Join Tyler, our Formulation Lead here at Peregrine as he breaks down an ingredient that we get questions on frequently - Activated Charcoal. Check out the video below!
Botanical Facts is our series that dives into the ingredients that we use here at Peregrine, why we chose them, and more!
What is Activated Charcoal?
Activated Charcoal is basically a superfine, and porous charcoal product.
Ours is made from Bamboo, or hardwoods, which are first burned at high temperatures to produce charcoal, which is then “activated” in a special furnace that includes both high heat, and oxidizing substances like pure oxygen and steam.
This activation process is what lends Activated Charcoal it's super high surface area, and special characteristics. The temperatures needed to activate the charcoal are generally between 600 and 1200 degrees C. The result is then sorted and finely ground to produce the final product that we use as a raw material.
Why use Activated Charcoal?
Activated Charcoal is a special product, due to both its unique physical and chemical properties.
One of the most important qualities of activated charcoal is it’s surface area, relative to its size. The tiny, porous particles allow activated charcoal to attract other small particles and substances, and physically bind to them. Under a microscope, you can see all the tiny nooks and crannies that allow this reaction to occur.
In medicine, there are many ways to use activated charcoal, and the WHO considers it to be an essential part of a basic healthcare system’s essential medicines. Activated charcoal works to treat poisonings and overdoses by physically absorbing the toxin or chemical, allowing it to pass through the body without being absorbed.
For our purposes, activated charcoal can be used in tandem with a mild surfactant or astringent, and boost its ability to suspend and remove grime and oils from the skin.
The attraction and absorption powers that activated charcoal adds means that the cleansing ingredients that we use can be milder and less aggressive on the skin, while still maintaining a good cleansing ability.
We also use activated charcoal as a complement to Bentonite Clay, another great ingredient in our Clay and Coal Face Masks. As it dries, the Bentonite Clay will pull grime, oils and other substances from the skin, and into the clay itself. The activated charcoal can help to grab and bind to a greater volume of other substances before it loses its efficacy.
We love activated charcoal in our products, and find that they add performance that we just can’t get otherwise. But, like all natural products, it’s important to realize that activated charcoal has its limits.
It works as part of a system, and needs to be treated as such, simply throwing it into a face wash or mask isn’t enough to ensure that you get the most benefit from the ingredient!
Thanks for reading!
-Tyler at Peregrine