Beauty How charcoal became a surprise skincare star.
Charcoal stars in the latest collection of skin saviours
Think clean skin, and you don’t necessarily think of charcoal – but that’s about to change. “Charcoal has unique absorbent properties, and whether it’s black or white, each has a porous, extremely absorbent surface that attracts certain substances, including our skin’s oil, like a magnet,” explains Paula Begoun, founder of skincare brand Paula’s Choice.
Charcoal not only soaks up skin’s oil and surface debris, it also traps them. The upshot: when you rinse off any charcoal product using water, everything you don’t want lingering won’t. So you avoid re-depositing the bad stuff on your skin and instead wash it down the drain, says Begoun. As for products claiming to contain “activated charcoal”, Begoun clarifies the label: “In skincare, all charcoal is ‘activated’ – activating charcoal simply refers to the process of turning the element carbon into charcoal.”
Their ability to cleanse skin both gently and deeply makes charcoal skin products beneficial for excessively oily or congested skin, a shine-prone T-zone and enlarged pores. Begoun recommends products that combine charcoal with hydrating and smoothing ingredients; this will help skin achieve balance, without leaving it feeling dry and tight.