The Black Magic

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The latest skin trend is the black face mask trending everywhere. Diva Talk Research team brings to you a know it all on the Black Magic portion, The Activated Charcoal.

Have your Instagram and Pinterest feeds been flooded with pictures of women donning black peel-off masks or drinking pitch-black detox drinks? Well, it’s not the Goth era taking over, but a gritty black ingredient taking the beauty world by storm – activated charcoal.

Activated charcoal is an inexpensive beauty miracle that can easily reverse skin damage to give your skin a healthy and natural glow. Also, it can be taken internally to detox your body, improve digestion, and more. Before we dive into the many beauty benefits of activated charcoal, let’s understand what it really is and how it works.

Though you may not immediately associate charcoal with healthy skin or skin-care products, activated charcoal boasts beauty benefits for skin by drawing oil, dirt and other harmful substances from clogged pores due to its adsorption powers. Since it is not absorbed by the skin, activated charcoal’s highly absorbent pores can deep clean the skin, drawing dirt, sebum, and bacteria out of the pores. It is this quality that makes activated charcoal a prominent ingredient in detoxifying face masks and other beauty remedies.

What is activated charcoal?

Charcoal is made from coal, wood, or other substances. It becomes “activated charcoal” when high temperatures are combined with an activating agent to expand its surface area. As it burns hotter, charcoal is considered superior to wood, and so, historically, it became the fuel utilized to smelt ores, with its earliest recorded use dating all the way back to 3750 BC.

Although it sounds like something you’d use to fire up the barbecue, activated charcoal is the latest ‘detox’ trend. It’s typically made from carbon-containing material, like wood, that is heated at high temperatures to create charcoal, then oxidised – a process known as “activation”.

Activated charcoal has lots of small holes in its surface, increasing its surface area and making it more porous. It’s this sponge-like property that allows activated charcoal to soak up a variety of chemicals and it’s why you may see it used in filtration products, including water filters. A relatively unknown (although certainly growing in popularity) substance, activated charcoal is a natural living lovers dream. With health and beauty benefits, as well as a number of uses in the home, it’s something that every family should have.

What Does Charcoal Do for Skin?

Activated charcoal draws bacteria, poisons, chemicals, dirt and other micro-particles to the surface of skin, helping you to achieve a flawless complexion and fight acne. Charcoal is not metabolized, or absorbed by the body, but it can be used to treat some poisonous bites and disinfect some wounds. Activated charcoal powder is proven to absorb thousands of times its own mass in harmful substances, which makes it a popular ingredient in facial masks.

Charcoal in Skin Care

Make pores smaller and cleaner

Throughout the day, toxins from the world around us clog our pores. When the pores are not clear, neither is the complexion. Activated charcoal, when used in a face mask, binds to and helps pull the dirt out of the pores, making them less visible because it’s the oil and dirt that makes them appear bigger. This leaves the face feeling fresh. We suggest to use it with an exfoliating scrub to get the dead skin off and experience an even deeper clean.

Take care of oily skin

For oily skin, activated charcoal may be just the ingredient you need to balance things out. Used in a cleanser or mask, activated charcoal can pull the unwanted excess oils from the skin, leaving it smooth. We suggest doing this sparingly, once or twice per week at the most, So that you don’t over-dry the skin. If you already have a client with dry skin, best to steer clear of it for this use, as you don’t want to dry it out even more.

Treat acne

Depending on the specifics of your client’s acne, how severe it is, what’s causing it, activated charcoal may be able to help. In soap form, it’s slightly gritty, which might provide just the gentle exfoliating the skin needs. It will also absorb oils and toxins on and below the skin. You can use it as a spot treatment if you don’t want to use it on the whole face, just think of it as a mini mask for the blemishes.

Deep clean your skin

Send all the chemical-ridden deep-cleaners on a little vacation. You can find cleansers that contain activated charcoal in bars or bottles. It ’s important that you suggest your client’s not to use these daily, as you don’t want to soak up the healthy oils and moisture your client’s skin needs. It is suggested to check out the other ingredients if your clients are buying a liquid cleanser over the counter, some are designed to neutralize the acidity in the skin, others have deodorizing properties, some can even double as shaving cream. Buy the product that best suits the personal combination of needs and follow the directions on the bottle.

Soothe and heal bites, cuts and skin irritations

Whether you were stung by a bee or had a cut from the kitchen that’s wound up infected, activated charcoal can help speed the healing and relieve the symptoms. For minor skin ailments, including insect bites, stings, cuts, scrapes and minor infections, activated charcoal can be applied topically. The activated charcoal, when applied as a paste, helps absorb venom and infection. It will also bring down swelling and lessen pain. To make the paste: slowly add water to a bit of activated charcoal powder and mix until it is a spreadable consistency.

Rid your hair of toxins

Activated charcoal, when used on hair, can pull out oil, dirt and toxins, just like it does for the skin. You can find regular and dry shampoos that contain activated charcoal. However, try a test patch before using it on the entire hair at once. If you want to try activated charcoal on the hair, but aren’t sure you want to buy a bottle of a pre-made product just yet, you can make your own as you go. Just empty a capsule, or add a teaspoon of activated charcoal to your regular shampoo and use as you normally would. The only thing you may need to switch up would be adding an extra rinse to the routine to get the colour fully out. The advantage to buying activated charcoal in powder or tablets is that it’s multi-purpose.

Add volume to hair

When the hair feels weighted down it’s usually not only a feeling. If your client is carrying around enough dirt, the hair will start to sag and regular shampooing may not be getting it all out. Regular shampoos remove surface dirt, but activated charcoal will pull out even more. The other difference, and this is big, is that activated charcoal isn’t going to leave the residue regular shampoos will, so your client’s hair will feel lighter and have more volume.

Remedy scalp conditions

Dandruff, redness, oily and itchy scalps may be relieved with activated charcoal. You can use it as a scalp treatment before you shampoo or can be mixed in with the shampoo. The activated charcoal will work on the scalp the way it does on your skin and hair, pulling out toxins and purifying. It’s unclear how deep into the hair follicle is being cleaned, but the results should be noticeable. DT

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