If you were to believe the hype, charcoal is the latest miracle cure for just about everything. Everyone is raving about the powers of ‘activated charcoal’. So how did charcoal become so popular and does it really work to improve the appearance of acne-prone skin?
Charcoal’s health history
Charcoal has been used since ancient times for its antibacterial and detoxifying properties, while most recently the medical world has used it to treat everything from poisoning to anaemia.
But, first things first, this is not your usual garden variety of charcoal, so don’t raid the barbecue just yet, but rather ‘activated charcoal’ which means oxygen has been added. The idea is that by binding and trapping toxins charcoal helps detox by flushing the system.
How does using charcoal affect skin and acne?
The charcoal’s porous nature also works on skin, unblocking pores by gathering oil and dirt, improving clarity and calming breakouts. Its most obvious use is in facemasks, but there are plenty of products available from sponges to cleansers to strips and soap bars. You can also mix activated charcoal capsules with aloe vera gel to make your own mask.
As charcoal products are non-allergenic and also contain ingredients that are great for problem skin, such as salicylic acid and kaolin clay, beauty bloggers and magazine editors fully endorse activated charcoal for its curative properties, from helping with digestion to clearing up acne.