Activated charcoal is an incredibly popular cosmetic ingredient that’s been around for hundreds of years. More recently, it’s made a resurgence in popular skincare and health products. There are real benefits of charcoal soap that make it worth using. Some claim it to be a miracle product that draws out toxins and acts as a magnet toward germs and bacteria, which is why it is frequently available in the form of soap. But are these claims valid? And if not, what is the truth about the latest health and beauty trend, activated charcoal?
Well, keep reading if you want to learn all about activated charcoal, how it can be beneficial as soap, and if it really is “all that.”
What is Activated Charcoal?
So, you probably want to know what activated charcoal is, right?
For starters, charcoal is the fine black powdery residue that comes from burnt wood or other similar burnt materials. However, activated charcoal is different from regular charcoal. Activated charcoal is made by burning high-carbon materials such as peat or wood at extremely high temperatures. By heating at such high temperatures, the charcoal (which naturally binds to all sorts of molecules and ions) is stripped of the original attaching molecules. It also adds more holes to each charcoal molecule and shrinks its pores, adding extra surface area.
How Does Activated Charcoal Work?
Now that you know what activated charcoal is, you may wonder how it functions. Well, we now know that charcoal binds to all sorts of tiny molecules, but did you know that the human body cannot absorb charcoal?
Due to this fact, in emergencies, doctors use activated charcoal on overdosed or poisoned patients. By putting activated charcoal in the patient’s stomach, it binds to all of the toxins in it via adsorption, not allowing the body to absorb the toxins.
What Is Adsorption?
You probably think that this is a type-o, and I meant to write “absorption,” right? Well, you would be wrong!
Adsorption is how charcoal holds onto molecules. Adsorption is when the molecules dissolve and become a part of the absorbing material. In contrast, absorption merely holds onto the molecules, but keeps them separate.
What Are the Benefits of Charcoal Soap?
Now that you understand the basics of activated charcoal and its functions, let’s look into the benefits of activated charcoal soap for people.
One of our favorite activated charcoal soap benefits is that it has antibacterial properties. Due to its ability to bind to different particles, charcoal also adsorbs (there’s that word again) germs and bacteria! Studies have found that charcoal works very effectively to combat bacteria and germs when used in skincare, especially soap.
Activated charcoal is fantastic because of what it can do, and because of what it doesn’t do. There are no known adverse effects of using activated charcoal in any of its many forms, soap included. This is most likely due to the human body’s inability to absorb charcoal, so it can’t harm us in any of the ways that other natural and human-made materials can.
Another activated charcoal skin benefit is how it softly exfoliates the skin without over-doing it. Due to it being such a fine powder, charcoal is a gentle but effective exfoliator, especially in bar soap.
Activated Charcoal Myths
These days, anytime a new skincare product hits the market, it becomes a fad, and a lot of companies will stretch the truth or downright lie to market their new products. Activated charcoal is no exception. Companies have marketed the heck out of it to sell their activated charcoal skincare products. You may hear that it works like a magnet and that it attracts germs and oily particles, or perhaps that it is perfect to detox your body. This claim, however, is not accurate. Because the charcoal binds to good and bad particles, you don’t get to pick and choose which good or bad bacteria gets to stay or go.
Now, when it comes to activated charcoal soaps, the goal is to remove oil and bacteria from the skin. Therefore, you’re completely safe using charcoal soaps; they won’t hurt you. Just keep in mind that charcoal does not attract germs and bacteria. However, it functions as well as other soaps, but not necessarily better, according to research.
The Big Picture
There are some excellent benefits of activated charcoal in soap, and we love that you can’t harm your body with charcoal. However, it is not proven to be better or more effective than other soap key ingredients. You have our full permission to go forth and use whatever charcoal soaps you want to. Just don’t expect miraculous changes in your skin! So, go, enjoy some charcoal soap, but don’t let the ever-changing health and beauty fads lead you to believe that activated charcoal is the holy grail.