I like to switch up my skin care routine every once in a while to target specific needs, especially as seasons change. Since we’ve had a few humid days here in NY, I think it’s wise to consider some products to keep skin feeling refreshed and renewed.
Activated charcoal, also called activated carbon, is ideal for “detoxing” skin (especially oily or acne-prone skin) and drawing out bacteria and toxins (which increases the more you sweat and stew in your summer makeup–Eww!).
The carbon in the charcoal itself acts like a magnet, grabbing the impurities trapped in your pores and gradually pulling it out of your skin without drying it out. I find that products containing active ingredients like charcoal and clay might cause a minor breakout when used for the first time.
If you check out Google or YouTube, you’ll find a bevy of uses for this stuff, including water filtering, DIY teeth whitening, antidote to poisons and doctors may administer a dosage for treatment of diarrhea and alcohol poisoning/drug overdose (of course, please consult a doctor before ingesting!).
This article explains a bit more of the science, this article breaks down the most common uses, and this article gives some us some interesting history–Did you know charcoal was used as early as 3750 B.C. by ancient Egyptians and that the “father of modern medicine” himself, Hippocrotes, began using charcoal for medicinal purposes around 50 A.D.?
Now that you know a bit more about nature’s original detox agent, why not consider adding it to your beauty regimen?
Two products I have been enjoying are from Bioré and Freeman:
Bioré Deep Pore Charcoal Cleanser (8.46 Fl. Oz.)
Average Price: $7.99 USD
Product Claim: “Draws out and traps 2x more dirt & impurities than a basic cleanser, purifying pores to leave your face deeply cleaned and your skin tingly-smooth. Pore are twice as clean after just one use.”
Ingredients: WATER, GLYCERIN, SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE, COCAMIDOPROPYL BETAINE, SORBITOL, LAURETH-‐4 CARBOXYLIC ACID, ETHYLHEXYLGLYCERIN, ACRYLATES/C10-‐30 ALKYL ACRYLATE CROSSPOLYMER, METHYLPARABEN, FRAGRANCE, SODIUM HYDROXIDE, MENTHOL, POLYQUATERNIUM-‐39, DISODIUM EDTA, PROPYLPARABEN, CHARCOAL POWDER, MANNITOL, CELLULOSE, IRON OXIDES, CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC TRIGLYCERIDE, METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE, HYDROXYPROPYL METHYLCELLULOSE
First Impression: The consistency is like a thick gel with tiny beads. The gel has a mentholated/cooling effect and the beads are very gentle, less for exfoliating and more for helping to move the product around the face. There is a slight minty, fresh fragrance but I actually like it (I don’t find it too overpowering).
I like to wet my face, take a very small amount (pea size) to create a light lather and apply it onto my skin for 1-2 minutes.
I prefer to use this face wash daily–especially on a hot day, after a workout or in the shower, as it is very refreshing and cooling.
Freeman Facial Polishing Mask Charcoal & Black Sugar (6.0 Fl. Oz.)
Average Price: $4.00 USD
Product Claim: “This unique mask and scrub works double time to detox skin. First, naturally purifying Activated Charcoal helps absorb oil and impurities without over-drying. Then, Black Sugar helps exfoliate away dulling skin cells for softness and clarity. Perfect for all skin types.”
Sucrose, Propylene Glycol, Carbon*, Kaolin, Musa Sapientum (Banana) Fruit Extract , Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Extract, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Psidium Guajava Fruit Extract, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Extract, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Maranta Arundinacea Root Extract, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit Extract, Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Extract, Macrocystis Pyrifera Extract, Nasturtium Officinale Extract, Aleurites Moluccana Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Carbomer, Fragrance (Parfum), Iron Oxide (CI 177491).
First Impression: This mask/scrub combo pretty much matches the description. The consistency is just like a concentrated sugar scrub paste for the body (why not use on your legs, too!) that goes on fairly easily. This is not your typical cream, clay or gel mask.
I like to apply a generous amount and make sure to keep it away from the eye area. I would recommend lightly wetting the face first so the paste has something to adhere to and moving the scrub around to help the formula enter the pores. The formula has a slight fruity, clean fragrance and actually feels luxurious on the skin. You only need 5-7 minutes for the mask to dry so you could definitely do this in the morning before school or work.
Unlike the Bioré cleanser, this formula actually feels warm once I work it into my skin. It could just be heat caused by the pressure from the black sugar granules, but it feels nice and calming. The scrub is gentle enough to use 2-3 times per week, depending on the condition of your skin.
Check out this video for a quick lesson on the difference between absorption and adsorption. Do you remember learning about this in school?
Have you tried using activated charcoal in your skin care routine? Let me know!