Clean beauty seekers will often go to great lengths (like smashing applesauce on their faces). Many practices we now think of us eccentric or downright weird, were often commonplace back in the day before beauty counters. One such tool in the beautiful skin arsenal? Activated charcoal.
We’re definitely NOT talking about the briquettes you use to grill up that homegrown eggplant. Often made from coconut, activated charcoal is highly absorbent. It’s actually used in hospitals in emergency poisoning treatments (think of a kid drinking a bottle full of cough syrup). This highly absorbent or adsorbent, substance makes it a most unique and useful tool in achieving beautiful skin.
Using an application of charcoal topically may help to rid the skin of acne, as well as speed the healing of insect bites, stings, or rashes, reports Dr. Josh Axe.
“[A]ctivated charcoal binds with environmental toxins and dirt that contribute to acne,” he notes on his website. By eliminating the toxins and reducing the inflammation, activated charcoal can help to prevent acne lesions from becoming infected. Dr. Axe recommends mixing charcoal with aloe vera gel and spot-treating minor breakouts. Using a charcoal soap may also help in ridding your face of breakouts. You can also add charcoal to your facemasks for an added anti-acne boost. Of course, always speak with your primary care physician first, and use caution on broken skin.
Anyone who has struggled with persistent acne knows it is often connected to other issues in the body: namely hormonal imbalances and food sensitivities. Activated charcoal may help to treat acne from inside the body, too, according to Dr. Axe, who says it may improve your digestive tract by “removing toxins that cause allergic reactions, oxidative damage and poor immune system function.”
Research continues to point to the importance of a healthy microbiome—the balance of good bacteria that populate the digestive tract. The removal of toxins can also contribute to improved overall health, increased energy, and even reduced joint pain.
To start taking activated charcoal internally, first discuss with your primary care physician or a licensed health care practitioner.
Give our activated charcoal sea kelp soap a try to refine your skin.
Looking for home remedies for acne that actually work is almost as harrowing as figuring out how those pimples got on your face in the first place. But it’s not impossible. In fact, taking a DIY approach can be most effective.
The thing about acne is that it tends to be a systemic issue—an imbalance—that didn’t happen overnight, and certainly won’t be gone that quickly either. But it doesn’t have to last forever.
Most of us have suffered from acne at one point or another—whether it was a byproduct of puberty, or hit later in life. And barring severe cystic acne that’s best treated with the help of a dermatologist, most cases of acne can be successfully treated at home.
Home Remedies for Acne
- Adjust your diet: Wondering why diet tops the list? Because it often has a lot to do with the condition of your skin. Too much sugar, dairy, and junk foods can actually be the primary cause of breakouts. Sure, you may treat those pimples and continue to eat trigger foods, but isn’t getting to the root cause the best approach? Dial down the junk and focus on whole foods, fresh fruits and veggies.
- Manage your stress: Teenagers breakout because hormones are going in all directions. And guess what? That’s one of the biggest triggers for adults, too. In particular, stress can overload your adrenal system and lead to hormone imbalances that, yes, wind up on your face. Give meditation or other relaxation techniques a try.
- Exfoliate: Okay, so getting to the nitty-gritty (zitty?) is skin care. Making sure you’re using a gentle exfoliant on the skin can help to remove dead skin cells and unblock pores, preventing or reducing acne. Best to avoid scrubbing exfoliants to keep from damaging sensitive skin. Stick with toners and serums rich in fruit acids.
- Wash properly: We recently discussed the best way to wash your face, and it’s critical for reducing acne. Since every skin type is different, there’s no one skin cleanser that will work for all. So look for cleansers that have acne fighting ingredients such as tea tree oil, salicylic acid, or even low doses of benzoyl peroxide.
- Spot treat: You can whip up an excellent drying spot treatment by mixing a little bit of ground oatmeal with lemon juice or apple cider vinegar and applying to trouble spots. Leave on until it dries and gently wipe off. Some essential oils, like tea tree and lavender, can be helpful in spot treating as well. But be careful not to overdo it as that can cause excess drying and redness.
- Avoid picking, popping, and squeezing: You’ve probably already done it. And you know what? The healing time is about the same on a zit you squeezed versus left alone. The benefits though in not picking or squeezing are reducing the risk of scarring and decreasing the spread of bacteria. Spreading bacteria around exacerbates the vicious cycle of breakouts. Avoid it all costs!
- Use an SPF: Sun exposure may feel like it’s helping to get rid of your acne—and it certainly is good to get sun on your skin. But be careful. Too much sun—especially without a strong SPF—can burn and irritate skin, even further inflaming acne breakouts.