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Activated Charcoal: does it live up to the hype?

August 08, 2018

Activated Charcoal:  does it live up to the hype?

In the last couple of years, there has been quite a bit of talk about the use of activated charcoal in products for hair, skin, even teeth!  However, is the use of charcoal another beauty fad, or are there actual health benefits?  The answer is a resounding “yes!”

Activated charcoal is produced by small particles of carbonaceous substances such as saw dust and coconut shells heated to very high temperatures, which forms charcoal. To ‘activate’ the charcoal, steam or very hot air is used to erode the internal surfaces thereby increasing its absorptive surface area. This absorptive surface area is the one which draws out harmful substances, toxins and impurities from deep within the skin

Though you may not immediately associate charcoal with healthy skin or skin-care products, activated charcoal boasts numerous beauty benefits.  Let’s explore five popular uses of activated charcoal:

  1. Treats acne - Depending on the specifics of your acne–how severe it is, what’s causing it and what else is going on–activated charcoal may be able to help. In soap form, it’s slightly gritty, which might provide the gentle exfoliating you need. It will also absorb oils and toxins on and below the skin. You can use it as a spot treatment if you don’t want to use it on your whole face–just think of it as a mini mask for your blemish. The Dr. Sponge charcoal konjac sponge is a great addition to any acne fighting routine.
  2. Whitens teeth - Yes, activated charcoal really whitens teeth! It works by bonding to many of the organic substances (food) that stain the teeth like coffee, red wine, nicotine. It also scrubs off plaque and tartar from teeth. Activated charcoal is also slightly abrasive which helps it scrounge off stains and plaque stuck on teeth. My Magic Mud® was the first to market activated charcoal toothpaste in powder form.
  3. Balances oily skin - Used in a cleanser or mask, activated charcoal can pull the unwanted excess oils from your skin, leaving it smooth. You’ll want to do this sparingly–once or twice per week at the most–so that you don’t dry out your skin. If you already have dry skin, you’re best to steer clear of it for this use. Soapwalla’s Activated Charcoal and Petitgrain Soap Bar is one of our top-selling Soap Bars for good reason.
  4. Boosts the power of natural deodorant - activated charcoal is carbon-rich which means that in can extract oil, dirt, and unwanted items from clogged pores. It can even absorb 1,000 times its own weight in moisture which helps to absorb underarm wetness. Plus, it boasts detoxifying properties and can draw out bacteria just like a regular deodorant or antiperspirant. The Luna Bliss deodorant from Rustic Maka is definitely a fan favorite.
  5. Exfoliates your skin - With its slightly gritty texture, activated charcoal is good for skin exfoliation. Its impurity-sucking properties make it an even better exfoliator! The Black and Tan or Bird City bars from Mt. Royal Soaps are excellent options for performing an exfoliating cleanse.

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