Ever heard of activated carbon, also known as activated charcoal? If not, you might’ve seen the newest crop of beauty products that claim to harness the power of this element on store shelves. They’re easy to pick out from the pack: Instead of the many pastel-hued cleansers, soaps and gels, these products are as black as your favorite pair of skinny jeans. And they’re sweeping the beauty It-trend market by storm. From face masks to body washes, companies are betting you’re going to love the purifying power of this specially treated carbon they call “activated.”
By exposing carbon (charcoal) to certain chemicals and high temperatures, the element becomes more porous. Its surface opens up like a honeycomb, creating pockets that draw out impurities like magic. In fact, carbon draws out impurities no matter what, but “activating” it and creating bigger pores on its surface helps it draw out even more than it would otherwise. It also happens to be antibacterial, which means when applied to your skin, it’s like a vacuum for the stuff that clogs pores.
Not only is activated carbon in almost every water filter on the market, whether it’s for drinking or for your fish tank, it’s also been used for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians used it to clean wounds and ancient Hindus also used it for water filtration. Though, they probably used regular carbon that wasn’t activated.
Be aware, we’re not talking about the charcoal you buy in summertime to light the grill, this is a different, completely safe, form that’s being put into new skincare products, coloring them black and receiving rave reviews by beauty bloggers. So, where can you get them? Check out the products listed below to find out!