Why Charcoal Does Nothing For Your Skin

From now on there will be a blog post once a week on Monday. Since I have a newborn, I find it difficult to blog twice a week and to maintain my website in the meantime. That’s why a post appears once a week, so that I have enough time for the rest 🙂

I actually don’t even remember when the charcoal hype started, but suddenly it was everywhere!

It was in toothpastes, facial care and apparently it worked wonders. It would whiten your teeth and cleanse your face from impurities.

I too had to try it and bought a charcoal face mask. I had seen several videos on Instagram where people slowly pulled their face mask off their face and thereby removed a lot of whiteheads. I wanted that too!

With a spatula I spread the mask over my face. I left it in and then tried to remove it. Emphasis on tried, because it didn’t work… The mask was stuck on my face!

I only got it loose by pulling very hard, but I also pulled my skin with it. And then I cried.

I finally got the mask off by cleansing my face really hard. The result? A red and broken skin. Since then I hate charcoal and avoid it like the plague in my skin care.

Recently I found out that I didn’t miss anything about the hype, because charcoal isn’t as magical for your skin as claimed. And here’s why.

What is charcoal?

Photo: trumzz via Getty Images Pro

Charcoal in cosmetics is actived charcoal. It’s a treated carbon that can bind all kind of substances through adsorption. Adsorption is a form of absorption. In skin care charcoal would suck up sebum and impurities.

It’s made from charred materials from plants. This is heated at a high temperature and treated with gases, giving it a unique structure.

Activated charcoal is also used in filters, to clean water and soil, to combat diarrhea, to treat poisoning and to combat unpleasant odors.

Charcoal doesn’t combat acne

Photo: sevendeman via Getty Images

As I said before, it’s claimed that charcoal in skin care would suck up sebum and impurities. Therefore it would fight acne. Science hasn’t been able to prove this.

Charcoal doesn’t detox your skin

Photo: sevendeman via Getty Images

Charcoal could remove harmful particles from the air that end up on your skin. Whether that is the case has never been proven.

Charcoal doesn’t prevent skin aging

Photo: sevendeman via Getty Images

It’s claimed that charcoal can improve your skin texture and prevent skin aging. Unfortunately this also has never been proven.

Watch out with charcoal masks and nose strips!

Photo: sevendeman via Getty Images

Charcoal masks and nose strips do more harm than good. In addition to charcoal, there is a kind of glue in these products.

Pulling the mask or nose strip off can damage your skin barrier, making your skin more vulnerable and prone to acne.

I wish I knew this sooner… And when I think back, I did notice that the mask indeed smelled like glue. I’ve learned my lesson.

Front photo: Enes Evren via GettyImages Signature

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