Can remove activated carbon soap hyperpigmentation

Keyword: activated carbon

Activated carbon

Synonym: Carbo activatus, charcoal

Activated charcoal (INCI: activated charcoal or charcoal powder) is the active ingredient in "black cosmetics" such as toothpaste, peelings, deodorants or masks. This means that activated charcoal for cosmetic purposes is not used as a powder, but rather incorporated into a galenic system. Activated charcoal is a black powder or granulate consisting of amorphous carbon and small graphite crystals, obtained through a controlled oxidation of carbonaceous raw materials , for example wood or coconut shells. It is therefore a natural product. The charring process gives the activated carbon a particularly high adsorption capacity. For 1 gram, its surface is around 1,200 square meters, which allows it to be used in a variety of ways. It is used, for example, in medicine, the cosmetics industry, drinking water treatment, wastewater treatment and in ventilation and air conditioning technology. The ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks used activated charcoal as a home remedy to disinfect wounds.

In medicine, activated charcoal is well tolerated and can therefore be used externally as well as internally. According to the European Pharmacopoeia, they are used for primary detoxification, to bind orally ingested toxins and to accelerate their excretion. At the same time, it alleviates gastrointestinal complaints such as diarrhea. Applied externally, it serves as a wound pad for unpleasant odors.

A new trend is emerging to use activated carbon in cosmetics as well. Here the cosmetics industry makes use of the adsorbing effect of granulated activated carbon and works it into liquid, semi-solid or solid bases with the aim of binding toxins and dirt on the skin and removing excess sebum. This is intended to prevent blackheads and pimples and improve the appearance of the skin even with acne.

Claims such as “detoxifies the skin and removes dead skin cells, dry skin cells and fine dust - refines the pores” and “acts like a magnet that attracts impurities, refines pores and regulates sebum production” is advertised. However, due to the lack of published studies, there is no evidence of its effectiveness.

Author: Pharmacist Gesa Nippel, Hamburg, on behalf of the Dermocosmetics Section of the Society for Dermopharmacy e.V.

Status: November 2019

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