How Activated Charcoal Can Help Your Skin

23/08/2016 12:17 | Updated 23 August 2016


When we consider the uses of charcoal, most of us tend to have one thing on our mind... barbecues! However, we should be giving charcoal more credit, as alongside fuelling our summer, it has many other useful qualities, including improving our skin.

Activated charcoal was originally produced for hospital use as an antidote for poisoning and overdoses. Nowadays, it is used as an ingredient in beauty products, both high end and homemade.  But why is it so popular and what effect does it have on our skin? 

Due to its large surface area, activated charcoal has very strong absorption properties, which means that it can absorb over 100x its weight in impurities. When applied to skin, it pulls dirt and toxins from the pores almost like a magnet, washing them away as you rinse the carbon from your face. This clears the pores of toxins and excess oils and reduces the appearance of black heads and spots.

Products containing activated charcoal are particularly suited to oily skin. Acne sufferers would also benefit from using activated charcoal, as the clearing of pores and the reduction of oil would leave them with a clear complexion and smooth skin. 

There are now a number of beauty products available that contain activated charcoal, however the most recommended use is within a face mask, as the longer the activated charcoal is in contact with the skin, the more impurities it can remove. Homemade face masks are not always the best skincare solution though, as a popular homemade face mask using activated charcoal saw people mixing the product with non toxic PVA glue to create a paste, which could have caused allergic reactions or skin problems. Activated charcoal has a low hazard rating and so it's safe for us to use, but it's not good to mix it with products that are not made specifically for our skin. I would advise against using substances such as PVA glue to create face masks as it could cause a serious reaction, despite its 'non toxic' status.

A safe alternative for a homemade mask would be to mix the activated charcoal with aloe vera. Aloe vera is full of antioxidants and vitamins that replenish the skin, and also act as a non-greasy moisturiser; so the two ingredients combined would leave skin feeling soft and fresh. 

For those of us who love a home remedy, activated charcoal can be found in the majority of health stores in both capsule and powder form. Most of us turn to home remedies because they seem cost effective, but there are several affordable products using activated charcoal out there. 

With fans of charcoal claiming that it not only improves skin, but also creates voluminous hair and whiter teeth - it's worth giving this natural substance a try as part of your beauty routine. 


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