Just thinking about charcoal invokes images of backyard cookouts and football tailgates – flames rising as juicy burgers cook away on fire-powered grills. Yet charcoal isn’t just fuel for fire. In spas and beauty stores across the country, activated charcoal is being sold as a natural skin care product found in many cleansing soaps, moisturizers and body scrubs.
But what is it?
Activated charcoal is carbon that has been processed with oxygen in order to create lots of tiny pores. This gives it the ability to absorb drugs, gases and chemicals more easily. Activated charcoal is often used to reduce intestinal gas, treat bile flow problems and even poisonings – but more recently it is being used on skin.
When used on poison ivy, for example, it draws out the toxin and absorbs it, providing immediate relief. When used on insect bites or bee stings, activated charcoal draws out venom left in the wound, relieving pain and swelling. Meanwhile, applying an activated charcoal product to acne-riddled skin can help remove impurities, excess oil, and old layers of surface skin. This leaves the face feeling clean and smooth and makes the skin look healthier.
Skin Care Products
There are many skin care products that include activated carbon as a main ingredient – from facial masks to pore purifying strips – however, many problems can be treated using a simple, homemade charcoal poultice. A charcoal poultice (or compress) is a mixture of charcoal and water that is heated, spread on a cloth or paper towel, and applied to the skin while warm.
Those looking for a ready-to-use activated charcoal product can try one of the following popular products:
- Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask
- Sumbody Charcoal Cleanser
- Boscia Revitalizing Black Hydration Gel
- Dr. Ci:Labo Basic Black Charcoal Cleansing Gel
- Collective Wellbeing Charcoal Body Wash
Have you tried one of these or other activated charcoal products for your skin? What did you think?