What’s the deal with charcoal skincare products? How can this possibly clean my face if it looks like dirt? The answer is activated charcoal – charcoal that has been heated to about 1,800°F to increase surface area for absorption.
According to WebMD, charcoal can trap chemicals in order to prevent their absorption into the body. Doctors have used activated charcoal for years to absorb chemicals and toxins in the body, such as drugs and alcohol, before these toxins enter the bloodstream. Many people even use activated charcoal to whiten their teeth, treat insect bites and heal acne. On the skin, activated charcoal acts as a magnet and sucks out the dirt and oil stuck inside your pores.
Cosmetic companies quickly learned about the benefits of this amorphous form of carbon and have incorporated products by featuring activated charcoal into their skincare lines. The good thing about charcoal is that it only strips away the toxic muck on your skin, but not the natural oils we need to keep our skin soft and supple. Because of this, using skincare products with activated charcoal should not leave your skin feeling tight and dry.
There are a number of skincare products packed with activated charcoal that have infiltrated the beauty scene such as scrubs, cleansers, blotting tissues, bar soaps and creams. Some popular products include Clinique’s Pore Refining Solutions Charcoal Mask, Boscia’s Charcoal Pore Pudding Intensive Wash-Off Treatment, and Dr. Jart+’s Pore Minimalist Black Charcoal Sheet Mask. All of which use innovative ways to maximize the many benefits of activated charcoal.
Although there is no scientific data supporting the benefits activated charcoal has on the skin, it’s always fun to try out a new skincare fad. I tried out a few charcoal masks and found that my pores looked smaller and tighter and my skin felt incredibly soft. You can even make your own charcoal mask at home. Just create a paste with an equal ratio of activated charcoal and a binding agent such as water, rose water, aloe vera gel, coconut oil or honey. Mix the two ingredients together and apply to your clean skin. Leave the mixture on for about 10 minutes and remove with a hot washcloth. You can even add a few drops of tea tree, lavender or rosemary oil for added benefits. Below is my favorite recipe:
5 tablespoons of activated charcoal
5 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon rosewater
3 drops rosemary oil
Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl. With a clean makeup brush, apply the mixture to your skin. Leave the first layer on for 2 minutes. Add another layer of the mixture. Let sit for 5-10 minutes. Rinse off or remove with a hot washcloth. Apply a light moisturizer.
You can purchase activated charcoal online or at your local natural or alternative medicine store.
Image courtesy of magnoid on Flickr
DIY Charcoal Mask Ingredients:
- 5 tablespoons of activated charcoal
- 5 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon rosewater
- 3 drops rosemary oil
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