Recently, I’ve been seeing a lot of advertisements touting “activated charcoal”, and talking about how it will “attract the dirt from your pores”. How does this work? Does it even work? and how is it any different than rubbing charcoal on your face?
Gromky: Charcoal generally has the property of having lots of pores that are approximately the correct size for medium-sized organic molecules to enter and become trapped. Activated carbon/charcoal has been produced in a way to maximize those pores, making it better at that process.
If you’re making charcoal for fuel, you don’t care about the ability to adsorb oils or contaminants. If you’re making it for a water filter, you don’t care how it burns, you want to maximize pores and surface area.
hollyklav: I would imagine it has to do with the absorption properties. My son ate some medicine he shouldn’t have once and the doctors made him drink activated charcoal. Did the trick.
So it would seem it pulls whatever it can into itself and away from whatever it was in. Makes sense to me anyway.
cataveteran: Charcoal and activated charcoal are two very different things. Could rubbing plain charcoal on the face just clog skin pores? I can’t imagine it having any cleansing effect on skin. Not even sure about activated charcoal. First it has to get into the pores, but it also has to come out. Will simple rinsing with water do it?
Activated charcoal (aka activated carbon) is traditionally used to filter water and to treat certain poisons. It does have a phenomenal ability to remove various contaminants and it’s fairly safe even when ingested, so…
soupvsjonez: Carbon has a property where it can easily bond with ions. Basically, the outer electron shell of carbon is only half full, so there are four spots available for negatively charged molecules to attach to it. When these attach to the carbon, they are bonded strongly enough that when you wash the charcoal off your face, it takes those ions and anything that they’re attached to with it.
lemmenche: It uses abrasion. It won’t take anything out of your pores. If you want your pores clean, sweat.