Activated charcoal has taken the market by storm. It is a recurring name that we continue to hear every now and then when it comes to natural ingredients for hair care, skincare and even health treatment.
You might be wondering how mere charcoal can prove so helpful for so many problems. But activated charcoal is not the hard black stuff used in a barbecue grill. What is it exactly, then?
Activated charcoal is a kind of fine black powder that is made from substances like petroleum coke, sawdust, olive pits, coconut shells, coal, etc. and is activated by heating it to a very high temperature which reduces the size of its pores while increasing the surface area. This treatment process makes activated charcoal more porous than regular charcoal.
It has become a well-known detoxifier which helps to suck out toxins, chemicals and dirt from a surface and does not allow these foreign materials to be re-absorbed thereby rendering the absolutely clean.
What are the benefits of activated charcoal?
This simple fine black powdery substance is beneficial in a lot of ways.
The daily routine in our lives takes a major toll on our skin with our pores being clogged by dirt, oil and other toxic particles. Activated charcoal mixed with a face mask can help unclog pores, while also helping our pores return to their normal size after being expanded due to the accumulation of dirt and oil. After washing off this mask, your skin will look visibly clear, smooth, free from blackheads and with less visible pores.
Balances oily skin
This ingredient mixed with face-mask or face wash can help draw out excess oils from the skin, which is not possible in case of a normal face wash. Activated charcoal’s property of drawing out toxins and unwanted matter is what proves beneficial in this case. However, it is advisable to do this not more than twice a week since excessive use can wash out healthy oils too, leaving the skin dry and under-nourished. Excessive drying of the skin can also lead the sebaceous glands to overcompensate, thereby releasing more oil and triggering acne breakouts.
Activated charcoal acts as a gentle exfoliator too. It may be used with any liquid such as water or milk to prepare an exfoliator which can remove dirt, sebum and dead skin. This can be used all over the body and would not harm or interfere with the natural pH balance of the body. The microbial properties of activated charcoal can help prevent skin infections too.
This magical ingredient can help fight acne too. Since it has anti-bacterial properties, it can help fight the bacteria that cause acne besides gently exfoliating the skin and, due to its absorbing properties, clear up clogged pores. For this purpose, you can use activated charcoal in a mask or even use it as a topical solution.
Heals bites, cuts, etc.
Activated charcoal has anti-bacterial and antiseptic properties. This helps this natural ingredient in soothing and healing a number of ailments such as cuts, bites, skin irritations. Whether it’s a sting from an insect or a minor cut, or some skin infection, this ingredient can help in the healing process when applied topically or in the form of a paste. Not only will it help absorb the toxins and combat the pathogens introduced into the skin, but it will also help in reducing the pain and speed up the healing process.
Helps with hair problems
Besides being a cure for such a wide variety of skin problems, activated charcoal is useful for treating hair problems too.
It helps to rid the hair of toxins such as dirt and oil without disrupting the natural moisture of the hair and maintaining its pH balance. While other shampoos are usually not washed out totally and often cause the hair to sag, activated charcoal mixed with shampoo will allow the shampoo to be washed out completely along with the dirt and excess oils in the hair, thereby making the hair feel much lighter and look more voluminous, as a result.
While helping the skin get rid of toxins, activated charcoal is believed to be able to pull out dirt and toxins from the hair in the same manner. It can either be used as a solution before shampoo or along with shampoo. Activated charcoal can help in curing dandruff, redness and scalp irritation too.
Helps whiten teeth
This powdery substance goes a long way in whitening the teeth, naturally. This can be used either with toothpaste or without, by making a simple paste using water and applying it to the teeth with a toothbrush or bare fingers. It can remove plague, coffee stains and nicotine. It does not, however act as a bleach to whiten naturally yellow teeth. There is no need to use too much of this substance to clean the teeth. Only a small amount can do wonders.
Some quick activated charcoal recipes to rid you of your beauty woes
- Homemade facial cleanser that consists of activated charcoal, rosemary oil, lavender oil, baking soda and coconut oil will not just remove impurities but also gently exfoliate skin, helping you achieve a clear complexion.
- A mask consisting of water, activated charcoal, tea tree oil, lavender oil, bentonite clay and raw honey can help get rid of pimples. While tea tree oil is well known for curing acne, honey has antibacterial properties. Bentonite clay too helps in removing toxins, just like activated charcoal. Together, it can help get rid of pimples, blemishes and help achieve clear and glowing skin.
- A mixture of lavender oil, bentonite clay, coconut oil, beeswax, tea tree oil can help soothe bug bites and stings, reduce redness and irritation of the skin.
- Activated charcoal mixed with baking soda in warm water can act as a hair mask. Gently massage on the scalp, leave on for 30 minutes and wash out. Besides sucking out dirt, excess oils and toxins from the hair, it can promote healthy hair growth since it rids the hair of unhealthy elements.