Activated charcoal: Ingredient in focus
Cool. Photogenic. And super effective. Gotta admit that this millennial favourite, powerhouse of an ingredient has an appeal unlike anything else. Read on to discover more about it.
What is activated charcoal?
In a nutshell, activated or active charcoal (AC) is a pure and highly adsorbent form of carbon used in personal care products for effective detoxification.
To create it, carbon rich natural matter such as wood, coconut shells and bamboo among others, is superheated to create pure charcoal which is then put through a process of activation to remove impurities and create a lot of room for adsorption via specific industrial treatment resulting in activated charcoal.
(The meaning of adsorption as per dictionary.com - The process by which molecules of a substance, such as a gas or a liquid, collect on the surface of another substance, such as a solid. The molecules are attracted to the surface but do not enter the solid's minute spaces as in absorption.)
Adsorption is what gives activated charcoal its powerful toxin clearing properties as impure micro-particles found in air pollution, dirt, dust etc. bind to it and are thus drawn out from the surface to which it is applied.
Benefits in personal care
- Unclogs pores, removes impurities and oil, resulting in a clearer and smoother skin.
- An ideal T-zone cleanser for combination skin type to remove oiliness and mattify the texture of the skin.
- Activated charcoal carries a negative electrical charge and thus attracts impurities which are mostly positively charged making it an effective detoxifier against city pollution that keeps bombarding our skin.
- Has deodorising properties.
- Circumstantial reviews suggest that activated charcoal can provide support in reducing acne and blackheads when used in combination with other ingredients such as salicylic acid etc. that target the same concerns, by drawing out the oil, bacteria and dirt from the pores profusely.
- Most commonly used as a detoxifying active in combination with other ingredients to bring combined benefits in products such as face masks, soaps & shampoos.
- Works well with clays as a mask, addressing the many woes of oily skin effectively.
Good to Know
Activated charcoal (AC) is inert and quite safe as a skincare ingredient with no adverse effects known so far in topical use. Research is still on to find out the exact benefits and the extent of these benefits from this wonder ingredient.
AC is best used in moderation and with professional expertise involved, simply because it is not a very common DIY ingredient and it can be a bit messy to handle at home. It's far more convenient and rewarding to try out the trustworthy exclusive options in the market. Even so, the popularity of AC is soaring and people are learning about its many uses at home. If that intrigues you too, go ahead but preferably avoid the trending DIY peel-off mask with AC, to be on the safe side for your skin.
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