Activated charcoal or activated carbon is typically made from natural materials like coconut shells that are heated to very high temperatures to make it charcoal. This charcoal is then powdered and to this, ‘activating chemicals’ like calcium chloride are added to get activated charcoal. Due to the presence of tiny pores, activated charcoal is highly absorptive and is able to attract and trap toxins.

Activated charcoal has been the buzzword in the beauty industry for quite some time now. But it’s still not as popular in India as it is in the west. There are plenty of medical uses of activated charcoal or carbon. It has been used to treat disorders like the treatment of drug overdose or poisoning, bloating, gas, insect bites, rashes and even hangovers. It is also used for water filtration.

In the beauty industry, activated charcoal is used in soaps, toothpaste, face masks, face washes and face scrubs because of its ability to thoroughly deep cleanse. Activated charcoal can cleanse the pores of the skin and clear bacteria, dirt and oil clogging them. Activated charcoal is known to be excellent for clearing acne and blackheads, lightening blemishes, reducing oiliness and also for whitening teeth. You can get activated charcoal in stores in a powdered form. This is how you can use activated charcoal in your beauty regimen for clear, glowing and acne-free skin and bright, clean teeth.

For white teeth: Activated charcoal can not only whiten your teeth but it can also help you get rid of bad breath and prevent cavities. All you need to do is mix a little bit of the powder with your toothpaste and brush like you normally do. You could also put a little activated charcoal in water and rinse your mouth with it. Do this twice a week.

For glowing skin: Mix a bit of the powder with almond oil and massage over your face. Keep it on for about 15 minutes and wash your face with lukewarm water and a mild facial cleanser. Pat dry. Apply this face mask once a week. Both almond oil and activated charcoal will stimulate blood circulation and make your skin clearer and brighter.

For treating acne: Take a teaspoon of aloe vera gel and mix the activated charcoal powder in it. Apply on face till it dries completely. Wash with lukewarm water. Try doing this every week. Activated charcoal can help treat and reduce acne whereas aloe vera will moisturise your skin.

Remember, a little goes a long way.

Even though activated charcoal is quite popular, do not forget to check with your dermatologist and dentist whether it is safe and suitable for your skin and teeth and for a guideline on how to use it.