Activated charcoal – is it really all that?

activated-charcoal-detoxActivated charcoal products seem to be everywhere these days – we’ve all seen the videos of people using the infamous ‘black masks’ – but it’s also in face washes, scrubs, toothpaste, mouthwashes…the list goes on and on. But is it really all it’s hyped up to be? I’m not so sure..

The term ‘activated charcoal’ just means charcoal that has been heated or otherwise treated to increase it’s absorptive power. While it was originally used as a form of treatment for poisoning (due to its absorptive power), it is now making it’s way into our beauty regimes. Because of it’s power of removing toxins, it is supposedly a great way of treating acne and other skin impurities.

I’ve used a number of different products all boasting the ‘activated charcoal’ ingredient – I’ve been using the Beverly Hills Perfect White BLACK toothpaste and mouthwash which, while I think they’re good, don’t seem to be any better than regular toothpastes. The most noticeable difference is the colour – while most toothpastes are white or green, minty colours, this toothpaste and mouthwash is black which is a bit weird at first! Apart from that though, I really don’t see the whole hype around ‘activated charcoal’ in toothpaste. It is known for whitening teeth, but it can also cause weakening of the tooth enamel so if you are using it, you should be careful if you notice any sensitivity.


I’ve also used the Shills Black Mask which contains activated carbon. This mask is all over the internet at the minute, with all sorts of videos with people crying because it’s so painful etc etc…I can tell you now that it isn’t that painful, but it’s also just not that effective. I am lucky in that I don’t suffer from bad skin, but I didn’t find this mask to be in any way better than any other mask I’ve ever done. If anything, my skin was red and a bit inflamed after the last time I used it…it did feel softer and it felt clean but again, no more so than if I had used any other normal face mask.

(That’s me, lookin so fly…)


The last activated charcoal product I have tried is an activated charcoal facial wash and scrub and like the above products, I didn’t find them to be any more effective due to the inclusion of the activated charcoal…they worked just as well as any other face wash, my skin didn’t feel any cleaner or look any better for it.

So…my I think activated charcoal products are worth all the fuss? Honestly…no. While obviously there are cases out there and the science is behind it to prove that activated charcoal does have good qualities and it does have health benefits, I don’t think it deserves all the hype it’s been getting lately. Will I stop using activated charcoal products? Probably not, they are still good and I can still see a benefit to my skin from using them, but no more so than any normal skin product. So I say…try a few products, see what you think and make up your own mind? I wouldn’t say you should rush out and stock up, but they’re worth a try!




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