Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Charcoal straight up

 Anis Ramli | September 3, 2013
And you thought it’s only for barbeques!
Once the domain of filters and air purifiers, charcoal has become an essential ingredient in beauty products quite a lot these days. If you think it’s weird, let us give you a brief history of it. Activated charcoal has long been used in ERs and hospitals to treat poisoning. You may have also heard of activated charcoal being used traditionally to treat stomach upsets and intestinal gas.
A charcoal is ‘activated’ through heating it in high temperatures. This allows for a larger surface area – the honeycombed structure – that then attracts gas, toxins and whatever else it comes in contact with. Translate that use to beauty and you get a wonderful product that pulls dirt and oil from your pores effectively.
Just because charcoal is trending right now does not mean all products work the same. For charcoal products to produce results, it needs to attach itself to the skin so that dirt and grime actually stick to it. This won’t work if you’re using charcoal cleansers. Because it gets cleansed almost immediately, the carbon will not have time to get to work effectively.
Masks are great to savour charcoal’s effectiveness as they come in physical contact with the skin long enough to bear results.  Freeman Facial Polishing Mask makes use of charcoal and black sugar that does double duty. It exfoliates skin as well as draws impurities out when the product is left to dry. Another to try is Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask that has won rave reviews among those with combination skin, particularly those prone to blackheads.
Similarly, bamboo charcoal products work in the same manner. They are made by burning bamboo pieces at high temperatures and prized for thier ability to absorb odour and reduce skin’s acidity. In shampoos, bamboo charcoal is great to cleanse hair and scalp of dirt and pollution. It also improves blood circulation for a healthier scalp.

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