Much has been said about the benefit of charcoal in skincare: It draws toxins and clears your pores and sucks dirt, oil, and bacteria away from your skin in order to clear up and prevent acne breakouts.

This is all true. But we think charcoal is best suited for a barbecue, and here's why:

In this article you'll learn: 

  1. The problem with activated charcoal for skincare
  2. The benefits of charcoal


Charcoal in a face wash or other cleanser does have the ability to absorb, much like a sponge. But the problem is, it starts its sponging work as soon as it's in a bottle. Put it in a wet formulation, let it sit in a warehouse or on a shelf for just one day, and the absorbing capability has been expended. The charcoal absorbed all the oils and moisture that's present in the other ingredients.

benefits of charcoal for skin

By the time the bottle gets to your bathroom, the charcoal's usefulness has been compromised severely. It's a saturated sponge with no ability to actually do anything. Sad.

Even if, by some miracle, you were able to get the charcoal-based product onto your face at the factory, it'd be dicey as to whether or not it'd do any good. It has to be physically in contact with the skin for a period of time that varies based on the concentration used.

If the product doesn't stay on your face long enough to make a difference, what's the point? So for that reason charcoal-based products work better as a face mask. And who has time for a face mask — unless you're a professional hockey goalie or playing Michael Myers in a dinner theater production of Halloween.

In our opinion, charcoal face cleansers take advantage of trends (and your wallet!), and not the innate and physical properties it could otherwise deliver to a personal care product.

The benefits of charcoal for skin

We don't want to be a total wet sponge about charcoal. If charcoal works, it works in a rather simple way, mechanically as a physical scraper, not chemically as an oil-picker-upper.In addition to barbecues, it's also effective for toothpaste, a formula dependent on physical abrasives for its cleansing ability.

benefits of charcoal for skin


How Geologie can help

When we formulated our Everyday Face Wash we decided to stick with a solid active ingredient like salicylic acid, a great cleanser that foams well, penetrates everywhere in a short amount of time, isn't irritating, and has plenty of anti-acne properties.

Have any questions about how to get the most effective ingredients on your face and what to expect after you start doing it? Read on here or reach out to our guys in customer service, they love to talk skin and go to barbecues.

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