a smiling woman with nice skin

When it comes to trending skincare ingredients, activated charcoal has been gaining popularity and for good reason. Long used for medical purposes and water filtration, activated charcoal has some pretty amazing properties that include removing toxins from the skin especially when mixed with skincare powerhouses like and .

But First, What is Activated Charcoal?

When you think of activated charcoal, you might think of the black stuff used for barbecuing and you wouldn’t be off the mark—while charcoal is made by burning wood or coconut shells, activated charcoal is made of the same stuff but burned at a higher temp. This process gives activated charcoal some toxin-absorbing pores that do the tough job of soaking up dirt and oil from your skin. It’s an especially useful ingredient for those with .

Why You Should Add Activated Charcoal to Your Skincare

Activated charcoal is a true skincare hero with lots of superpowers:

Activated charcoal can give your skin a deep cleanse.

Not only does activated charcoal dislodge deep-seated impurities from your skin, but it also has a naturally gritty texture that works as a great exfoliator, scrubbing away dead skin cells to reveal new skin and a brighter complexion.

Activated charcoal can get rid of excess oil.

As a magnet for excess oil, activated charcoal is an oily-skinned girl’s skin saver. Do take note that mattifying activated charcoal products, like oil-control masks, shouldn’t be used every day as overuse can leave skin feeling dry.

Activated charcoal can banish blackheads.

This is activated charcoal’s magnetic powers at work again: Masks made with this ingredient can peel those pesky blackheads right off.

Activated charcoal minimize the appearance of pores.

Because activated charcoal unclogs pores, it’s able to get rid of the dirt that may be stuck in your pores, causing them to stretch out and look bigger than they really are. Getting rid of the gunk can relax your pores and make them appear smaller.

Activated charcoal can treat minor cuts and stings.

Given its antibacterial properties, activated charcoal has long been used in traditional medicine to treat minor skin infections.

Activated charcoal can keep you odor-free.

Yup, activated carbon can be good for your pits, too! That’s because it can absorb odors and underarm wetness, making it a great natural deodorant.

Activated charcoal can help cure a hangover.

What does this have to do with skin, you ask? Well, if you’ve ever partied a little too hard, you’ll know that the next-day feels are terrible and you wake up looking less-than-100%. That’s because alcohol dehydrates you, making your skin look sallow and fine lines and pores more obvious. Drinking lots of water helps, of course, but a few medical journals have published that activated charcoal pills may also do the trick. They’re said to detoxify the body post-hangover, which can help you get back your natural glow.

Before overhauling your entire beauty stash and replacing it with all things activated charcoal, take note that its super-absorbent powers might dry your skin out if you go overboard. It’s best to introduce activated charcoal products in small doses into your regular skincare routine so as not to irritate your skin. Start with one product, like POND'S Bright Miracle Ultimate Oil Control Facial Foam, which has charcoal powder to help keep oil at bay. This cleanser gently purifies your pores and leaves your skin feeling clean and smooth.