Benefits of Activated Carbon for Skincare
logActivated carbon is a popular ingredient in skin care products and may help improve skin texture and appearance. While its primary use has been as an internal supplement for easing digestive distress and detoxing, its absorbing properties are also highly effective as a skin treatment. Toxins can easily stick to activated carbon, making it a deep cleansing ingredient for skincare. This is one of the main reasons carbon is known as the beauty world’s top ingredient.
What is activated carbon?
Activated carbon is a highly porous substance that attracts and holds organic chemicals inside it. The media is created by first burning a carbonaceous substance without oxygen which makes a carbon “char”. Next, the “char” is treated chemically or physically to develop an interconnected series of “holes” or pores inside the carbon. The excellent surface area of this internal pore network results in a vast surface area that can attract and hold organic chemicals.
Is there a difference between Activated Carbon and Activated Charcoal?
Most people misunderstand that there is a difference between activated carbon and activated charcoal. Both of these terms can and are used interchangeably. Activated carbon and activated charcoal are both highly porous materials equally effective in attracting and removing organic chemicals and gases. Additionally, active carbon is another similar word used for activated carbon and activated charcoal.
What Does Activated Carbon Do?
Activated carbon attracts and holds organic chemicals from vapour and liquid streams, cleaning them of unwanted chemicals. It has a limited capacity for these chemicals, but it is highly cost-effective for treating large volumes of air or water to remove dilute concentrations of contamination. For a better perspective, when individuals ingest chemicals or are experiencing food poisoning, they are instructed to drink a small amount of activated carbon to soak up and remove the poisons.
What can activated carbon be used for?
1. Essential for acne and blackheads
The skin produces oil called sebum to keep out microorganisms and toxicants. It is secreted more on open skin areas like the face and neck. Sebum dries up and stays on the skin till the time it is washed off, accumulating dirt and bacteria. This is what causes painful acne and relentless blackheads.
Thus, to avoid acne and blackheads, pores should be cleaned regularly. Regular soap closes the pores, trapping bacteria inside and causing more acne. In contrast, activated carbon in face wash and other cleansing products is highly effective at deep cleaning pores and provides a much longer, much better acne prevention. Activated carbon draws dirt from the pores and absorbs excess oil, giving the skin an after-wash glow.
2. Acts as Beauty Enhancer
Activated carbon provides an excellent cleaning of the pores and more than that. When used regularly, skin care products containing activated carbon can also improve one’s appearance. Activated carbon is found in many beauty products such as lotions, creams, and shampoos. Regular use of these products can help people achieve brighter skin and treat skin problems such as boils and oiliness. An activated carbon facemask is the most popular option for evenly toned skin, along with balancing larger pores on the skin to make it look smoother.
3. Cleanses Skin Deeply
The benefits of activated carbon skin care products extend beyond their use on the face. The benefits of activated carbon are used in many body soaps. It soothes the skin and helps to prevent the formation of rashes and boils. Such products are ideal for constantly moving people whose skin suffers from sweat.
4. Soothes Inflammation
Activated carbon is excellent for treating sunburn and rashes. Activated carbon in body wash or aftershave products can help to soothe skin inflammation and prevent the growth of rashes caused by sweat from shaving blades.
5. Balances Face Tone
Activated carbon, found in cleansing scrubs and exfoliators, is highly effective at removing dead, damaged skin from the face, giving it a more even complexion.
6. Adds Shine and Volume to Hair
Activated carbon is a strong hair cleanser that keeps the scalp free of toxins in the air. It not only makes the hair smoother and dust-free, but it also balances the pH levels of the scalp and regulates sebum secretion. It also improves the shine and volume of hair. Hence, activated carbon is used in anti-dandruff shampoos, conditioners and hair masks.
7. Improved Oral Health
Our ancestors have long used powders of burnt wood (charcoal) to keep their teeth clean and maintain good oral health. Activated carbon can clean the enamel, remove plaque, and polish teeth while eliminating germs. Activated carbon, like all surfaces, balances the pH in the mouth to provide a fresh mouthfeel.
8. Brightens skin
Aside from being an excellent cleanser, activated carbon is a great de-tanning agent and can effectively remove the dead skin layers that accumulate on the skin. Tanned skin layers can be exfoliated with activated carbon masks and scrubs. This brings out the new underlying skin and brightens the face.
How to DIY an activated carbon mask
Carbon masks, also known as charcoal masks, can be purchased online or at a local beauty or drugstore. Some store-bought masks, however, may contain irritating ingredients and preservatives. Instead of buying a charcoal mask, make your own with a few simple ingredients.
To get started, prepare a mixing bowl, measuring spoons, a towel, and the following ingredients:
2 tsp. water
1 tsp. bentonite clay
1 tsp. activated carbon powder
1/2 tsp. raw honey
1 drop of essential oil (optional)
Making a carbon mask can be messy if you are not careful. Because the carbon powder is easily blown around, removing the mask from any drafts or open windows is best.
It is also a good idea to cover surfaces around you with towels to prevent the carbon from staining.
DIY carbon mask instructions
Follow these steps to make the DIY carbon mask:
1. Combine water and essential oil (e.g., lemon oil, tea tree oil, or lavender oil) in a bowl.
2. Add bentonite clay to the water-oil mixture. Allow it to absorb for a few minutes.
3. Add activated carbon powder and raw honey to the bowl. Combine all ingredients to form a paste.
Even though activated carbon is generally safe to use on the skin, there are a few safety precautions to remember.
Do not overuse activated carbon products. Once or twice a week is enough. Using it more often may dry out the skin.
Be on the lookout for allergy symptoms. Signs of an allergic reaction or sensitivity include burning, itching, redness, or swelling after applying the mask to the skin. Stop using activated carbon if you develop any of these symptoms.
Keep the mask away from the eyes. Activated carbon can scratch the surface of your eyes.
Other benefits of activated carbon
Activated carbon has the potential to benefit more than just the skin. It can also be used as a natural treatment for various ailments. This includes the following:
● Removal of volatile organic compounds such as Benzene, TCE, and PCE.
● Hydrogen Sulfide (HS) and removal of waste gases
● Impregnated activated carbon is used as a bacteria inhibitor in drinking water filters.
● Removal of taste and odour-causing compounds such as MIB and geosmin
● Recovery of gold
● Removal of chlorine and chloramine