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Debunking Charcoal: The Deal on Charcoal Face Masks & Toothpaste

From teeth whitening to face masks, charcoal is all over the internet right now. Somehow, it got from being seen as a source of fuel to be slathered all over our teeth and faces in the hopes of heightening our beauty. So, what’s the deal, is it really worth the hype?

Charcoal in Face Masks

Courtesy: StyleCraze​


Ever wonder how this trend started? Like someone really, truly covered all of the bases to see what we can use to fix our skin.

The best way I can describe a charcoal face mask is it’s like a really tough, harder-to-peel peel-off face masks. It hurts. Charcoal masks are advertised to unclog your pores (that’s really the central appeal of them). You spread on some black goo, wait 20-30 minutes, then peel off the hardened mask. It can go wrong and be a painful experience. That stuff gets really stuck on your skin and sometimes takes out some baby hairs with it. BUT, you get the satisfaction of seeing the gunk that comes out of your pores right there in the charcoal. Is it worth it?

According to SiO Beauty, the charcoal itself is good for your skin, but the way the mask aggressively rips at your skin isn’t. The charcoal used is activated charcoal, which basically means it’s really good at absorbing unwanted substances off your face, whether that’s toxins, dirt, oil, you name it. So yeah, it does get the job done, but on top of that, it rips out hairs, sometimes the top layer of your skin (that’s why skin is often red and irritated after peels), and sometimes over dries it. Not only is the skin overexposed and sensitive, but the pain is pretty bad. And pain=something’s wrong, right?

Overall consensus? Maybe charcoal is good for your skin, but the masks themselves are not worth the pain or moolah. On to the next skin care product.

Charcoal in Teeth Whitening

Courtesy: Women Dentists

Ahh. We love a good, natural teeth whitener that doesn’t actually slowly kill your teeth (ahem, 90% of bleaching treatments). But does this one actually work? Time to debunk.

Okay, so we learned that activated charcoal is good at absorption. So maybe this means it could absorb up all of our…. yellow-y stuff… and give us pearly whites?


Courtesy: Trutv​

Although these trends seem new, charcoal has actually been around in dental hygiene practices for longer than we’ve all been alive. It was even used in one of the first ‘toothpastes’ by the early Romans. To create the paste, you add water to activated charcoal and brush away for about 3 minutes. Its results have gone viral and its popularity skyrocketed, so it seems legit. Or maybe the after effect only seems whiter because your mouth just isn’t entirely black anymore. Regardless, it’s pain-free, cheap, and one of the most natural options for teeth whitening. So, there you go. Charcoal toothpaste is the winner. Sorry face masks, maybe next time.

Stephanie is a junior at Florida State University majoring in Communications & Media and Creative Writing. She began as a content writer for HerCampusFSU this semester and is also involved with WVFS Tallahassee.
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