Charcoal History in Skin Care
Charcoal is a valuable addition to our skincare regime. Despite the sooty, dusty image you may have in your head, charcoal can actually leave your skin astonishingly clean both on the surface and deep in your pores. What we are referencing is something called ‘activated charcoal’. This is charcoal that has been steamed and crushed. This process allows the charcoal to absorb a greater number of bacteria and toxins due to its larger surface area.
This property of charcoal – its ability to extract bacteria out of things, is why we use it so widely in skin care now. For example, our Blackhead Extraction Mask uses activated bamboo charcoal to draw out the dirt and bacteria from the pores in the face.
So where did the use of charcoal start?
The use of charcoal for the body dates back as far as 1500 BC when Egyptians used charcoal to preserve the bodies of their dead. Carrying on throughout history charcoal was first used in a medical capacity around 400 B.C. to treat what we would now call vertigo, epilepsy and anaemia. Further on to that, it was used for wounds and burns and surgical procedures when there was bad bacteria or toxins in the body as it was recognized that charcoal would draw out the bad disease leaving only clean flesh behind.
The development of activated charcoal happened sometime between 1870 and 1920 and after its establishment it was used widely in all hospitals and clinics for many purposes. Still today charcoal is used by all healthcare providers to absorb impurities, infections and toxins from the body.
It was after witnessing what the medical field could do with the material that the beauty and skin care industry learned about activated charcoal and its properties and decided to implement their new knowledge into their products. It was found out that the activated charcoal has the capacity to extract dirt and grime from the pores of the skin without being absorbed into the skin itself. It acts like a magnet to toxins and chemicals pulling them out and making them cling to the charcoal particles.
The most commonly used and most effective charcoal is that of Bamboo charcoal. It was first used in China during the Ming Dynasty and has since been discovered to be most absorptive – 2 or 3 times as effective as other wood charcoals, due to its unique microstructure.
Should I use charcoal products?
Activated charcoal is found in the majority of skincare suction face masks products at the moment and is readily available to anyone. When using products with charcoal contained it is just important to make sure you are still using products that best suit your skin type. Charcoal containing products are best suited for those with blackheads, oily and congested skin pores.