What Can Bamboo Charcoal Do for Your Skin?

Believe it or not, applying a little soot to your skin can leave it cleaner than ever. In fact, charcoal, that ol’ barbecue staple, is almost as essential to a healthy complexion as it is to a proper backyard cookout. An array of luxe grooming products call upon charcoal made from bamboo, for its power to absorb impurities and toxins. Here’s what you need to know about this super ingredient.

First, a little background: The earliest documented use of bamboo charcoal dates back to the Ming Dynasty. Chinese healers used “the black diamond” to formulate medicines and filter water for tea. The charcoal also “sweetened” the tea by infusing minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

Even more effective at drawing out pollutants is what’s known as “activated” bamboo charcoal—charcoal that has been pulverized and steamed, giving it a wider surface area and thereby enabling it to absorb a higher volume of bacteria, toxins, and micro-particles.

Because of its capacity for drawing out filth from pores (without being absorbed itself), activated bamboo charcoal has become a key ingredient in a slew of skincare products. Here are just a few of our favorites:

• Herbivore Botanicals Bamboo Charcoal Soap, which calls upon activated bamboo charcoal to dig dirt from pores, and olive and coconut oils to moisturize.

Raw Materials Sport Fix Soap which uses bamboo charcoal to prevent acne and fight odor.

Mt. Sapola’s Charcoal Soap, which lifts dirt while simultaneously lifting moods with a bit of aromatherapy.

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