Activated charcoal is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when someone says, “beauty ingredient”, but if you’re not incorporating it into your beauty routine, you could be missing out. Although it may not sound like the most glamorous ingredient, activated charcoal can do wonders for your skin, hair and even your teeth. Read on to see how you can skip the harsh chemicals and use activated charcoal to get bright white teeth, healthier skin and voluminous hair.
To understand how activated charcoal can benefit us, we must first understand what it is.
Common charcoal — or carbon, is made from peat, coal, wood, coconut shell, or petroleum. Manufacturers heat common charcoal in the presence of a gas that causes the charcoal to become porous, increasing its surface area and absorptive power. These pores help activated charcoal “trap” chemicals and toxins and hold onto them, allowing them to be washed away with the charcoal instead of being reabsorbed.
So activated charcoal doesn’t actually soak up the toxins and dissolve them — instead, it works through the chemical process of absorption so elements will actually bind to their surface.
“The nooks and crannies in activated charcoal are created through a heating process. It’s important to note that activated charcoal is not charcoal used in your barbecue grill! Barbecue charcoal is loaded with toxins and chemicals, and should never be consumed.”
Benefits of using activated charcoal
- Reduces the look of pores: Our pores get clogged from toxins, dirt, oil and the elements around us. All of the dirt accumulates and settles into pores, slowly making them larger. If your pores are large and filled with dirt, your complexion will not be clear. Additionally, large, clogged pores make you more prone to pimples — the dirt that is trapped can encourage undesirable bacteria growth, causing acne. Activated charcoal will help pull the dirt from your pores, keeping them clean, smaller and less visible.
- Deep cleans your skin: Charcoal will help absorb oils and toxins found on or just below your skin. This helps prevent acne by controlling oil build-up which can consequently cause blemishes. Charcoal can be used as an exfoliant to get rid of dead skin, keeping your skin smooth and soft. You don’t want to use activated charcoal daily, as it may dry out your skin too much, but aim for a deep clean once or twice a week.
- Treats acne: Find a gritty soap with charcoal and use it as an exfoliant to slough off dead skin. This helps keep your skin feeling fresh and promotes new skin cell growth. Try spot treating your acne with activated charcoal — apply it right on your blemishes to dry them out and help them heal faster.
- Rescues your tresses: Activated charcoal can clean your hair just as it cleans your skin. It will pull out dirt, toxins and oil, leaving your hair with no residue like a normal shampoo, so your hair will end up feeling lighter and more voluminous. Try using a dry shampoo with activated charcoal to soak up extra oil on those days when you are in a time crunch and don’t have time for a full wash. You’ll get a clean feeling without the weight of a shampoo.
- Soothes and heals bites, cuts and skin irritations: Activated charcoal can speed up the healing process and relieve symptoms of stings, bug bites, scrapes and cuts. Apply the activated charcoal topically to help reduce swelling, ease the pain and absorb the infection and venom. You can create a paste by adding water to activated charcoal powder and mix it until it is thick enough to spread over the wound.
Black is White Toothpaste
The first of its kind to be introduced to the U.S. market this year, Black is White Toothpaste is an activated charcoal-based teeth whitener and a unique, 100% natural and gentle toothpaste. Activated charcoal is the key ingredient that gives this toothpaste its black color and its “Black is White” name. It safely whitens teeth by effectively absorbing dirt and discoloration particles — bye-bye coffee, tea and wine stains! The activated charcoal acts as a magnet by “pulling” stains off the teeth to restore a naturally white smile. It contains very low abrasive particles and no bleaching agents, plastic particles, triclosan or SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate) – so you can regain those naturally pearly whites WITHOUT the dangers of breaking down your enamel!
It balances the pH of the mouth while protecting against the growth of pathogens and cavities. Not only is it an affordable teeth whitening option, it is safe and effective while protecting against tooth decay. Not to mention, the whitening effect of activated charcoal in this toothpaste is supplemented by an optical blue filter to reduce yellow discoloration. This helps make teeth appear whiter without the use of chemical agents. Its blue hue acts as a physical brightener, emphasizing the whiteness of teeth. See other forms of non-chemical techniques such as teeth whitening light.
Fango ESSENZIALI ENERGIZE Mud Mask
Try activated charcoal in the fango ESSENZIALI ENERGIZE mud mask. A turbo-boost for tired, lackluster skin, this mineral-rich mud mask is infused with coffee seed oil and activated charcoal to reinvigorate the complexion and is ideal for all skin types. Delivering a revitalizing surge of skin awakening ingredients, the ENERGIZE mud mask transforms skin from dull and rough to luminous and glowing in as little as five minutes. Activated charcoal detoxifies skin, leaving it radiant and restored. Derived from the earth, mineral-rich mud is infused with minerals that work to purify pores, exfoliate and clarify the skin without drying it out. Coffee seed oil and caffeine help stimulate collagen and elastin production to leave skin feeling toned and healthy.
Basic Black Charcoal Gel
By Dr. Ci:Labo
If you are having trouble controlling oil while moisturizing your face, try this Basic Black Charcoal Gel by Dr. Ci:Labo. This highly effective gel has 3 ingredients (salicylic acid, dipotassium glycyrrhizinate, and allantoin) which helps minimize the appearance of blemishes. Oriental plant extract is the key ingredient that helps prevent chapping and tones your skin. This charcoal gel aids in excessive secretion of sebum, relieving greasiness while leaving your skin supple, smooth and dry.
To hear more about beauty benefits from activated charcoal and see these products in action, check out this first impressions video:
Now that you know how activated charcoal works and what it can do for you, how will you use it to your benefit? From brightening your smile to deep cleansing your skin or helping control face oil, the possibilities for activated charcoal are endless!
For more beauty tips and tricks, be sure to check out more posts in our Beauty section, and discover the wonders of activated charcoal in deodorant: Natural Deodorant (that actually works!) Piperwai.
Photo credits: Kristen Love