gland. These inflammatory chemicals trigger an increase in oil production, which can increase the size of the pore, and the likelihood of acne—the more inflammation that occurs, the worse the risk (European Journal of Dermatology, 2002 & Dermatology, 2003).
Bottom line: Inflammation and its resulting irritation, whether internal or external (for this discussion externally it would be due to the use of irritating ingredients, hot water, overusing scrubs, etc.), is practically a guarantee you will see excess production of oil, larger pores and more acne breakouts (Experimental Dermatology, 2009 & Dermato-Endocrinology, 2011).
That's reason enough to avoid products with irritating ingredients, which often come in the form of fragrance including the misnamed "essential" oils.