Multitasking gets a bad rap these days. Maybe I shouldn’t scarf down a Clif bar…
My love for activated charcoal continues! This detox soap and healing salve are just the beginning of how you the myriad of ways you can use this trendy beauty ingredient at home for pretty much anything.
It not only draws out itches and splinters and helps heal skin wounds and burns, but it also draws bacteria, oil and toxins out of the body. A few of the skin benefits of activated charcoal include:
- Controlling excess oil
- Exfoliating due to its slightly gritty texture
- Helping bug bites heal quicker
- Soothing skin irritations
- Lifting dirt and grime out of pores
4 Beauty Uses for Activated Charcoal
1. Whiten teeth
Not only does the thought of putting charcoal in your mouth sound a bit, well, unsanitary, but it seems counterproductive to slather on something the color black on teeth that you are hoping to turn white.
Well let me tell you that I’ve learned firsthand the impressive abilities of activated charcoal when it comes to scrubbing off those coffee, tea and wine stains away from tooth enamel.
To use: I learned this procedure from a cosmetic dentist (source): open one or two capsules of activated charcoal into a cup. Add a tiny bit of water to make a paste. Then, with your toothbrush or finger dab (don’t scrub!) the paste on your teeth. Wait three minutes before rinsing. Repeat daily.
2. Attack acne
Combine hot, sweaty days with extra sunscreen usage and I always find myself breaking out more than usual during the summer months. But a simple face mask with charcoal and clay can absorb excess oil, dead skin cells, and other impurities and help clear out clogged pores. This mask will help calm irritated skin, get rid of topical gunk and help keep breakouts at bay.
In fact, this is the only type of activated charcoal mask our dermatologist Dr. Jen Haley recommends. She cautions against some of the dangerous finds on the internet that contain glue and tear off the precious layers of delicate skin, sometimes even causing permanent scarring.
To use: Combine a tablespoon each of activated charcoal and bentonite clay. Use apple cider vinegar to make a paste. With clean fingers, spread the paste over your face and let it sit for 15 minutes. Rinse with cool water and apply moisturizer.
3. Soothe upset tummies (+ banish bloat)
You’ve probably seen this ingredient pop up more and more in juice and smoothie recipes — and for good reason! Charcoal is a well-known remedy for absorbing toxins in the stomach. And it does wonders when it comes to beating bloat and gas.
Heavy foods certainly seem to weigh your body down, especially amidst the heat and humidity that comes along with the summer season. And let’s not even talk about the temptation of cold ice cream for those of us who are lactose intolerant!
When I wake up feeling groggy and, well, gross, I add a couple of activated charcoal capsules to a morning smoothie to score some instant relief.
To use: My go-to smoothie recipe is to combine 1 cup dairy-free milk, 1 cup frozen blueberries, 1/4 avocado and a handful of spinach. Add 1-2 charcoal capsules as needed. It’s delicious and you score skin care benefits as you sip!
One caution: If you take prescription medication, just be sure to talk to your doctor to make sure the charcoal doesn’t interfere with its absorption.
4. Exfoliate skin
Adding exfoliation more regularly to my skincare routine was one of my biggest beauty lessons. And face scrubs are so easy to make at home! Just break open a couple of of activated charcoal capsules to mix up this face cleanser that lets charcoal work its magic on dead skin and excess oil.
To use: You’ll need equal parts:
Combine all ingredients in small bowl and use your fingers to mix together before applying the cleanser to skin. In circular motions, work the charcoal cleanser around your face for 1 minute.
Rinse thoroughly with warm water. Use this cleanser a few times a week for optimal benefits.
Have you added activated charcoal to your beauty routine? If you’re not into DIY, check out our favorite charcoal skincare products!
This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Jennifer Haley, a board-certified dermatologist with extensive experience in medical, cosmetic and surgical dermatology. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical reviewers here. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.
Photos by Ana Stanciu