If you haven't noticed charcoal causing a big ol’ buzz in the beauty world, you must have been living under a rock (of charcoal) – it’s the new wonder-ingredient for your skin, hair and teeth due to its slew of health and beauty benefits. When we talk about charcoal for skin, we’re not talking about the coals that you chuck on your BBQ – the black gloopy face masks filling up your Insta feed are made from activated charcoal, or activated carbon, as it’s otherwise known. So why should you be adding it to your bathroom cabinet and how can it help when you’ve got PMS skin? Read on.
What is activated charcoal?
Activated charcoal is charcoal that's been processed to reduce the size of its pores and increase its surface area, therefore improving its ability to trap chemicals and toxins. Activated charcoal has long been used in hospitals to treat poisoning and overdoses and can also be taken as a natural remedy for gas and bloating. The charcoal is 'activated' by processing it at very high temperatures, which change its internal structure.
Charcoal for skin that's oily or congested
Fans of charcoal-infused beauty products love the stuff for its ability to absorb toxins and bacteria. Charcoal acts as a magnet for dirt – drawing out nasties from the skin, de-plugging pores and purifying the complexion. So, when you’re dealing with a PMS breakout – oily skin, blackheads and pimples – charcoal acts as a super-cleanser, working harder than your usual skin products. Apply a face mask once a week, such as BeautyPro Black Peel Charcoal Mask, or use a daily cleanser which contains the ingredient.
Charcoal for skin that's dry or combination
If you have dry or combination skin, you can still benefit from this pore-penetrating ingredient. Optiat Nourishing & Hydrating Face Mask is a luxurious yet gentle blend of activated charcoal and rhassoul clay, which also contains moisturising marshmallow root and calming calendula. This scrub and mask in one is perfect if your skin gets flaky and congested in the colder seasons, when central heating can cause dry skin cells to block pores.