Charcoal has been used to treat a multitude of medical ailments including alcohol and drug overdoses for years, but it has only recently been found to be an effective means to address issues associated with oily skin in the form of charcoal cleansers. Most of us only use charcoal for the purposes of barbecuing and to produce fuel, however the substance, which is an impure form of carbon which develops through a slow process of pyrolysis, is often used in commercial beauty products. Therefore activated charcoal can be defined as charcoal that has been heated, causing it to expand and become extremely porous. Essentially, the carbon compounds found in charcoal works by attracting dirt and oil on the surface of the skin, similar to a magnet, serving to purify the dermis and minimize the likelihood of acne, blackheads and other blemishes developing. Although fine lines, dark circles, discolouration, scarring and the like are afflictions that affect certain people primarily as they age, oily skin that often traps dirt and environmental impurities can pose problems for anyone at any time.
There are many ways to use charcoal to improve the quality of one’s skin with various different cleansers offered by both drug and department stores brands using it as one of their products’ primary ingredients. Lush.com offers the “coal bar” and GlamGlow has their YouthMud Tinglexfoliate Treatment Mask available as well.
However for those who prefer to take the natural route and create their own concoctions simply and easily, there are various recipes for facial masks that can be found online. In effect, by using a small amount of activated charcoal, aloe vera, rosewater and tea tree oil, creating a paste before applying it to the face, an inexpensive yet effective facial mask can be made at home. However charcoal-based beauty products are not limited to facial cleansers; many companies including Origins are including it in some of their body washes and Boscia Konjac is even offering a charcoal-infused sponge designed to minimize pores and remove makeup as well. Although charcoal-based beauty and cleansing products may just be a trend that will give way to another “it” ingredient in the near future, it may be worth a try in the interest of achieving clean, healthy and oil-free skin.