Not all charcoal is created equal. Made from coconut shells or bamboo, activated charcoal is a fine, black powder that is odorless and tasteless. Quite different from ashes from burnt wood or the charcoal in a barbecue grill, charcoal becomes “activated” when high temperatures combine with a gas to expand its surface area, creating tiny pores that trap toxins and chemicals.
Activated charcoal has been used for centuries to speed healing from cuts and insect bites, and as an antidote for poisoning, which is probably one of its better-known uses. The first recorded use was in the 1500s by Egyptians. It was also used by Native Americans. Today, you’ll find activated charcoal in face washes, scrubs, masks, moisturizers, soaps, and shampoos.
The antibacterial properties of activated charcoal help reduce acne and improve overall skin health. Depending on your skin’s amount of oil, dryness, or sensitivity, you can use exfoliating products sparingly one to three times a week. Do not use daily as they can soak up too much of your skin’s natural oils. And be sure to moisturize when using activated charcoal masks or cleansers.
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