Activated Charcoal for the Skin: Benefits and Uses!


Activated charcoal benefits for the skin


Products with activated charcoal (or activated carbon) are growing more popular in the beauty and health community. This natural based substance is in high demand, and it may provide some skin benefits.

Today this ingredient is used in toothpastes, bath and body scrubs, facial cleansers, shampoos and other cosmetics.

In this post, we'll talk about what activated charcoal is, the uses and benefits of this product, so you can see what activated charcoal may have to offer you. 


What is Activated Charcoal?


what is activated charcoal


Activated carbon is an odorless, black powder, and because of it's strong absorption properties is thought to have the ability help draw oils and dirt from clogged pores in the skin, but much of this is just theory, or testimonials. 

You may have heard of activated charcoal as being used in emergency rooms to help treat overdoses, GI tract infections or nausea, as it has the ability to remove toxins from the body. It is sourced from superheating natural sources of carbon. Examples of this include wood, or saw dust. 

Once this process is finished of creating the activated charcoal, the surface area increases, making more holes in each molecule, leading to better binding abilities and more of a sticky substance. Hence, another reason why it has become popular as being used in face masks, in particular.

Due to the fact that it doesn't cause allergic reactions or irritations, many companies have produced new lines of product(s) with activated charcoal. 

In short, activated charcoal is made from materials that are high in carbon content. These materials are burned and then turned into the fine black powder that you put on your skin or in other skincare products.  


activated charcoal in soaps and creams


How is Activated Charcoal Used Today?

Activated charcoal is used in many ways today, whether the research suggests clear advantages of using it compared to other additives, as hard data and research is limited in terms of it's positive benefits on the skin. 

For instance, you could make an activated charcoal face mask, it can be used as a natural ingredient to make scrubs, soaps, and other "cleansers" as well. 

The shear amount of products you can now find both from small business's, DIY projects and large scale cosmetic companies can certainly be overwhelming. 


"Potential" Benefits of Activated Charcoal For Skin as it Relates to the General Properties of Activated Carbon.


1. Claims* to Cleanse and Detox The Skin

Activated charcoal has wonderful absorption properties, and is thought to attract dirt and other impurities that are burrowed deep in your skin. 

So, when you put activated charcoal on your skin, it becomes cleansed, purified, and some may say detoxed in a way. These effects may lead to a healthier complexion and better overall skin health, which is ultimately the goal. 


activated charcoal in face masks


2. Claims* for Possible Wound Healing Properties

Some evidence also indicates that certain wound dressings that contain activated charcoal with silver, may help to decrease bacteria. Possible effects of these dressing may also help with wound healing time.


3. Claims* to help with Acne Control?


activated charcoal for acne control


Due to activated charcoals ability of significant absorption, activated charcoal may have an ability to lift or remove bacteria from the pores of your skin. 

Acne can be caused by several different things, including; oils, dead skin and bacteria so hypothetically and based on anecdotal evidence, activated charcoal may help control your outbreaks, but more extensive data and research needs to be carried out to confirm this.

It's also important to note that many of the products that contain activated charcoal for acne help, also contain other regularly used agents/ingredients for acne relief, so this may be something to keep in mind. 


4. Claims* Teeth Whitening


activated charcoal and teeth whitening


Again, much of the evidence here is anecdotal. Many different brands of toothpaste now have an activated charcoal line, but little seems to be based off of fact. 

Some potential benefits being:

1. Antiviral

2. Antibacterial - (help with bad breath)

One research study in 2019 compared different toothpastes w/ whitening agents compared to a control toothpaste that did not have a whitening agent. All with a whitening agent (including activated charcoal) improved whitening of teeth after continued use. 

* However, the one containing activated charcoal was second to other toothpastes with microbeads, hydrogen peroxide, and blue covarine. This also gives very little proof that it helps with whitening w/o an additional known tooth whitening agent. 


Final Thoughts!

Even though activated charcoal has become a huge market in cosmetics, and bath & beauty product lines, much more research is needed to clarify it's benefits for skin applications. 

There doesn't seem to be recorded adverse reactions to the proper use of activated charcoal on the skin, however it's up to you as an individuals to do your due diligence to find out if it is right for you to try.

Please be sure to share any of your experiences you may have had with activated carbon, whether good or bad with our community!

Thanks for stopping by, we hope to have you again soon!


Resources:

- https://spagoddess.com/blogs/spagoddess-wellness-blog/the-benefits-of-activated-charcoal-for-your-skin

- https://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-looks/beauty/detox-and-beautify-your-skin-and-hair-with-activated-charcoal/

- https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322609#what-is-activated-charcoal

- https://bpspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/bcp.12793

- https://www.naturalmedicinejournal.com/journal/2013-08/activated-charcoal-bottom-line-monograph

- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6438662/


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