Activated charcoal has become a popular ingredient in the beauty world recently. Today you can find different types of products like charcoal face mask sheets and powdered charcoal masks available in the market. Moreover, you can find charcoal products ranging from facial cleansers and shampoos to scrubs and soaps.
Activated charcoal helps remove dirt and impurities from your pores, helping to minimize their size and appearance. The mineral can pull out toxins from deep within your skin to reveal clear and fresh skin.
Also, keep in mind that activated charcoal is very different from the charcoal you use in your barbecue grills. Moreover, charcoal peel-off masks are also becoming very popular. They are applied as a thick layer on your skin and peeled off once they dry out.
Whether you are looking to fight acne or improve your complexion, here is a look at how activated charcoal might benefit your skin.
Charcoal Masks: An Overview
As you might be knowing the charcoal face mask is making its rounds through social media. It is growing in popularity and is slowly becoming a go-to solution for all your skin woes. Apply the mask to your face, wait for a while to harden. Then peel off the mask for smoother and more radiant skin.
The charcoal used for skin care is known as activated charcoal. It just means that the charcoal has been treated to increase its absorbency. And activated charcoal is not anything new. It has been used for centuries. In this case, the charcoal absorbs the foreign substance before it has a chance to enter the bloodstream.
Activated charcoal can be used just by spreading it on your skin. The charcoal mask will first draw toxins, bacteria, chemicals, oil, dirt, and other micro-particles to the skin’s surface. Next, it absorbs those foreign substances and carries them away when you rinse the charcoal off your face.
The Benefits of a Charcoal Mask
Activated charcoal is also known as activated carbon. It is a fine black powder that is produced when commonly available charcoal is exposed to high heat. This process creates tiny internal holes or spaces in the charcoal, making it highly absorbent and able to trap toxins and chemicals. Although it is a type of charcoal, activated charcoal is different from the charcoal used in the barbeque or outdoor grill.
Because there is limited scientific research available on the skin benefits of activated charcoal. The charcoal mask may have the following benefits:
1 Remove impurities from the skin
Because of charcoal’s ability to absorb toxins and bacteria in the body, skin experts believe a charcoal face mask can help draw impurities from the skin.
It is also claimed that the charcoal mask can remove trapped dirt and bacteria from your face, leading to a healthier, clearer complexion.
2 Improve acne
Acne is caused by a buildup of oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria that get accumulated inside the pores in your skin. Acne-causing bacteria trigger pimples and other inflammatory lesions on your face. This acne can result in swelling, redness, and irritation.
The antibacterial properties of charcoal may help lift bacteria from the pores. This might help reduce acne and improve overall skin complexion.
3 Treat insect bites
Insect bites and stings may cause your skin to itch and swell. According to evidence, activated charcoal may help take the sting out of a bite by neutralizing the toxins in insect venom.
How Does a Charcoal Mask Work?
As already discussed, the charcoal face mask absorbs oil and other impurities on your face and removes dead skin cells. But it does this in a highly aggressive way that it might cause damage to your skin.
During the procedure, the mask first removes all the natural oils that sit on the surface of your facial skin. Those oils play a very important part. Those oils act as a skin barrier protecting your skin from bacteria, dust, dirt, and UV rays.
In fact, the natural oils protect your skin from – anything from the outside that could harm your skin. When you rip off that charcoal mask, you are actually exposing your skin to all kinds of pollutants and dirty stuff present in the air around you.
And that is not the worst of it. When the mask dries and hardens, it adheres to everything on your face. And it means everything. It gets the dirt, but it also gets the top layer of skin, including the hair and even sebaceous filaments.
Like the natural oils, Sebaceous filaments are there on your skin to protect it from harmful bacteria floating around in the environment. So, when you rip off a charcoal face mask, you are actually ripping off the top layer of facial skin and everything that is there to protect the deeper layers.
Thankfully, there is a less painful, better way to healthy, happy, smooth, wrinkle-free skin without having an invasive procedure.
How to Use a Charcoal Mask?
Here are a few tips that will help you use the mask:
- Cleanse your skin first before you start applying the mask. A clean face is helpful as it aids the mask to penetrate your pores.
- Apply the face mask evenly over your face. It should include your forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin. Then gently massage the mask into your skin only using your fingertips. You might also use a soft-bristled brush. Be careful not to get the paste into your eyes.
- Let the mask dry on your skin for about 15 minutes, then rinse off using warm water.
- Gently dry your face, then apply a moisturizer.
How Often Should You Apply a Charcoal Mask?
It is a common question many ask. How often should you apply a charcoal mask? It is best to apply a charcoal mask once or twice a week like other facial masks. If you have sensitive skin or find that your skin feels dry after using a charcoal mask, only apply once a week.
Because the mask needs to sit on your skin for about 15 minutes, it might be more convenient to include it in your nighttime skincare routine. If you use the mask in the morning, you can do so before getting shower. Then wash it off afterward.
You can also make your charcoal mask at home. Else you can purchase a premade mask at your local beauty store or drugstore. You can also shop for a charcoal mask online.
When shopping for a premade face mask, select the one that has ingredients that suit your skin type. If you have oily skin, look for a charcoal mask containing clay. This ingredient might help absorb excess oil. It may also help prevent acne breakouts and clean out your pores.
If you have dry skin, choose a charcoal mask with hydrating ingredients like olive oil, hyaluronic acid, or jojoba oils. Different brands and varieties of charcoal masks come with different ingredients. So be sure to read the product labels before purchasing. If you have sensitive skin, avoid masks with fragrances, parabens, dyes, and other chemicals that may cause a reaction.
Are There Any Risks Using a Charcoal Mask?
Many ask if there are any risks of using a charcoal face mask. Often these masks appear to be safe, although overuse could cause skin dryness, redness, and skin sensitivity.
Before you start using a charcoal mask for the first time, it is always a good habit to test the product on a small patch of skin. You should test the product on the inside of your elbow. If you do not experience any redness or itching within a few hours, it is probably safe to use on your skin.
Other Health Benefits of Activated Charcoal
Activated charcoal does not only have the potential to benefit the skin. It can also be used as a natural treatment for other conditions. These includes:
- Activated charcoal can reduce cholesterol levels. Charcoal can prevent your body from absorbing cholesterol in the gut. Several studies have indicated that activated charcoal might help lower total cholesterol and LDL or bad cholesterol by 25 percent.
- Used in poison treatments. Activated charcoal can effectively help prevent your body from absorbing chemicals from the stomach in poisoning and drug overdoses.
- Helps with kidney function. The material can help your body get rid of toxins; research has shown that activated charcoal might help people who have chronic kidney diseases.
- Can drastically improve gastrointestinal problems. Limited research has confirmed that activated charcoal might help with relieving gas and bloating in the stomach.
The Bottom Line
In recent years, charcoal has become a popular ingredient in the beauty world. Charcoal masks have limited research to back up their skin care benefits. Many people have had positive outcomes with a charcoal mask, enjoying a healthier complexion and clearer skin.
For best facial results, your doctor should try to find a charcoal mask suited to your skin type. The face mask should contain more natural ingredients, and should be free of harsh chemicals, dyes, parabens, and fragrances. Or, you can also prepare your mask with all-natural ingredients.
If you have very sensitive skin, specific skin issues, or have questions about the safety of activated charcoal, talk to your doctor before using a charcoal mask.