Thanks to its ability to remove impurities, activated charcoal is sneaking into way more than your grill: It's making a name for itself as an "it" ingredient in the beauty world. We're here to shed light on why (and how) everyone is racing to add a little black magic to their beauty routine.
What is Activated Charcoal
By definition, activated charcoal is charcoal (the byproduct of carbon-containing material like wood, coconut shells, or peat) that has been treated to so it's more porous than regular charcoal. Because of its negative electric charge and porous nature, activated charcoal can attract and trap toxins in our bodies before they're absorbed. In fact, charcoal has been used as an Ayurvedic treatment for gut issues like poisoning for centuries. The science behind adding activated charcoal to beauty products is similar.
Using charcoal for the skin is based on the idea that if it can remove toxins from your GI tract, it can do the same for your complexion. It acts as a magnet for oils, dead skin cells, and debris from environmental exposure. The ingredient can absorb over a thousand times its own mass in harmful substances, so it's essentially an all-natural way to draw impurities like dirt and chemicals from skin and hair.
Why we need to De-clog our skin
Our skin is exposed to so much pollution in day-to-day life, from smog to cigarette smoke and even cosmetic products. Congested skin can cause accelerated aging, enlarged pores, redness, irritation, breakouts, and make us look dull, ruddy, and uneven. The good news is that with a proper cleansing routine, we can reverse and prevent this downward spiral. Our skin's power of absorption is both a blessing and a curse. It allows for toxins and pollution to enter our system, while also giving us the power to nourish and enrich it with healthy ingredients, such as activated charcoal. Not to mention the fact that we're living in the days of ‘less is more' beauty-and the best way to work a no-makeup look is to start with a soft, clear complexion
What to be mindful of
Make sure that you're properly hydrating when using activated charcoal masks or cleansers. It can be drying so people with more sensitive and dry skin should use it carefully. I find this ingredient is best for oilier skin types. Not all charcoal is created equal. It is recommended that looking for products that contain coconut hull or bamboo charcoal, as their evenly porous composition is most effective at purifying skin. Wood and peat-based activated charcoals, on the other hand, tend to have larger micropores that aren't as effective.
Charcoal Benefits for Skin
Clears out skin from impurities, dead cells and dirt
Because of its “spongy” and binding properties, activated charcoal is able to clear skin and hair impurities, dirt, skin oil, dead cells and transform your appearance into clear and glowing one.
If you include a cleanser with activated charcoal in the composition, you will notice how your skin will become pure and brightened.
Clears out clogged pores
Again, due to its ability to absorb impurities, charcoal assists in clearing clogged dirty pores.
Treats acne and prevents acne and pimples from further forming
Acne has many possible causes. Excessive skin oil production combined with dirt and dead skin cells on the surface of the skin cause clogged pores. Acne causing bacteria thrives in clogged pores. Your body’s immune system sends white blood cells to get rid of bacteria. Pus, which you usually see in acne and pimples, is an ends product of a fight between bacteria and your white blood cells.So, if we go to the cause of this fight, and clear dead cells, dirt and unhealthy buildup of skin oil, we will be able to either minimize or completely avoid clogged pores. As a result, bacteria do not have friendly environment for it to grow. And as a result, there will be less or no acne and pimples.
Treats minor skin infection
Charcoal has anti-bacterial properties meaning that it can kill bacteria and prevent infection from spreading.
Minimizes appearance of large pores
Because charcoal clear out dirt out of your pores, they appear smaller in size.
Controls and balances skin oil production
Charcoal pulls unwanted excess oils from your skin without damaging and drying skin surface. Keep in mind that charcoal in skin care is preferable for people with oily to combination skin because of charcoal’s ability to remove oils. If you have dry and sensitive skin, consider other skin care products.
Brightens up dull skin tone
Our skin cells renew every 21 days. That means that old cells die and supposedly shed off the skin surface. However, skin oil, dirt, environmental factor could slow down this process; which causes dead skin cells to build up on top you’re the surface. This causes many problems including dull, tired skin tone.
Due to its ability to remove toxins and absorb impurities, skin care products with activated charcoal in them will be able to give your skin glowing complexion.
Anti-inflammatory properties heal blemishes, sun and age spots
It has many anti-inflammatory properties that helps your skin in healing blemishes, sun and age spots.
What about skin type?
Not every product on the market is good for your skin type; in fact, wrong product can cause way more damage regardless of claimed benefits.Skin care products with activated charcoal are best suitable for oily, combination and acne prone skin. If you have dry and/or sensitive skin, be very careful when considering products with charcoal ingredient. It can over dry and irritate your already dry and inflamed skin.Always start with skin patch test first and consider products with mild concentration of the ingredient.