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Ingredient Breakdown: Activated Charcoal

ingredient breakdown activated charcoal

activated charcoal uses skin

When you think about charcoal you probably think of a solid, dirty, porous, black substance you cook food over when grilling. But when charcoal is activated, it takes on a whole new set of benefits – even for the skin.

What is activated charcoal?

Activated charcoal is a form of carbon that is processed to be highly absorbent with millions of small pores which can bind and capture toxins so they can be removed from the body. Activated charcoal is made from various resources but is often made from coconut shells or other natural sources when used for natural healing.

Trapping chemicals and toxins in the body before they cause the body any harm is one of the most common uses of activated charcoal. Often it is used to manage overdose or poisoning. This is because drugs and toxins bind to it, so the body can more easily get rid of these unwanted substances without allowing the body to reabsorb them.

There are also many skin care benefits that come from activated charcoal. Here are some of our favorite with you:

Treatment and Management of Acne

Acne is a skin condition that affects millions of people throughout the world. It occurs when hair follicles become clogged by oil and dead skin cells. Blackheads and pimples are typical of acne. Activated charcoal absorbs oil, dirt, and other pollutants on the skin making it an excellent acne treatment. Charcoal facial masks and pore strips are often used to lift pollutants and toxins from the pores. You can also use activated charcoal for acne scars. Skin care products that contain activated charcoal are often beneficial to those with oily skin or dry skin because these products are often combined with other natural ingredients such as aloe or kaolin clay. 

activated charcoal for acne

Improved Gut Health

Did you know that a healthy gut leads to healthier skin? The bacteria in your gut plays many important roles such as improving your immune system. A healthy gut also helps fight against chronic inflammation which can lead to signs of premature aging such as wrinkles, sagging skin, bags under the eyes, and puffiness. A healthy gut also helps to assist with the extraction of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help to repair and protect the skin. Activated charcoal removes toxins from the digestive tract, helping your skin to flourish and maintain its healthy, natural beauty.  


Each day we are exposed to different toxins through the environment and even the foods we eat. These toxins lead to premature signs of aging such as sun spots, fine lines and wrinkles, sagging skin, dull skin complexion, puffiness, and dry skin. Activated charcoal removes toxins from the body helping to prevent premature aging and promoting healthy, glowing skin.

Other uses not related to skin care include:

  • Treats insect and snake bites
  • Alleviates bloating and gas
  • Whitens teeth
  • Filters water
  • Reduces high cholesterol
  • Eliminates mold

How do you use activated charcoal?

Grabbing the ashes that come from burning wood is not the same thing as activated charcoal. Activated charcoal, when used for health and healing, is typically made from coconut shells. It generally comes in a powder form that can be mixed with water, aloe vera, or other natural ingredients. Activated charcoal can also be found in various skin care products such as facial masks, soaps, and cleansers. Try this DIY charcoal face mask from Viet Hung Tran that will help treat your blackheads, shrink your pores, and reduce pigmentation! 

What's your favorite type of face mask? Do you have a special ingredient you need, or do you only like peel-offs? Let us know in the comments below! 

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