4 Reasons You Need A Charcoal Face Wash & DIY Recipes


leansing is the vital part of any skin care regimen. You can skip cosmetics, but cannot afford to miss your cleansing routine. Soaps and face washes are commonly used to remove the dirt and grime from the skin. But have you ever tried charcoal powder for cleansing your skin? It is now time for those of you who associated charcoal with dirt to rectify your wrong notion, because charcoal not only cleans the skin, it is considered to be one of the best natural cleansers that can easily remove the deep-seated impurities from the skin. Check the ingredient list of some of the high-end skin cleansers and you will discover activated charcoal in the ingredients list.

Though charcoal has become a popular ingredient in skin care formulations in the recent years, its benefits were known in the ancient times. In ancient Egypt charcoal was used topically and internally. Whether taken internally or used for skin care, charcoal works in the same way. It attracts impurities and removes them from the body. The charcoal that is used for medical or beauty purpose is known as activated charcoal. It is medicinal grade charcoal, which, owing to larger surface area compared with ordinary charcoal, has a higher absorbent capacity. Activated charcoal is usually produced by burning coconut husks. [1]

Benefits Of Using Charcoal Face Wash

People involved in the charcoal manufacturing process were always aware of the efficacy of charcoal as a natural cleansing agent. Rinsing the charcoal dust covered skin with generous amount of hot water and soap left the skin of these people extremely soft. [2] There are a number of benefits of using charcoal face wash.

1. Better Alternative To Average Soap

Soaps usually tend to make the skin dry, leading to skin irritation, cracking and inflammation. A charcoal-based cleanser is considered a superior alternative to the average abrasive soaps. The organic products that combine healthy ingredients are believed to cleanse the skin more effectively without harming the skin. Charcoal, apart from cleansing, detoxifies the skin naturally. [3]

2. Suitable For All Types Of Skin

It does not matter whether you have oily, dry, combination, normal or sensitive skin. Activated charcoal based cleanser is suitable for all types of skin. The skin that produces excess sebum looks shiny and breakout easily. Activated charcoal is aptly suitable for the acne-prone oily skin. It not only helps in removing the excess oily, the deep cleaning effect of charcoal helps in getting rid of the bacteria and dirt from the pores in the skin. As it cleanses the pores, it is considered effective in reducing blackheads and inhibits acne breakouts. In combination skin, activated charcoal helps in making the T-zone comprising of the forehead, nose and chin less greasy, thereby reducing breakouts in the region.

Though people with normal skin do not worry about over or under production of sebum, nonetheless, dirt and pollutants mark their appearance. For them charcoal is the ideal natural ingredient for eliminating the toxins and impurities. Activated carbon, being gentle and natural, is usually considered safe for the sensitive skin. [4] However, if your skin is dry, use charcoal with caution. As charcoal absorbs sebum from the skin, it is advisable to use activated carbon combined with moisturizing ingredient so that you enjoy the cleansing benefits of activated carbon while keeping your skin hydrated. [5]

3. Detoxifies The Skin

An ordinary cleanser removes the dirt and oil from the topmost layer of the skin. It cannot detoxify the skin. Owing to its detoxification effect, activated charcoal is considered effective for purging the skin. The detoxification effect of activated charcoal, also known as activated carbon, is due to its unique structure. Heating carbonaceous materials such as wood, nutshells, coal or polymers at very high temperature around 800 degrees Celsius under pressure causes the carbon material to expand. The heating process dramatically increases the surface area of the activated carbon particles compared to their size. The total surface area of the highly porous activated carbon is distributed across primary, secondary and tertiary pores. The surface area of one gram of activated carbon particles can be from 1200 to 1400 square meters.

The combination of the huge surface area and additional properties added by the heating process are responsible for the adsorption capacity of activated charcoal. The adsorption effect of activated charcoal is a combination of physical and chemical processes. By trapping the gaseous molecules in its pores, activated carbon acts as a mechanical filter. This is physical adsorption process. However, the most important adsorption effect is through a physiochemical process through which the free electrons or the charged surface area of the activated carbon attracts the charged particles in its surrounding. [6] Activated charcoal, when applied to the skin, helps in drawing out the impurities, thereby reducing the risk of skin problems. [7]

4. Helps With Skin Issues

Traditionally, activated charcoal is believed to help in relieving itching, insect bites and stings and it aids healing of skin wounds. [8] If you are suffering from any of these skin issues, a charcoal based cleanser is perfect for you.

How To Use Charcoal As Face Wash

Usually activated charcoal is combined with other cleansing ingredients in facial cleansers. A number of these ingredients are available in your kitchen. By blending the kitchen ingredients with activated charcoal you can create amazing homemade face washes. Here are a few face wash recipes that are worth trying.

1. Activated Charcoal, Apple Cider Vinegar And Lemon Juice

One teaspoon of activated charcoal powder
One-fourth of a cup of organic, unfiltered and unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
One-fourth cup of lemon juice
One cup of Epsom salt
Ten drops of lavender or sage essential oil

Put all the ingredients in a glass jar. Tighten the lid and shake the jar well to thoroughly mix the ingredients. Store the cleanser in a cool dark place. The mixture can last for up to seven days. Gently massage the skin with the cleanser for 15 to 30 seconds. Wash with warm water, followed by a cold rinse. [9]

2. Activated Charcoal And Castile Soap

Three tablespoons of activated charcoal powder
Half a cup of castile soap
Five to six drops of tea tree essential oil

If you are looking for a foaming face wash, this is the simplest way to prepare it. Add the liquid castile soap and charcoal powder in a bowl. Combine the ingredients well. The charcoal powder should evenly mix with the soap and no lumps should remain in the mixture. If the cleanser seems too thick, to make it thinner add few teaspoons of water until it reaches the desired consistency. Add the tea tree oil and blend it with the cleanser. Store the cleanser in a bottle and use as needed. [10]

3. Activated Charcoal, Baking Soda And Coconut Oil

One and a half teaspoons of activated charcoal powder or six activated charcoal capsules
Two tablespoons of baking soda
One cup of organic coconut oil
Five drops of rosemary essential oil
Five drops of lavender essential oil

If you are using charcoal capsule, first carefully break the capsule and empty the powder in a bowl. Add baking soda and coconut oil and mix them well with the charcoal powder. Add the essential oils and combine them with the mixture. Transfer the mixture to a container. Moisten your face with a warm wet washcloth. Take a small amount of the cleansing mixture and massage it on the skin. Remove the cleanser by wiping your face with a wet washcloth. If desired, apply a toner and moisturizer. This facial cleanser contains coconut oil, which keeps the skin hydrated. It also helps in removing makeup. [11]

4. Activated Charcoal, Aloe Vera, Witch Hazel And Tea Tree Oil

One part of activated charcoal powder
One part of aloe vera gel
One part of witch hazel
Three drops of tea tree oil

In a bowl, put equal amounts of activated charcoal powder, aloe vera gel and witch hazel and mix them well. Before using the cleanser, stir the mixture well. Take about a quarter of the mixture and rub it between your fingers. On wet face gently massage the cleanser focusing on the areas prone to acne and blackheads. Massage gently for about a minute and then rinse. With a towel pat you face dry and apply moisturizer as you do normally. [12]

5. Activated Charcoal, Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter And Essential Oils

Three teaspoons of activated charcoal powder
One tablespoon of shea butter
Two tablespoons of cocoa butter
Two tablespoons of glycerin
Three teaspoons of bentonite clay
Two cups of unscented liquid castile soap
Six drops of peppermint essential oil
Twelve drops of tea tree oil
Twenty drops of lavender essential oil
Twenty drops of rosemary essential oil
Ten drops of vitamin E oil (optional)

Place a mason jar in a pan filled with water. Simmer the water on medium heat. Put the cocoa butter and shea butter in the jar. After the butters melt and mix with each other, remove the jar from the pan. Add glycerin and vitamin E oil and blend them with the butter mixture. Add activated charcoal powder and bentonite clay. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon. Next, add the castile soap and the essential oils and mix them well. Shake the jar well before using the cleanser. Massage the cleanser on your face and neck. Rinse with warm water. For better result use this cleanser twice a day, in the morning and night. [13]

6. Activated Charcoal, Honey, Aloe Vera And Tea Tree Oil

Half a cup of organic honey
Half a cup of aloe vera gel
Two tablespoons of safflower oil
Two tablespoons of activated charcoal powder
Thirty drops of tea tree essential oil

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix them well. Store the mixture in a sealed jar. It can last for several months when stored at room temperature away from direct sunlight. However, if you are using fresh aloe vera, refrigerate it. Shake the jar well before using the cleanser. Massage a small amount of the cleanser on your face. For better result leave it on for two to three minutes, and then remove it with a damp wipe. [14]

Activated charcoal is sold as capsules or in the form of powder. They are readily available in the drugstores. You may even find them in the health care section of the grocery stores. [15] Though it is easier to use powdered activated charcoal for the face wash recipes, the capsules can also be used. Simply break the capsules and add the powdered charcoal to your skin care cleanser. Though activated charcoal is known for its high adsorbent capacity, the actual ability of a charcoal to adsorb toxins depends upon the source of the carbon material. Coconut shell, bamboo, groundnut shell and rice husk are some of the common sources of activated carbon.

Studies have shown that the adsorbent capacity of activated charcoal obtained from coconut shell is higher than that of carbon prepared from bamboo. However, straw and rice husk carbons are the best adsorbents. [16] Activated charcoal based skin care products are prepared with food-grade charcoal. It is in the FDA Class I list of safe and effective substance for acute poisoning. It can be used both internally and topically. It not only works as a toxin adsorbent. It is also known to adsorb bacteria, fungi, viruses, parasites, thereby inactivating the harmful pathogens. [17] Studies have shown that activated charcoal is safe for the skin. No adverse effect of topical use of activated charcoal has been reported following application of charcoal powder to the healthy skin of animals. [18]

Given the multiple benefits of activated charcoal there should not be any reason for staying away from this amazing cleansing ingredient. The effectiveness of an ordinary cleansing product increases significantly when activated charcoal powder is added to it. It is not without any reason that some of the best known cosmetic manufacturers have incorporated it in their cleansing formulations.