ace masks are an important component of skin care. From the ubiquitous pantry items to bizarre exotic substances, a variety of ingredients are used for preparing facial masks. One natural substance that is known to work wonders for the skin when used as face mask is charcoal. However, this is not the same charcoal that you use for preparing barbecues. This specific type of charcoal that is used for skin care is known as activated charcoal. Activated charcoal is usually manufactured by heating ground charcoal at about 800 degrees Celsius temperature using superheated steam. Steam is introduced to stop charcoal from coming in contact with oxygen during the heating process. Charcoal that is conventionally used as fuel contains tarry substances.

The activation process helps in removing the tar that clogs the pores. Removing the tar from the coal dramatically increases its pore surface area, and significantly increases the adsorption capacity of charcoal. [1] Carbonaceous organic matter such as wood and peat are traditionally used for manufacturing activated charcoal. Coconut shells are widely used as the carbon source. It is estimated that the internal surface area of one gram of activated charcoal is approximately 800 square meters. Because of its high adsorption capacity, activated charcoal is considered an excellent detoxification agent. It is regarded as a universal antidote for poisoning. It helps in removing fair amount of toxic substances and is considered safe for internal use. [2]

In addition to internal use, activated charcoal is used topically. It is known to remove body odor and is considered as an effective remedy for acne. It is known to alleviate discomfort associated with insect bites, bee stings and poison oak and poison ivy. Applying a paste of activated charcoal and coconut oil to the area of bee sting or mosquito bite every 30 minutes is known to relieve the itching. When used topically, activated charcoal binds with the dirt and environmental toxins, thereby removing them from the skin and reducing skin problems such as acne. [3]

Medicinal grade activated charcoal available in the form of powder, capsules and tablets are suitable for internal and topical use. It adsorbs toxins, bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites. As it is capable of neutralizing a number of botanical plant poisons, it is used topically for relieving reactions triggered by stinging nettle, poison ivy, poison sumac and other poisonous plants. When these plants are ingested, activated charcoal can be taken internally to neutralize the poisons. Pure charcoal powder can be applied to wounds. It helps in healing abrasions, lacerations, skin ulcers and decubitus ulcers, also known as pressure ulcers or bed sores. [4]

Uses Of Charcoal Face Mask

Face masks that combine activated charcoal with a number of skin friendly ingredients help in improving the optimal health of the skin. The powerful cleansing effect of charcoal combines with the moisturizing and nourishing effects of other skin care ingredients, thereby providing relief from a number of skin problems.

1. Purifies Skin

Activated charcoal is regarded as one of the best natural skin cleansers. The highly porous surface of activated charcoal draws out the impurities from the skin. A purifying activated charcoal based face mask, by drawing out toxins and impurities, helps in diminishing skin problems. For more powerful purifying effect, activated charcoal is combined with bentonite clay in face masks. Bentonite clay helps in absorbing toxins and excess oil from the skin.

DIY Face Mask Recipe Of Activated Charcoal With Bentonite Clay And Coconut Oil

Face mask recipe to purify your skin using activated charcoal with bentonite clay and coconut oil
Two activated charcoal capsules
Half a teaspoon of bentonite clay
One teaspoon of coconut oil
One teaspoon of water

In a small non-metallic bowl, add the bentonite clay. Break the activated charcoal capsules and empty the powder into the bowl. Thoroughly combine the clay and the charcoal powder. Use a non-metallic item such as a plastic spoon to mix the ingredients. Add coconut oil and water and make a smooth paste. For about 20 to 30 minutes cover your face with a warm damp washcloth. This helps in opening the skin pores, which eases removal of the toxins present in the pores. Use your fingertips to spread the charcoal and clay paste on your face and neck. Allow the mask to dry. It may take about twenty minutes for the mask to dry. With a damp cloth wipe the mask. If needed wash your face with a cleanser. [5]

2. Cleanses Pores

A charcoal based face mask helps in cleansing the skin pores. Your skin breaks out when the pores are congested. Charcoal deep cleans the pores, thereby reducing acne and blackheads.

DIY Face Mask Recipe Of Activated Charcoal With Water And Tea Tree Oil

Activated charcoal face mask recipe for cleansing the skin pores
Five to six activated charcoal capsules or two teaspoons of activated charcoal powder
Two teaspoons of distilled water
Two to three drops of tea tree oil

Add the activated charcoal powder and water in a bowl. Mix well to make a smooth paste. Add the tea tree oil and mix well. After cleansing your face, spread the charcoal paste on face and neck. Do not apply the paste around the eyes and mouth as the skin in these areas is delicate. Rinse after ten minutes with warm water. Thoroughly wash your face so that traces of charcoal residues are not left behind in the pores. [6]

3. Helps Remove Blackheads

The deep pore cleansing effect of the charcoal face mask can even help in removing blackheads, including the stubborn blackheads, when used after applying steam to the facial skin.

DIY Face Mask Recipe Of Activated Charcoal With Rosewater And Clay

Remove blackheads using this activated charcoal face mask recipe
One-eighth of a teaspoon of activated charcoal
One tablespoon of natural bentonite clay
One and a half teaspoons of rosewater

Add all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix them well until you get a smooth paste. If the paste is too thick, add more rosewater until the mixture is just right for use. Before applying the mask, wet a clean washcloth with hot water. When the hot wet cloth reaches a comfortable temperature, place it over your face. If desired, reapply the hot wet cloth. The steam helps in opening the pores. As the steam in a hot shower also helps in opening the skin pores, you can apply the face mask immediately after a hot shower. Apply the mask on face and neck. The mask should be about ¼-inch thick. Leave it for 10 to 20 minutes or until it dries. Rinse with warm water. Pat your skin dry and apply your regular moisturizer. [7]

4. Reduces Excess Oil

A face mask that combines activated charcoal with baking soda, apart from removing the excess oil from the face, when used frequently, helps in reducing excessive oil production. Hence, people with oily skin may find this face mask an effective solution for reducing greasiness of the skin. Moreover, by drawing out dirt, toxins, irritants and grime from the skin, this face mask helps in improving the health of your skin.

DIY Face Mask Recipe Of Activated Charcoal With Baking Soda, Aloe Vera And Lemon Juice

Easy do it yourself face mask recipe of activated charcoal to remove the excess oil from the face
One tablespoon of activated charcoal powder
One-fourth of a cup of baking soda
One-fourth of a cup of aloe vera gel
One tablespoon of lemon Juice

Put all the ingredients in a small dish and thoroughly mix them. Spread the paste on your face with your fingertips, massaging the skin in gentle circular motion. Leave the mask on the face for about 10 to 15 minutes and then wash with warm water. Incorporate this face mask into your nighttime skin care regimen. Frequent nighttime application of this face mask helps in reducing excessive oiliness of the skin. Continue applying the face mask every night until your skin stops secreting excess oil. [8]

5. Fights Acne And Acne Spots

The cleansing effect of activated charcoal helps in fighting acne breakouts. It is believed to alleviate the painful cystic acne. Normal to oily skin that is susceptible to acne breakouts will find the activated charcoal based face mask an effective remedy for acne.

DIY Face Mask Recipe of Activated Charcoal With Aloe Vera Gel And Tea Tree Essential Oil

Activated charcoal based face mask for fighting acne breakouts
One activated charcoal capsule containing 500 mg activated charcoal powder
One-eighth of a cup of fresh aloe vera gel
Two drops of tea tree essential oil

Break open the activated charcoal capsule and transfer the content in a bowl. Combine the charcoal powder with aloe vera gel. Mash the aloe vera and mix it thoroughly with the charcoal powder. Now add the tea tree oil. Stir the mixture until the ingredients are distributed evenly in the mask. On clean dry skin spread the mask with your fingertips concentrating on the pimples and the skin around the pimple blemishes. Allow the mask to sit on the skin for at least 20 minutes. Wipe off the mask with a warm damp washcloth.  Avoid the face mask if your skin is too dry. [9]

6. Good For Normal, Oily And Combination Skin

Activated charcoal face mask is ideal for normal, oily and combination skin. It is good for the skin prone to blemishes. The powerful cleansing effect of the face mask purifies the skin, leaving it healthy and radiant.

DIY Face Mask Recipes For Normal, Oily And Combination Skin

The following are the DIY face mask recipes of activated charcoal for normal, oily and combination skin

1. Activated Charcoal with Green Tea, Aloe, Witch Hazel And Essential Oils Face Mask

Half a teaspoon of activated charcoal
One tablespoon of French green clay
Half a teaspoon of green tea powder
One tablespoon of aloe vera gel
Two teaspoons of witch hazel extract
One teaspoon of vegetable glycerin
Five drops of rosewood essential oil
Eight drops of cypress essential oil
Ten drops of eucalyptus essential oil

Blend all the ingredients. If the paste seems too thick, add more witch hazel extract, one-fourth of a teaspoon each time until the paste reaches the right consistency. Refrigerate the mixture. It can be stored for up to five days. Take half of the mixture and spread it on clean face, avoiding the eye region. Allow it to sit on the skin for 15 to 20 minutes. Wash off the mask with warm water. [10]

2. Activated Charcoal And Turmeric Mask

One teaspoon of activated charcoal powder
One teaspoon of turmeric
Two tablespoons of aloe vera gel
Two tablespoons of coconut oil

Add the turmeric, aloe vera and coconut oil in a bowl and blend the ingredients. Slowly add the charcoal powder. With the addition of charcoal the paste will become thick. Apply the mask to the face. Leave it on for ten minutes and then rinse. You can apply this face mask daily. In addition to activated charcoal, this face mask contains turmeric, which is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. The combined effect of the ingredients in the face mask helps in repairing the skin. The face mask protects the skin and keeps it moisturized for a longer time. [11]

3. Activated Charcoal And Honey Mask

One teaspoon of activated charcoal powder
One teaspoon of bentonite clay
Half a teaspoon of raw honey
Two teaspoons of water
One drop of lavender essential oil (optional)
One drop of tea tree essential oil (optional)

Combine the water and essential oils in a small bowl. On top of the water and essential oils mixture, sprinkle the clay and leave the mixture undisturbed for about 10 seconds. Now add the remaining ingredients and blend them thoroughly. Make sure that there are no lumps in the mixture. Coat your face with a generous amount of the face mask. Leave it for about ten minutes. Wash your face with warm water and soap. [12]

You can easily find activated charcoal in the drugstores. In the grocery store, search for powdered charcoal or charcoal capsules in the health care section. Because of its amazing ability to draw out toxins and impurities from the skin, activated charcoal has been incorporated in the facial masks sold by many cosmetic firms. [13] The activated charcoal that is safe for internal use or the medicinal grade activated charcoal is suitable for topical application. Powdered charcoal is considered safe for the health and skin.

Studies with activated charcoal had revealed that toxicity did not occur following exposure to activated charcoal powder. In animal studies, researchers found that applying powdered charcoal to the skin of healthy animals did not cause any adverse reaction. Furthermore, harmful effects were not reported by ingesting or inhaling activated charcoal. [14] Therefore, you can include activated charcoal in your face mask recipe without worrying about any adverse side effect.

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