Pros and Cons of Using Activated Charcoal in Your Everyday Beauty Routine
This is a guest post by Zara Lewis.
These days, bypassing conventional beauty products and replacing all the “must-fashion-and-beauty-haves” for our kitchen cupboard essentials seems to be the favorite thing to do! There’s nothing as amazing as utilizing all that was given by our glorious nature and turning it into the healthiest products we can rely on.
The Magic of Charcoal
Not that charcoal sounds as the most glamorous ingredient you could include into your beauty routine, but its effect is so amazing that you’ll go black for it any time!
The thing is, activated charcoal has been used for many years back even though we may have not been paying too much attention to it. Charcoal has been used in hospital emergency rooms for years to treat drug overdoses and alcohol poisoning. Its effect is purely protective: basically, charcoal attaches to toxins in the stomach, absorbing them before the bloodstream does.
As for inclusion of charcoal into beauty products, the reason is very similar to its medical purposes. Charcoal acts like a magnet that attracts and absorbs dirt and oil, with the experts saying that this theory holds water. “When dirt and oil in your pores come in contact with the carbon, they stick to it, and then get washed away when you rinse,” explains cosmetic chemist Ni’Kita Wilson.
But…is it safe?
While activated charcoal alone is safe, there appears to be nothing life-changing about it. That is, most users did indeed note improvements on their skin, however – others have noticed none.
Dr. Craig Kraffert, a dermatologist who gave an option on this charcoal trend says that it’s the unusual appearance that’s giving charcoal a cool spin. “Using a very dark black product stands out from the typical, creamier and lighter colors, which makes it appealing to many individuals”. Further, Kraffert says, “there isn’t solid clinical data one way or the other… the uniqueness of the ingredient itself, especially its color, is likely the main driver behind the recent surge in popularity of activated charcoal facial cleansers and masks.” Essentially, from his point of view, this is more hype than help.
Hype or not, the world is obsessed with this charcoal trend and so are we. People everywhere (celebs included) are going absolutely crazy for “black masks”, “black teeth whitening”, “skin cleansers”, etc. – all products having active charcoal as their main ingredient. Some are DIY and are easily made at home, while others can be bought with major beauty brands like Sephora and such. What’s even more interesting is that charcoal is becoming the it ingredient of almost all beauty and teeth products around Sydney (and we all know how picky those nature-worshipers are!). Apparently, the latest favorite trend in the Land Down Under is charcoal teeth whitening and it’s becoming almost as popular as getting veneers in Sydney (which is a well-known Aussie fixation, as you know!). Promising!
In an attempt to break things down and see where we stand (as well as what we, ourselves, can use), we’ve gathered information on the currently most popular charcoal treatments.
Here we go:
Fight the acne
When the weather is hot, we are all more prone to breaking out than usually. Charcoal + clay mask seems to be the perfect remedy for such a situation, as it will absorb excess oil and help clear out clogged pores. The mask will whisk away dead skin cells and impurities, as well as calm irritations.
Make at home:
- A tablespoon of activated charcoal
- A tablespoon of bentonite clay
- Add apple cider vinegar to make a paste
Spread it over your face with clean fingers and let it sit for 15 minutes. Rinse with cool water and apply moisturizer.
Even though there’s no rhyme or reason behind using charcoal to whiten the teeth, it actually works! Apply charcoal to chemically remove those tea, coffee and wine stains from tooth enamel.
Make at home:
- Open one or two capsules of activated charcoal into a cup
- Add some water to make a paste
- Dab (don’t scrub!) the paste with your toothbrush or finger on your teeth
- Rinse after 3 minutes and repeat daily
Banish bloating and soothe the upset tummy
Add a couple of activated charcoal capsules to your morning smoothie or freshly squeezed juice whenever your tummy feels weird and witness the magic happen.
Make at home:
- Make your usual smoothie
- Add a charcoal capsule
- Shake and drink
So, we’re thinking: there must be something about this whole charcoal thing as everyone is raving about it with such an enthusiasm, right? Let’s all try it!