If you thought that the only use of charcoal was for your barbecue, think again! Charcoal, or more precisely, activated charcoal is very effective in dealing with a number of skin-related issues. In fact, this natural beauty treatment has been used for thousands of years as a cleanser and a treatment for acne. Here, we tell you all the charcoal benefits for skin.
What is activated charcoal?
Activated charcoal is created from bone char, coconut shells, peat, petroleum coke, coal, olive pits, bamboo, or sawdust. It is in the form of a fine black dust that is produced when regular charcoal is activated by exposing it to very high temperatures. This is done to alter its internal structure and increase its surface area to increase absorbability. The charcoal that you get after it has undergone this process is very porous.
Important: Do not use regular charcoal on the skin as they contain toxins that could be harmful
How does activated charcoal for skin work?
Activated charcoal for skin works by trapping all the toxins, environmental pollutants, excess sebum and chemicals in your pores and pulling it out to the surface of the skin so that it can be washed out. Activated charcoal has a negative electrical charge that attracts positively charged molecules like toxins, chemicals, and dirt.
Charcoal benefits for skin
Cleans out your pores
The pores of our skin take a beating every day with all kinds of dirt, chemicals, environmental pollutants, and toxins clogging them up. And this build-up leaves your complexion looking duller, less fresh and prone to acne. Activated charcoal can help in such situations by pulling out the dirt from your pores. This not only cleans them, but tightens them and makes them look smaller. Use an activated charcoal mask to get rid of all the blackheads and whiteheads that are caused when pores get clogged with dead skin cells and sebum.
1/2 tsp activated charcoal powder
1 tbs clay powder
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
Combine ½ teaspoon activated charcoal in a glass bowl. Add 1 tbs of clay powder. Mix in 1 teaspoon of pure apple cider vinegar. Make a smooth paste by adding water.
Mix thoroughly ensuring that there are no lumps. Apply carefully all over your face and before long you will see the charcoal benefits for skin. Leave on your face for 10 minutes, till dry. Pay special attention to the oily regions of the face where there are visible pores like around the nose and cheeks. After the mask has dried, wash it off with water. Dry your face and apply an oil-free moisturiser. You can use this amazingly effective mask a couple of times a week for best results.
Banish oily skin
Does your face tend to glow like a beacon because of all the accumulated oil? Well, some of us are bestowed with a naturally oily complexion that tends to make us prone to acne and breakouts as the oil on your face attracts dirt and impurities. However, activated charcoal will help you in this aspect too since it is super effective in pulling out all the excess oil from your skin. However, don’t do this for more than twice a week as you don’t want your skin to lose hydration either. Those with dry skin should avoid this treatment. Here’s a activated charcoal-based mask recipe that will deal with your oily skin. This recipe helps in mopping up the excess oil from your face while green tea shrinks your pores and repairs your skin.
1 tsp activated charcoal powder
1 tbs clay powder
Green tea to form a paste
Mix together activated charcoal powder, clay powder, and green tea in a glass bowl for charcoal benefits for skin. First put the activated charcoal powder in a glass bowl, then add in 1 tablespoon of clay powder and pour in enough of a green tea decoction to make a paste. You can add more if the paste is too thick.
Make sure you combine all the ingredients well. Then apply the charcoal mask to your face and let dry for 15 minutes. Ensure that you apply on a thin layer all over your face excluding the eye region. Wipe it off gently with damp cotton balls or a wet washcloth. Apply an oil free moisturiser to rehydrate your skin. Use this treatment twice daily.
As an acne treatment
Anyone who has lived with acne knows what a pain it can be. From the trauma of ugly scarring on the face to hit and miss treatments that often don’t work, living with acne can be quite difficult. Acne occurs when the hair follicles on the skin get blocked with sebum and dirt and thereafter get infected. This leads to inflamed skin with the red, often pus-filled bumps that are typical of acne. The best part is that activated charcoal may be useful in controlling this condition depending on its severity. As a face mask, the infection is gently pulled to the surface, while as a soap, it is useful in gently exfoliating your skin. You can also use an activated charcoal mask as a spot corrector if you don’t want to slather your entire face with the mask. This recipe has tea tree oil and witch hazel in addition to active charcoal to kill the infection causing bacteria.
1 tsp activated charcoal powder
3 or 4 drops tea tree essential oil
1 tsp witch hazel
Mix together activated charcoal, tea tree oil, and witch hazel in a glass bowl. First put in 1 teaspoon of activated charcoal, then slowly add 3 or 4 drops of tea tree oil followed by 3 or 4 drops of witch hazel.
Mix it thoroughly so that the oils combine well with the charcoal. Apply the pase to the acne-inflamed areas and let it dry. After the paste on the spots have dried completely, wash it off with water. Apply a light moisturiser. Use this mask regularly. In fact, you can use it once or twice a week and you will see a difference in a few weeks.
As a facial cleanser
Are you spending tonnes of money on facial cleansers and not getting the desired results? Do you always feel a tad dissatisfied that even though the cleanser has a great fragrance and plentyof lather, it is is not being able to bring a clean and clean shine to your face? Well that is because most facial cleansers cleanse only superficially unlike an activated charcoal cleanser that goes deep inside your pores and gives your skin a thorough cleaning. So dump all those many many face washes and cleaners in your batroom cabinet and try activated charcoal for skin benefits. In fact, the beauty industry has wisened up to activated charcoal as well and you will find a large number of companies now offer face masks and cleansers that cite charcoal as an active ingredient. If you have to buy a store bought cleanser, choose one with activated charcoal but make sure that you restrict the usage of these to about twice a month as too much use will soak up all the healthy oils and hydration from your face. Through trial and error choose a product that suits your skin’s needs perfectly. The best thing, however, would be to create your own facial cleanser with activated oxygen that will be gentle on your skin and effective as well. This recipe used olive oil to hydrate and nourish your skin and baking soda to exfoliate. The essential oil add fragrance and help soothe your skin as well.
1 tbs activated charcoal powder
½ cup organic olive oil
1 tbs baking soda
Tea tree essential oil–
2 or 3 drops sandal wood essential oil
Combine 1 tablespoon of activated charcoal powder in a mixing bowl. Add ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil. Mix in the 1 tablespoon of baking soda and essential oils of sandalwood and tea tree. Blend well and store in a glass bottle. Ensure that all the ingredients have been mixed thoroughly. Transfer to a clean dispenser bottle using a funnel.
Take a little of this cleanser in the palm of your hands. With your fingers, rub in circular movement over your face for a couple of minutes. Wash it off with lukewarm water and dab your face dry. Use a light moisturiser or day cream with SPF. This amazing cleanser will give your skin a thoroughly cleaning if you use it two to three times a week. You can keep this bottled cleanser for 6 months.
The other method of deep cleaning your skin is by applying a peel-off mask that has charcoal as an active ingredient. This mask, that you can again create at home, will not just deep cleanse your face and remove dirt and impurities from your pores, this will also help you get a bright complexion and glowing skin with regular usage. BTW, the mask contains some gelatin to give you the godness of collagen, the building blocks of skin. This also happened to be an amazing anti-ageing therapy.
1 tsp gelatin, unflavored
1 tbs distilled water
1 tsp activated charcoal powder
Put a double boiler with a heat-resistant bowl on the stove. Take 1 teaspoon of activated charcoal powder and put it in the bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of gelatin powder to it and add the 1 tablespoon of distilled water and keep stirring slowly on low heat till it all melts. When the gelatin has melted, remove the bowl from the heat and let it cool down to room temperature.
To apply this mask, you need to clean and dry your face first. Apply this mask all over your face and leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes. After the mask has dried, carefully peel it off in an upward direction. Do wash your face again after this step and rehydrate your skin with an oil-free moisturiser. Use this mask about once a week for best results.
Soothes bites and cuts
Activated charcoal not just has benefits for beauty issues but is a great skin soother when applied to cuts, and insect bites. Whether you were stung by a wasp or have an infected would, applying a charcoal paste can help the healing process significantly. Apply the activated charcoal over the affected areas and you will soon see the difference. Charcoal is a known antidote for poison and will draw out the venom from the sting and reduce the inflammation and pain.
All you need to do is make a paste of activated charcoal powder with a little distilled water and apply it on the affected area. Leave it on and reapply till pain and swelling reduce.
Activated charcoal has so many benefits for the skin that you will want to make it part of your beauty regimen forever. However, you will be astonished to know that activated charcoal also has a large number of benefits for your hair and scalp. Activated charcoal draws out oil, dirt and toxins from the roots of your hair just like it does for the pores of your skin. This is why there are many branded shampoos that have activated charcoal as an ingredient. If you want to test out whether activated charcoal suits you and indeed gives you the benefits that you desire, then don’t buy a full bottle just yet. Try this remedy instead and see if your hair problems are indeed being solved by charcoal.
For starters, just empty a capsule of activated charcoal or a teaspoon of activated charcoal to your regular shampoo and lather into your scalp gently. You might need some extra to rinse of the black colour if you have hair that’s coloured blonde or light. By the way, this easy remedy would also be useful in treating other scalp conditions like dandruff, inflammation of the scalp, excessive oil production and itchiness. The activated charcoal works in the same way that it does for your ski, drawing out all the dirt, residue chemicals, pollutants, and toxins to purify and deep clean it down to your follicles. You should start seeing a difference after a few weeks of use.