Activated Charcoal for Skin: Uses, Benefits and more

Activated Charcoal for Skin: Uses, Benefits and more

What is Charcoal?

Charcoal is basically the residue obtained when organic matter (like wood, bones, living forms containing carbon) is heated in absence of oxygen. Charcoal when heated (steam heated at 1000℃) under high pressure suffers changes to its internal structure, making it more porous and absorptive. It becomes powdery and is mixed with ingredients like coconut shells, sawdust to be used on skin. The form of Charcoal that can be used on our body is called ‘activated’ charcoal.

Activated charcoal is negatively charged, and attracts the positively charged toxic particles. Since the body does not absorb charcoal and charcoal absorbs the harmful particles, it can easily remove toxins from the skin.

How Can One Use Activated Charcoal for the Skin?

Activated charcoal is available in the form of capsules (each capsule recommended for single use) and powder. Whenever using on the skin, it is to be made into a paste by adding liquids like vinegar, green tea, essential oils, or water at times. Always take the advice of your doctor or a reputed expert source to create your homemade recipes. All these ingredients are highly beneficial to the skin and get the very finely granulated activated charcoal to the pores of your skin.

If you need to use charcoal on your scalp, you should mix a teaspoon with your shampoo and apply it the usual way.

Activated charcoal does not smell, but it can leave stains. Although for most people activated charcoal does not leave stains, it is ALWAYS advisable to do a patch test on your skin before applying the black paste all over your face or body.

Benefits of Charcoal

1. Cleaning pores

Cleaning pores

Ingredients

  • 1/2 teaspoon (tsp) activated charcoal powder
  • 1 tablespoon (tbs) clay powder
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • Water

How to Prepare and Use

Enlarged skin pores make your skin look dull and saggy and to remove pores from face try this recipe. Mix the ingredients together to make a paste. Add water as required to maintain consistency. Stir thoroughly to ensure there are no lumps or mounds. Apply it on the face, especially on the T-zone (the forehead and the nose) which is more oily than the rest of the face and has more visible pores. Let dry for 10 minutes and then wash off with cold water. Pat dry, and follow it up with a gentle, oil-free moisturizer.

2. Say goodbye to oily skin

Ingredients

  • 1/2 tsp activated charcoal powder
  • 1 tbs clay powder
  • Green tea

How to Prepare and Use

To get rid of extra oiliness from your skin, Put the charcoal and the clay powder in a bowl, then add green tea to make a paste. Make sure the paste is consistent and not too thick. Apply it on the face like a mask. Let it sit for 15 minutes, and then gently remove it using a wet cloth or damp cotton balls. Follow it up with a gentle, oil-free moisturizer. Repeat twice daily for best results.

3. Treating acne

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp activated charcoal powder
  • 1 tsp witch hazel
  • Essential tea tree oil

How to Prepare and Use

Put in 1 teaspoon of activated charcoal in a bowl, then add 3 or 4 drops of tea tree oil followed by drops of witch hazel. Stir well and allow charcoal to mix with the oil. Apply the paste on acne-infected areas of the face and let dry. Wash off with cold water. Use this paste once or twice weekly and you’ll see amazing results within a few weeks.

4. Facial cleanser

Facial cleanser

Ingredients

  • 1 tbs activated charcoal powder
  • 1 tbs baking soda
  • Essential tea tree oil
  • 1/2 cup organic olive oil (~120 ml)
  • 2 to 3 drops sandalwood oil

How to Prepare and Use

Olive oil is used for hydration and nourishment of the skin and baking soda is for exfoliation. The essential oils help soothe your skin as well as add a pleasant scent to the recipe.

Mix the ingredients well. Use extra virgin olive oil for this recipe. Once the whole mixture is diluted, store in a glass jar. The cleanser thus made can be used over a period of six months. Apply a little of this solution on your face and rub it gently in circular strokes. Wash off with lukewarm water and pat dry. Follow this up with a gentle moisturizer or day cream with a light SPF (sun protection factor). Cleanse your face twice or thrice every week for best results.

5. Deep cleansing using a face mask

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp activated the charcoal powder
  • 1 tbs distilled water
  • 1 tsp unflavored gelatin powder

How to Prepare and Use

A face mask is used to unclog the pores and removes the dead skin cells from the face. Mix and heat the ingredients over the stove on low heat. Stir constantly till the gelatin melts. After all, ingredients have thoroughly mixed, remove them from the stove and let the mixture cool down to the room temperature.

Before applying the mask, wash your face thoroughly. Now apply the mixture on the face and let dry for 15 minutes. Gently peel the mask off in the upward direction. Do not wash your face again after peeling the mask off, and instead use a moisturizer to re-hydrate the skin. Use once every week for gorgeous results.

6. Curing cuts and insect bites

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp activated charcoal powder
  • 1 tbs distilled water

How to Prepare and Use

Charcoal is a magic antidote for insect bites and cuts as it draws out poison from the sting and reduces inflammation. For this, mix a little charcoal powder with distilled water and apply on the irritated skin. Leave it on, and apply repeatedly till the pain and swelling reduce.

If insects are being an issue in your home, don’t forget to use some of these natural tips to keep insects at bay.

7. Banishing blackheads

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp activated charcoal powder
  • 1 tsp water or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp bentonite clay (preferably sodium based)

How to Prepare and Use

Are you vexed with the blackheads? Homemade recipes for blackheads work great. For an activated charcoal recipe, mix the abovementioned ingredients together, but remember to use little to no water as we require this paste to be thick. Apply it on the face and let dry. Then, peel it off like a face mask. It is recommended to use this face mask once and see how your skin reacts to it, and then regularize the usage (even everyday application is advisable).

8. Whitening the teeth

Whitening the teethSounds almost ironical, that something so black can helps to whiten teeth naturally. Not really surprising if you consider how charcoal works; it pulls in dirt and pollutants. So, charcoal does surprisingly well by pulling in coffee, tea, wine and other stains that build up over time.

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp activated charcoal powder
  • Your everyday toothpaste

How to Prepare and Use

First, mix activated charcoal powder with plenty of water and make a paste (which will be very difficult as activated charcoal acts hydrophobic in the beginning). Apply this paste on your teeth and brush for at least 2-3 minutes. Do not apply too much or too little. Rinse off properly. Follow this up by brushing with your regular toothpaste, just to make sure there’s no charcoal left and the mouth smells clean (since charcoal is scentless).

Do this every day to see visible results.

9. Filtration of water

Just like on the skin, activated charcoal pulls out toxins and dirt from the water. It also removes a considerable amount of fluoride. It is however ineffective against viruses, bacteria and hard elements like calcium and magnesium.

Adding a couple of sticks of charcoal into your water bottle does all the required detoxification. If you cannot do it yourself, there are home water purifiers which use activated charcoal filters as well as portable water bottles with built-in charcoal filters. These are also very easily available in the markets.

11. For a healthy scalp

Ingredients

  • 10g activated charcoal powder
  • Your usual shampoo

How to Prepare and Use

Mix 10g of activated charcoal with your shampoo and massage on the scalp for a few minutes. It helps get rid of dandruff, dirt, pollutants, and oil, hence relieving the scalp of irritation and itching. You might want to be careful if your hair is light in colour, as you’ll be required to use a little more shampoo to completely rinse off the charcoal. Again, a patch test is recommended for light-coloured hair.

Ways to use Activated Charcoal for Skin

Ways to use Activated Charcoal for Skin

1. Charcoal Detox Mask

Ingredients

  • 1 tbs activated charcoal powder
  • 1 tbs rose water
  • 1 tbs bentonite clay (preferably sodium based)
  • A little raw honey

How to Prepare and Use

Mix the ingredients well. Honey is present for the purpose of moisturizing and can be left out of the recipe if need be. The paste will be a little thin and runny. Clean your face and apply the paste. After letting it dry for about 10 minutes, wash it off and pat dry your face.

2. Activated Charcoal Scrub

Ingredients

  • 1 tbs activated charcoal powder
  • 1 tbs rose water
  • 2 tsp coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp raw honey

How to Prepare and Use

Mix the ingredients thoroughly. Apply to a clean face, and gently massage in circular strokes over the entire face. It will loosen the pores, pulling out dead skin cells and other impurities. Do this for a few minutes and then rinse away. Pat dry your face and apply a gentle moisturizer to hydrate the skin. Regular use of this scrub can greatly control excess sebum (oil) production on the skin.

Side Effects of Activated Charcoal

Activated Charcoal, while it is beneficial in a number of ways, needs to be used with some cautions. Although it is safe for most individuals, ingesting charcoal can cause certain problems or harmful reactions. For instance, if you’ve had a recent intestinal or abdominal surgery, or if you suffer from chronic dehydration or slow digestion, it might affect how the body reacts to the activated charcoal. Always consult your doctor before you begin an internal use of activated charcoal.

At any cost, DO NOT INHALE activated charcoal. It is very fine and damaging for the lungs. If inhaled, seek immediate medical attention.

For external uses, do a patch test to understand any allergies or sensitivities before you begin using activated charcoal for your skin. If in doubt, consult your doctor about it.

How to Choose Activated Charcoal for Yourself

Whenever you’re at a store or a pharmacy, you’ll find many brands of activated charcoal. You should choose the one containing coconut shells or other identifiable wood species like bamboo, and ultrafine grains. Avoid charcoal mixed with multiple ingredients in general.

Also read: Home Remedies for Dry Skin, Tips, and Benefits

 

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