Activated Charcoal has been causing quite a buzz in the beauty community in the last year it seems. But, it is not to be mistaken as just a fad ingredient of the moment. In fact, it has been around for quite some time. The earliest known recorded use of activated charcoal is 3750 B.C. when the Ancient Egyptians realized the anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties that it possesses.
Many brands today are marketing activated charcoal as a detoxifying and purifying ingredient. This is because activated charcoal is known to draw out impurities from the skin such as: bacteria, poisons, chemicals, and dirt. Because of these properties it possesses it makes it a highly sought after ingredient when it comes to skincare.
There are many benefits of using activated charcoal in your skincare and body care routines, especially for those of us who are making a conscious effort to live a more natural lifestyle.
Acne Spot Treatment- One of the most loved uses of activated charcoal is for blemishes that are pustule in nature. You will want to cleanse the face as normal and make a paste with the activated charcoal powder and apply to the head of the blemish. Leave the activated charcoal on for 10 minutes and gently remove. You will notice that the absorbing properties of the substance will act as a magnet, bringing the pustule to a head and actually drying it out with more spot treating.
Tooth Whitening- Because of activated charcoals incredible absorbing properties, it can actually help to lift microscopic particles that contribute to the staining of your teeth. I would recommend starting off with dipping your toothbrush in the activated charcoal powder and brushing as normal (do this twice a week). This is an excellent alternative to the harsh chemicals that most teeth whiteners on the market contain.
Face Mask- I would only recommend using activated charcoal as an all over face mask if you are a normal/oily skin type. You will want to mix the activated charcoal powder with aloe vera gel, apply to clean skin, leave on for 5-10 minutes, and remove with a warm cloth (please be advised it may stain the cloth). What you will find is the activated charcoal will absorb excess oil and impurities, which will result in a clearer complexion.
Underarm Detox- Probably my personal favorite use for activated charcoal is for an underarm detox. Traditional deodorants and antiperspirants contain harsh chemicals that block the skins pores under your arms from producing sweat and odor. If you are someone who is transitioning to more natural deodorants than doing a detox under your arms with activated charcoal and manuka honey could be beneficial. Mix the activated charcoal and manuka honey and apply to the underarms for 20 minutes and then rinse. I would repeat this 1-2 times per week for several weeks.
It is important to make sure that you are selecting an activated charcoal that is made from ingredients such as coconut shells and/or wood species that have ultra fine grains. Some activated charcoal is made from animal bones and other ingredients that are not ideal for using topically on the skin or potentially internally.