Now that summer is coming to an end you may notice dullness to your skin along with new wrinkles. You applied sunscreen, drank water and thought you did all the right things to maintain supple, glowing, hydrated skin through the summer months. However, air pollution, sweat, and residue from cosmetics take their toll. Luckily, activated charcoal with its incredible ability to draw out impurities is just what post-summer skin needs. Offering us details on the benefits of charcoal, is Dr. Margarita Lolis, Board-Certified Dermatologist and member of the American Academy of Dermatology.
What’s important to understand is that activated charcoal is typical charcoal but it’s heated in a special way that helps with the absorption of liquids and toxins. It’s not the same charcoal used to barbecue hamburgers. Medical grade activated charcoal is often used in hospitals serving as an emergency remedy for poisonings. Activated charcoal has become a popular ingredient in beauty products because it does a great job going deep to draw out dirt, impurities deep in the pores.
“There are a lot of products on the market and a lot of easy recipes people can use to create at home masks. When used once or twice weekly, depending on skin type, you’ll see an improvement in skin texture and appearance pretty quickly. Results are pretty fast when activated charcoal in powder form is used,” explains Dr. Lolis.
The good news is you have options. Over the last few years, charcoal has gone mainstream. There are numerous products available on the market ranging from drugstore cleansers from brands like Neutrogena and even soaps for as little as $3.00 a bar. There are mid-range cleansers and masks with activated charcoal from Clinique and Origins for around $25-$35. Then there is the ultra-luxurious mask made with the very rare Kishu Binchotan Charcoal which comes from a rare tree found in a remote region in Japan. Tresor Rare’s Zumi Mask is $5,000 making it the most expensive in the world boasting high-performance skin detox.
Before adding charcoal to your beauty regimen, check out Dr. Lolis’ list of top skin benefits of activated charcoal.
Makes pores smaller – Summertime perspiration leads to pore expansion and enlargement. Activated charcoal helps pull out toxins and dirt from your pores to make them less visible. “The key here is you want to allow enough time for the charcoal to do its thing. Don’t scrub and be sure to rinse with lukewarm water, advises Dr. Lolis.”
Removes oil from skin – Activated charcoal has many properties that help balance and soak up the oil from your face. Dr. Lolis explains that due activated charcoal has a strong ability to vacuum up oil. “People with normal to dry skin should use charcoal it once or twice a week to avoid drying out your skin. People with oily skin can use a combination of an activated charcoal soap daily then a mask twice per week,” she says.
Exfoliates – This is where activated charcoal does wonders to improve skin texture. In addition to extracting oil and dirt, it removes dead skin from the skin’s surface explains Dr. Lolis. “You get the deep clean plus the surface clean when you use activated charcoal. It’s a one-two punch. If you’re not the type to get professional facials twice monthly, a face cleansing regimen with activated charcoal is a great at-home option to achieve that deeper clean.
Calms breakouts and removes acne scars – Those deep painful cystic pimples often lead to scarring and blemishes. Activated charcoal works to lighten acne scarring by lifting off the darkened dead skin. Given it is also rich in anti-inflammatory properties acne prone skin is soothed and future breakouts prevented. “For those who can’t afford laser or light therapy, or simply want an at-home solution for acne charcoal will help fade scars over time. The key is to stick with it,” says Dr. Lolis.
Anti-Aging – “Whenever you are exfoliating the skin and accomplishing a deeper clean, wrinkles decrease and a supple skin rejuvenation occurs,” says Dr. Lolis. Women in their 30’s and 40’s who struggle with adult acne find activated charcoal helps with breakouts and overall skin texture and radiance. Aging skin tends to be dryer so it’s important to use charcoal on the oilier areas of our skin as opposed to everywhere,” she adds.