Truth be told, activated charcoal in my face scrub sounded like a risk I was taking. Fruit peels, aloe vera and turmeric have known benefits, but won’t an ingredient that is known to reduce the toxic load of poison and filter water, be a bit too much for my skin?
We got in touch with Swayamprabha Hegde, the co-founder of Native Circle to share her insights about activated charcoal and its uses. Native Circle is a Bengaluru based organisation that makes all-natural personal care products. You can follow this link to check out their amazing products.
What is activated charcoal?
When it comes to beauty products, activated charcoal is an oxidised version of regular charcoal, usually made by exposing raw materials to oxygen or steam at temperatures above 250°C. This makes the charcoal more porous and absorbent. Swayamprabha shares, “This newly achieved characteristic allows particles to stick around the charcoal. Spread it on any surface and the activated charcoal can accumulate dirt and such tiny particles on it. When you wipe off the charcoal, the dirt that is stuck on also goes away.”
The oxidation process is what “activates” carbon or charcoal and makes it an agent of filtration, in case of water and purification when it comes to pastes, scrubs and masks.
What is activated charcoal used for?
Normally, activated charcoal is used in a variety of fields including medicine, in cases of drug overdose and water filtration in cases of severe impurities. When it comes to beauty and personal care, this oxidised carbon is used to extract dirt from our skin and scrub it clean.
Says Swayamprabha, “Just like a comb attracts light paper after you’ve combed your hair, the ionisation of carbon attracts dirt particles from the surface. It does not seep into your pores to extract it. Rather, it cleans out the surface on which it is spread. Anyone with oily skin or those who live in polluted areas can use face scrubs or masks with this ingredient. It rarely gives allergy.” So, if your blackheads or whiteheads annoy you (as they should, they are indicative of dirt and pollution on your skin), these masks are a wonderful instant remedy.
Get ready for a cleansing weekend. You can shop for face packs, soaps and tooth powder with this magic ingredient by clicking on this link.
How often should you use activated charcoal on your face?
Remember that activated charcoal sticks to microscopic particles to clean the surface. So it can take out some essential oils from your skin too and this is why it is a good idea to use it regularly but not too frequently. For those with oily skin, activated carbon face masks are best used no more than twice a week. If you are using the face scrub every day, you are overdoing it. Soaps don’t do as much harm even with daily use since they have other oils and lye to tone down the effect of activated charcoal.
“In case you have dry skin and are reluctant about using activated charcoal, try this. Mix it with curd or honey or such other moisturising agents to ensure that the essential oils are not extracted,” suggests Swayamprabha.
What does charcoal do for your teeth?
Just like your skin, activated charcoal can also help cleanse your skin. Mix some of it with your toothpowder and brush regularly to remove the yellow film over your teeth. Pastes may not work as well as a powder because of the other active ingredients in it. But worry not, we have a bottle of tooth powder with activated charcoal ready to be used.
It is always a good idea to know exactly what goes into your beauty products and how they help you, so you make informed choices. Here’s everything you ever wondered about activated charcoal and now these amazing products are just a click away. Get them now!
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)