Charcoal generally brings grimy Dickensian chimney sweeps or summer barbecues to mind. But did you know it can actually work as a formidable weapon in your beauty and cleansing routine? Activated charcoal is burnt wood that’s treated with gases like carbon dioxide, oxygen, or steam to improve its absorbency and make it more porous. Its absorbent properties come in handy in many situations. For instance, it is used to remove toxins from your body in cases of drug overdoses or alcohol poisoning, where it works by binding to toxins and absorbing them before they get into the blood. This property also makes it great for your skin. Read on to find out how you can put activated charcoal to good use.
1. Cleanse Your Face With An Activated Charcoal Mask
Every day pollution, dirt, and skin oils get trapped in your skin, often leaving it dull and lifeless. But activated charcoal can bind to excess oil and impurities and draw them out of your skin, thus cleansing and refreshing it.
Make a simple mask by combining 2 teaspoons of activated charcoal with 2 teaspoons of distilled water. Wash your face and apply this mixture for a deep cleaning treatment. Wash it off after 10 minutes with a little warm water and pat your face dry. Follow up with a moisturizer if your skin gets dry.1
id="use-an-activated-charcoal-and-coconut-oil-scrub-to-exfoliate-skin">2. Exfoliate Skin With An Activated Charcoal And Coconut Oil Scrub
Regular exfoliation improves your complexion by getting rid of dead skin cells that make your skin look dull. Finely ground activated charcoal has a somewhat gritty texture which makes it work well as an exfoliating scrub.
Make a simple exfoliating scrub at home by combining 1–2 tablespoons of activated charcoal powder with a tablespoon of skin-nourishing coconut oil. Massage the skin for a couple of minutes before washing the scrub off to get fresh, supple skin.2
Do take care to be gentle as aggressive exfoliation can damage your skin. If your skin is oily or thick, you may need frequent exfoliation, say twice a week. If your skin is dry or sensitive, exfoliating just once a week would suffice. Consult a dermatologist before introducing exfoliation into your skin-care routine if you have inflammatory acne or rosacea.3
3. Unclog Pores With An Activated Charcoal And ACV Mask
Clogged pores can give you lack-luster complexion and even contribute to acne. Skin oils, dead skin cells, dirt, and impurities can all clog up your skin pores. But there’s a simple remedy for this common problem. Just try a mask of purifying activated charcoal and astringent apple cider vinegar.
To make this pore-cleansing mask, mix equal quantities of activated charcoal and apple cider vinegar. Leave the paste on for 10 to 15 minutes before washing it off.4
4. Bust Acne With An Activated Charcoal/Aloe Vera/Tea Tree Oil Combo
While there are no scientific studies which evaluate how effectively activated charcoal can clear up acne, activated charcoal can draw out pore-clogging impurities that promote acne.
5. Heal Wounds With Activated Charcoal Dressings
Activated charcoal can help heal damaged skin and wounds. It works by drawing out toxins and fluids that weaken the healing process. In fact, many dressings use a combination of antibacterial silver and activated charcoal for wound management. Speak to your doctor to explore a dressing of activated charcoal to treat an injury or wound you have.8
id="eases-itching-in-people-undergoing-dialysis-with-activated-oral-charcoal">6. Ease Itching With Activated Charcoal
People on kidney dialysis often get itchy skin. This could be due to a variety of reasons including high levels of phosphorus in the body and loss of fluids during dialysis. And according to research activated charcoal can help. One study found that consuming 6 gm of activated charcoal every day for 8 weeks relieved itching and skin lesions caused by scratching.9 10 Remember, though, it’s important to get your doctor’s go-ahead before consuming activated charcoal.
|↑1||Cox, Lauren and Janice Cox. EcoBeauty: Scrubs, Rubs, Masks, Rinses, and Bath Bombs for You and Your Friends. Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony, 2011.|
|↑2, ↑4||Brandon, Britt. Activated Charcoal for Health: 100 Amazing and Unexpected Uses for Activated Charcoal. Simon and Schuster, 2017.|
|↑3||Evaluate before you exfoliate. American
|↑5||Raman, A., U. Weir, and S. F. Bloomfield. “Antimicrobial effects of tea‐tree oil and its major components on Staphylococcus aureus, Staph. epidermidis and Propionibacterium acnes.” Letters in Applied Microbiology 21, no. 4 (1995): 242-245.|
|↑6||Chularojanamontri, Leena, Papapit Tuchinda, Kanokvalai Kulthanan, and Kamolwan Pongparit. “Moisturizers for acne: what are their constituents?.” The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology 7, no. 5 (2014): 36.|
|↑7||28-day Skin Plan: For Clear and Glowing Skin. Jayden Labs.|
|↑8||Kerihuel, J. C. “Effect of activated charcoal dressings on healing outcomes of chronic wounds.” Journal of wound care 19, no. 5 (2010).|
|↑9||Dialysis: Dry, Itchy Skin. National Kidney Foundation.|
|↑10||Pederson, James A., BILLY J. Matter, ANTHONY W. Czerwinski, and F. R. A. N. C. I. S. C. O. Llach. “Relief of idiopathic generalized pruritus in dialysis patients treated with activated oral charcoal.” Ann Intern Med 93, no. 3 (1980): 446-448.|