What is activated charcoal, and why is it so effective in skin care?
Because I was a nurse before I made beauty therapy my career, I instantly recognised the skin benefits of activated charcoal when it emerged on the skin care market. It’s often used in emergency trauma centres all over the world as it’s a powerful natural treatment with the ability to trap toxins and chemicals in the body, allowing them to be flushed out so the body does not reabsorb them.
Charcoal has been used for medical purposes for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptian papers trace it all the way back to 1500BC when it was used for the adsorption of odour from rotting wounds. Hindu documents record the use of charcoal and sand filters for the purification of drinking water from 450 BC. Hippocrates and Pliny both describe the use of charcoal to treat epilepsy, cholorosis, and anthrax.
This powerful detoxifying ingredient is much more than it seems. Unlike the charcoal typically found in a barbecue, activated charcoal is a carbonised, mineral-rich material that can adsorb more than one thousand times its weight in positively-charged compounds.
Yes, you read that right: ADsorb! Unlike absorption, which is the entering of one substance by another, adsorption occurs when one substance adheres to the surface of another (think magnets). Charcoal is negatively-charged, so it attracts positively-charged compounds — such as deep-dwelling dirt and oil in the skin — to the surface.
Activated charcoal, also called activated carbon, comes in many forms specific to different uses. Dermalogica uses activated binchotan charcoal, a special high-quality charcoal made from Japanese ubame oak wood. This type of charcoal is “activated” by an age-old process of extreme heating and rapid cooling, which yields millions of microscopic pores that are ideal for adsorbing impurities from the skin.
In hospital emergency rooms, food-grade activated charcoal is used to adsorb poisons from the body. Activated charcoal is also used in regular household appliances, such as water filters, to remove or reduce chlorine, sediment, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), taste and odour from tap water.
In Dermalogica’s Charcoal Rescue Masque, activated binchotan charcoal is used to draw out excess oil and impurities from your pores, leaving you with brighter, purer skin. Charcoal Rescue Masque also contains a variety of other ingredients such as volcanic and hot spring ash, sea silt, bamboo stem extract, sulfur and Chilean wild mint to provide additional skin health benefits.
We encourage you to experience this wonderful product either within a specialised facial treatment or in a tube to take home and apply yourself. Either way the results are phenomenal and you will not be disappointed.