Used for centuries in medicine to treat poisoning, charcoal is now a popular ingredient in the cosmetic industry because of its purifying and detoxifying properties. It can be found in a variety of products, from face masks to soaps to teeth whitening gels. Discover in this article the benefits that this ingredient can bring to the skin.
Activated Charcoal in a Few Words.
Charcoal was first used in 1811 for medical purposes to counteract the effects of a lethal dose of arsenic trioxide. The combustion of carbon-rich materials such as wood, coconut or bamboo provides charcoal. When the combustion is carried out under intense heat, this is called activated charcoal. A very high temperature leads to the expulsion of carbon atoms, which leaves room for pores. This porous structure is similar to a sponge and explains the great absorption capacity of activated charcoal.
The Benefits of Activated Charcoal for the Skin.
In cosmetics, activated charcoal has become very popular among consumers in recent years. Present in particular in many masks and soaps, it brings to the skin several benefits:
It eliminates impurities.
Activated charcoal is capable of absorbing toxins and impurities present on the skin's surface. Thus, it is particularly interesting to use a product based on activated charcoal if you live in a polluted environment to purify and detoxify the skin.
It absorbs excess sebum.
An accumulation of sebum can clog pores, leading to the formation of blemishes such as blackheads and/or closed comedones. By absorbing excess sebum, activated charcoal prevents the appearance of pimples and mattifies oily skin. It brings to the skin a blow of brightness and unifies the complexion.
It exfoliates the skin gently.
Activated charcoal has a granular but soft texture which allows realizing a light mechanical peeling of the skin. It eliminates the dead cells on the surface of the epidermis and stimulates cell renewal.
Activated Charcoal, for Which Type of Skin?
In cosmetic application, activated charcoal does not present any danger. It is rather adapted to mixed to oily skins as well as to skins with imperfections for its capacity to absorb sebum and to purify the epidermis. This cosmetic ingredient is not particularly recommended for dry skin because it could dry it out further.
The purifying face mask with charcoal and nettle cleanses the skin without drying it out, regulates sebum production and fights against imperfections. It contains sebo-regulating nettle, mattifying pine charcoal and purifying green clay.
WANG XIUFANG TIAN YONG. A novel material bamboo charcoal and its new application in cosmetics.
NOR ASFALIZA A. & al. Synthesis and characterization of active biocarbon material for use in cosmetics and personal care products. Key Engineering Materials (2020).