Wild Fire Trend Alert — Charcoal Is Setting The Beauty World Ablaze

From your backyard grill into your beauty closet, charcoal is making a big comeback in the aesthetic circles. Charcoal ladies, is the newest black —you are going to be seeing a lot more of it in your personal hygiene products as well as health drinks, and makeup. Watching the charcoal laden products popularity graph spiking high, I decided to chase the fad to gage how deep the rabbit hole runs. And guess what, from skin cleansers, facial masks, and toothpaste to juice cleanses, the murky carbon ash is being incorporated and showcased in a diverse range of beauty products.


Looking For The Proof In The Charcoal Pudding

Activated charcoal is created when oxygen is added to regular charcoal and it has been used in the medical circles since ancient times to treat poisons, drug over doses, GI tract infections and nausea. Carbon pills have also been around for years to treat gastrointestinal bloating.
Research comparing the reduction of bacteria and treatment of chronic wounds has shown in the past that activated charcoal silver dressings control infection and reduce healing time, eliminating bacterial barriers. Topically it has also been used in on wounds to reduce smell and treat porphyrias.

During some skin rejuvenation treatments with lasers, carbon nano powder has been employed as an exogenous artificial pigment to focus laser energy to tighten pores, eliminate black heads and improve skin radiance.

Now how does all this apply to over the counter beauty products —Activated charcoal is known to adsorb 100 to 200 times its weight in impurities, it doesn’t absorb it attracts different molecules towards it like a magnet which is called adsorption. Hence theoretically speaking applied on skin it can draw out bacteria, toxins, chemicals, dirt and other micro-particles to the surface of skin making it an excellent natural ingredient to help purify and deep-clean skin.

What’s Cooking In The Market?

In 2014 charcoal uses have well expanded outside the conventional medicinal uses and eye lining, lets take a peek at the growing circle of this swart beauty hero’s serviceability and applications.


Forget about regular loofahs, charcoal laden sponges are the new scrubby dub dubs of 2014. A whole plethora of skincare companies are incorporating activated charcoal in soaps, cleansers, skin creams and masks. Oily and acne prone skin is thought to especially benefit from it’s purifying, detoxifying and disinfecting action. Boscia has employed it in it’s blot-on-the-go Black Charcoal Blotting Linens to keep sebaceous secretions under check. Bioré researchers claim that their charcoal cleanser removes dirt in 30 seconds instead of the usual one to two minutes it takes for most facial cleansers to do the job.

A good number of sparkly white smile enthusiast are brushing their teeth with the activated charcoal powder and claiming natural razzle-dazzle. The black sludge binds to everything in its path —stains, tartar, bacteria (refreshing your bad breath), and viruses. Word of caution here —don’t over indulge, charcoal may also bind to nutrients, medications, vitamins (that the body needs to absorb) and even bacteria that you need for digestion.

Upscale spas are dispensing expensive black gooey facials and body treatments; incorporating charcoal shots, sponge rubs and masks to cleanse and purify skin as well as body.

Cleanse and Detox industry is bottling up charcoal lemonades with a promise of an effective full body Detox-experience. Word to the wise here, charcoal is not a very specific absorber of substances it will absorb anything in your gut, good as well as bad including vital nutrients and any medications that you may be taking. Most health care providers have voiced their concerns that charcoal should not be ingested outside of a medical setting. There needs to be more scientific evidence to support its use. If you decide to use it anyways make sure you consult a doctor to monitor your micronutrient status, electrolytes, and enzyme levels.

Final Word In the Ear

The beauty industry is tooting the raven carbon soot as a natural vacuum cleaner for impurities —How well does it work on the skin? Truthfully, there isn’t any solid clinical data to prove what is being promised. Charcoal might be the magical ingredient that the aesthetic industry is touting it to be, but we’d like to see some real proof of the activated hero in action. My request to all the big cosmetic giants is to share their research with us that has lead them to believe in the purifying super powers of charcoal and hence make an honest believer out of us; the consumers.

Let’s start a brand new trend —evidence based cosmetics, seeing-is-believing show us the proof.

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Shazia Ali
A certified dermatologist, Skincare guru to the who's who of the Middle East, Dr. Shazia knows the secrets of anti-aging, the insider tips and tricks on how to achieve healthy, beautiful radiant skin and everything in between. Currently the brand Ambasador for University of Westminster, and the head Dermatologist at Tababa Clinics.

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