Skin Care

So You Thought Charcoal Was Just For BBQ's?

So You Thought Charcoal Was Just For BBQs

Cosmetics contain activated vegetable charcoal. A favourite with Ancient Greeks and Egyptians and still popular in Asian countries, activated charcoal is obtained from the cinders of coconut shells or wood that are then 'activated' in a steam-filled furnace. The wood/shells are heated to a high temperature in an oxygen-free environment. This produces a high concentration of pure (AKA activated) charcoal. This charcoal is porous, meaning it has a high absorption capacity.

Activated charcoal is packed with magnetic positive ions that attract negative ions present in waste. This means it can purify air, water and neutralise nasty odeurs. Being highly absorbant, vegetable charcoal helps ease digestive problems and is a common first-aid treatment for various types of poisoning. Apart from its health-related benefits, it's a great beauty-booster: when applied to skin, sebum and grime cling to its surface. And get detoxed into oblivion!

Thanks to its absorbant properties, activated charcoal is found in treatments that need rinsing off - soaps, scrubs (gel or otherwise), purifying face masks... In other words, treatments where it sponges off impurities. But, you'll also find it in cleansing brushes, facial konjac sponges and exfoliating treatments.

Activated charcoal doesn't harm the hydrolipidic film, making it suitable for all skin types. However, it's particularly good for combination, oily, acne or blemish-prone skin. Charcoal's sometimes combined with salicylic acid to combat acne or tea tree oil for a purifying action. It's a superb cleansing ingredient if your skin has to deal with cigarette smoke or polluted environments. That said, if you have dry or sensitive skin, avoid patches and masks as they can be too harsh for fragile faces.

Charcoal's an indisputable detoxifier. Its porous and cavity-filled structure traps toxins, gas and bacteria. Its absorbant properties means it sucks out toxins, purifies our skin and helps cells to regenerate. So you can kiss goodbye to blackheads and skin-dulling dead cells! It leaves skin squeaky clean and germ-free. The result? A clear, blemish-free, glowing complexion.

For a peel-off mask, you'll need:- 1 to 2 tsp of activated vegetable charcoal- 2 tbsp of honey- 90ml of waterMix the ingredients until you get a smooth paste. Apply a thick layer to your face, leave for 5 to 10 minutes and, starting with the sides of your face, gently peel it off.