Coming Clean About Activated Charcoal
By: Sawyer Cecena
Over the past several years, the use of activated charcoal has become quite the trend in the beauty community. Well recognized beauty gurus such as BeautyByJosieK, Ladylike, and Ela Gale have helped popularize the use of activated charcoal in DIY creations of face masks, teeth whitening serum, and eyeliner on their YouTube channels. Even Tarabusi Creek has followed the trend with the Paradise and White Tea soaps and the Phoenix scrub, all of which contain some percentage of activated charcoal. So, what exactly is activated charcoal, and why is it so popular?!
Burn, Baby Burn.
It’s crucial to note that there is a huge difference between activated charcoal and the charcoal used on a grill. So, please, don’t go brushing your teeth with a bag of Kingsford any day soon. Activated charcoal can actually be made from many things, including coconuts, bamboo, and coal. However, what turns those substances into activated charcoal is the process of eliminating oxygen while they burn. The char that produces is then made to be super porous through exposure to extreme heat and gases. All of that produces a non-toxic, odorless, tasteless black powder that is seemingly underwhelming. In fact, the main purpose of activated charcoal is actually to be used by medical professionals in order to treat those who are suffering from a drug overdose or ingestion of poison. Not so fun, right?
However, the fame of activated charcoal in the beauty and health communities can be attributed to its adsorbent properties, which allow materials to stick to the surface. These adsorbent properties are what make many believe activated charcoal is the perfect way to cleanse or remove certain toxins. In the beauty world, one of the most common uses for activated charcoal is in the form of a face mask or pore strip to clear bacteria and build up from the skin. The activated charcoal is combined with adhesive ingredients, and once dry is peeled away from the skin to pull up the sebum, aka that nasty white gunk, right out of your pores! These products can typically be found wherever face wash is sold. If you want the cleansing benefits of activated charcoal without the peel-off effect (or the aftermath!), you can use activated charcoal in the form of a scrub, wash, or soap for a similar result.
Protecting your Pearly Whites
If a whiter, fresher smile is what you are after, activated charcoal may be able to help with that too. Many believe that brushing your teeth like normal with activated charcoal in place of toothpaste can remove bacteria from the mouth and even remove unsightly stains. However, experts urge extreme caution when trying this method for two reasons. Firstly, because charcoal that is too abrasive may scratch the teeth and ruin the enamel. Secondly, despite all the evidence proving how helpful activated charcoal can be to remove other toxins from the body, there has yet to be any studies proving the safety or effectiveness of this specific treatment.
What do you think about the popularity of activated charcoal as a beauty supplement? Are you totally for it? Totally turned off? Drop your comments down below!
Photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/magnoid/3871941876