The open se­cret of char­coal’s beauty ben­e­fits

Northern Living - - CONTENTS - TEXT OLIVIA ESTRADA IL­LUS­TRA­TION REESE LANSANGAN

The ob­ses­sion with achiev­ing beauty and per­fec­tion can seem ridicu­lous at times. Take, for ex­am­ple, the way char­coal be­came the it in­gre­di­ent in skin­care prod­ucts a few years ago and still per­sists as a soughtafter com­po­nent in any­thing, from sham­poos to fa­cial masks. Un­til now, women fa­nat­i­cally seek out this black sub­stance that is usu­ally ne­glected af­ter bar­be­cues. Car­bon” and ac­ti­vated char­coal” ap­pear on dif­fer­ent skin­care la­bels as ma­jor com­pa­nies cre­ate new ranges of prod­ucts ded­i­cated to the in­gre­di­ent.

But the ques­tion re­mains: Is char­coal worth the hype? Sci­ence and his­tor­i­cal ac­counts ver­ify that it is. Long be­fore masks turned black and nose strips started smelling like burnt wood, char­coal was a noted med­i­cal cure for poi­son in­take and drug over­dose. It’s also been used in clean­ing agents and odor-elim­i­nat­ing pack­ets. That’s why your grand­mother kept that plas­tic bowl of black bits at the back of the fridge.

The power of char­coal is rooted in some­thing very sim­ple. When wood is burned to be­come char­coal, it trans­forms into one of the most ba­sic sub­stances in the world: car­bon. An el­e­ment found in all or­ganic com­pounds, car­bon at­tracts and binds with tox­ins and other for­eign bod­ies in its en­vi­ron­ment as it elim­i­nates them. Trans­lated to skin­care, it’s a mir­a­cle for­mula. From black­heads to var­i­ous im­pu­ri­ties, char­coal will ab­sorb any sub­stance that is not or­ganic on the area where it is ap­plied. Char­coal clears up the skin and thus helps it ab­sorb mois­tur­iz­ers and other skin-aid­ing sub­stances. It’s ad­vised that you should fol­low up your char­coal cleanser with a vi­ta­min-packed toner or a cream with a rich blend of an­tiox­i­dants and vi­ta­mins.

Un­til der­ma­tol­o­gists and sci­en­tists come up with an­other mir­a­cle in­gre­di­ent for our skin­care prod­ucts, ex­pect the mar­ket to be in the black.

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