But first, what exactly is activated charcoal? By Dawn Chen
In our never-ending quest for clear, flawless skin, we’ve already familiarised ourselves with a mix of ingredients that are powerhouses when it comes to combating acne: Salicylic acid, tea tree oil and benzoyl peroxide, just to name a few. But it’s time to add one more to your pimple-fighting army – activated charcoal.
According to Dr Ram Nath, medical director at The Wellness Clinic, activated charcoal is so effective because oil and dirt in your pores are able to stick to the carbon upon contact. They then get washed away when rinsed. He shares more about this wonder ingredient below.
What is activated charcoal, and why is it so good for skin?
Activated charcoal is carbon that’s been treated to increase its absorbency, so it acts like a magnet to attract and absorb dirt and oil.
How does charcoal help to remove impurities, and what other benefits does it have for skin?
Activated charcoal – when used in a face mask – binds to and helps pull the dirt out of pores, making them less visible (it’s the oil and dirt that makes pores appear bigger). This leaves skin feeling fresh and clean.
How should one use charcoal for acne-prone skin?
I wouldn’t recommend it as part of a daily skin care routine. I would recommend using it sparingly once or twice per week at the most, in the form of a face mask so that you don’t over-dry your skin.
Is charcoal as a skincare ingredient suitable for all skin types?
If you already have dry skin, best to steer clear of it for this use, as you don’t want to dry it out even more.
Keep oily skin under control with these charcoal masks and treatments below!
Photo: The Body Shop
The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask ($32.90)
This contains Himalayan bamboo charcoal to decongest and clear your pores, and organic Kenyan tea tree oil to target excess sebum production. Use once or twice a week to score healthy, glowing skin.
Dermalogica Charcoal Rescue Masque ($94, Asterspring)
The key active ingredient in this soothing mask is activated binchotan charcoal from the Japanese Ubame Oak. It’s said to have superior adsorption properties, allowing impurities and toxins to adhere to its surface, leaving skin soft and clean.
Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Exfoliating Cleansing Powder ($60)
Deep cleanse your skin and unclog your pores with this powder cleanser that turns to a rich, creamy lather upon contact with water. The fine powder contains bamboo charcoal to gently buff away dead skin and draw out impurities. Its essential oil blend of rosemary, wintergreen, clove and spearmint also cools skin and leaves it refreshed after use. Out in stores from June 2017.
The Wellness Clinic Acne Facial ($220 for 90 minutes)
Specially targeted at those with pimply or oily skin, this facial uses a mix of ultrasonic exfoliation and light therapy to reduce oil secretion and kill off acne-causing bacteria. It’s perfect for clearing congested pores. At the end of the treatment, you’ll also be treated to a cooling vegetal charcoal face mask to remove impurities, hydrate and prevent inflammation. For more information, visit www.twcaesthetics.com.