Friday, 24 July 2015 11:09

Activated Charcoal: Black Beauty

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Asurprising ingredient, activated charcoal, is starting to gain popularity in the skin care industry. Activated charcoal, which is known in the medical community for its powerful binding ability, is most commonly used by physicians during poisonings in order to limit the body’s toxin absorption.

This absorption power is exactly why activated charcoal is becoming a rising star in the skin care world. It is being used in sponges, cleansers, and soaps. Some professionals are using crushed black charcoal as a mask, with claims that it lifts and absorbs toxins from the skin.
As of right now, there is not much evidence to back up this theory. In fact, most dermatologists are pretty skeptical about this latest fad. Dr. Craig Kraffert, board certified dermatologist and president of Amarte, spoke to the New York Daily News and had this to say: “How well does (charcoal) work on the skin? Truthfully, there isn’t sold clinical data one way or the other…the uniqueness of the ingredient itself, especially the color, is likely the main driver behind the recent surge in popularity of activated charcoal facial cleansers and masks.”¹
Charcoal’s reach, however, is not just limited to the skin care trade. Some beauty bloggers have claimed that brushing with charcoal will help to whiten the teeth, though there are no scientific facts to prove that theory. Most recently, Juice Generation created a cold-pressed juice with two teaspoons of charcoal. The idea is that the charcoal will absorb the toxins out of the body and improve organ function. But charcoal’s binding capacity may have some undesirable side effects. Dr. Kent Olson, medical director of the San Francisco Poison Control System and clinical professor of medicine and pharmacy at the University of California, San Francisco told TIME, “The problem with charcoal is that it’s non-specific. It’ll bind to anything if finds absorbable. That could include toxins as well as nutrients.”²

¹ Friedman, M., (2014). Charcoal and its purifying properties are the latest health fad - NY Daily News.
² Oaklander, M., (2015). Charcoal Juice Is Now A Thing.

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