Activated charcoal has been gaining exposure as an ingredient to detoxify or deep clean the skin. It can be found in face masks, drying lotions and even spa treatments. Now, charcoal soaps have begun popping up as another way to detox or purify skin on a regular basis. But does it actually work?
Heathline notes that the charcoal found in skin care is activated charcoal, which is made by processing a material that’s high in carbon at very high temperatures and then activating it with steam or hot air, not regular charcoal that is toxic to humans.
Charcoal has been around for a while, but a recent study shows that there may not be enough evidence to support the claims that it can benefit the skin.
The study found in Clinics in Dermatology, states, "...companies claim that charcoal-containing products can treat acne, dandruff, and others; however, clinical evidence does not support these claims. Patients should be counseled that the use of activated charcoal is generally safe but advised that there is a lack of evidence to support its exfoliant or anti-aging abilities."
Healthline summarized by saying, "In theory, activated charcoal could bind to and suck out oils and pollutants from your pores. But in practice, it may not be true. Studies find it takes a few hours of contact with a substance for activated charcoal to fully work its magic."