Body care products that contain activated charcoal are increasingly gratifying the heat of the beauty world. Besides being added to facial cleansers and toothpaste, this jet black is also used as the main star on face masks. Charcoal masks or charcoal masks are said to be effective for removing pimples and lifting stubborn blackheads.
But what is activated charcoal, and is charcoal mask really effective for cleansing your face? Or is this just the sweet promise of advertisers? See here to find out more.
What is activated charcoal?
Although the name is charcoal, activated charcoal is not made from coal charcoal which is commonly used in the combustion process. Activated charcoal is carbon produced from old palm shells, bamboo, or wood powder, and has been through an activation process to increase its absorption.
Activated charcoal itself has long been used in the medical world to treat alcohol poisoning and drug overdose. This carbon substance works like a sponge, by binding itself to toxins and absorbing them before they are transported in the bloodstream.
Charcoal is known to absorb impurities up to 100 to 200 times the weight. While through the activation process, activated charcoal is claimed to be able to absorb the mass of dirt up to thousands of times its own weight, so activated charcoal is claimed to be an excellent natural ingredient to help cleanse the facial skin.
How does the charcoal mask work to cleanse the face?
Depending on the type of mask you get, you can apply the cream evenly to the entire face or directly attach the mask sheet to your face, and let it sit for about 10-15 minutes.
The activated charcoal contained in the product will act as a magnet that attracts bacteria, pollution, dust, and other foreign particles from the skin. When dirt and oil in the pores are attracted by carbon, this foreign substance attaches to the mask layer and then goes up as you peel it off.
The claimed charcoal mask is very good for facial acne and blackheads because it can help reduce excess oil. The charcoal mask can help open pores and absorb environmental pollution, oil, and dirt from the skin.
Can charcoal masks eliminate pimples and blackheads?
How well the charcoal mask works to clean facial skin, it seems that no one has been able to explain. Jessica Wu, M.D., a dermatologist in Los Angeles and author of Feed Your Face, reported by Women’s Health Magazine, said that so far there have been no scientific studies on the effects of activated charcoal in skin care products.
A similar matter was expressed by dermatologist Craig Keffert, quoted by the NY Daily News, who doubted the efficacy of a charcoal mask. “The public seems fascinated by the texture and color of activated charcoal which is not commonly used in beauty products. The uniqueness of this product is actually the popularity of the face mask. “To be honest, there is no strong clinical evidence that can prove its effectiveness,” Keffert said.
Wu further explained that the effectiveness of charcoal masks to brighten the skin may be based more on that most skin care products containing activated charcoal also contain other ingredients that have been proven to help oily and acne prone skin, such as salicylic acid. Many charcoal mask products also contain kaolin, a clay substance that has actually been shown to effectively bind sebum (skin oil).
Is charcoal mask safe to use?
The good news is that activated charcoal is a safe substance. This means that in its purest form activated charcoal will not cause allergic reactions or irritation of sensitive skin, so even if your beauty product does not show any significant changes, your skin problems will not worsen. In fact, you might still be able to get the benefits of other ingredients in the product.
But even though sheet masks do not cause many problems, some charcoal mask products in thick cream preparations have a very sticky texture so it is not impossible to pull out the outer layer of skin and fine hair on the face when the “mask” is released. This can cause extreme pain – similar to facial waxing.
Melissa Piliang, a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic, reported by Health, warned that charcoal mask, like other beauty products, can contain chemicals that can cause allergies. So, diligently check the list of product compositions behind the packaging to find out which ones might be risky for you.
How to reduce pain when peeling off a charcoal mask?
There are several ways to make exfoliating a little less painful. You can wash your face first, and/or remove fine hairs on the face. This trick can make peeling mask can be more tolerated, said Debra Jaliman, a dermatologist from New York.
Jaliman also does not recommend you apply a mask cream on the entire face. Apply a cream mask only in the T-zone (forehead, nose, chin) or just in the blackheads. This is because the skin is more oily, like in the middle, the face has better protection from irritation.
After you remove the mask, wash your face with a gentle cleansing soap to remove the remaining mask residue and then apply a non-comedogenic soothing moisturizer to protect the skin.