It could very well be, as far as your scalp, and hair are concerned.
Activated Charcoal is being used in many many places these days. I’ve always used it in Aquariums, and medicine has used it in poison or overdose cases. Skin care utilizes it in face masques and cleansers. You can find Charcoal toothpastes, and many other products.
What about using Activated Carbon on your hair and scalp?
Have you ever thought to use it up top? The reasons to use it on scalp and hair are the same as for the rest of your skin. In fact a great reason to use it on your scalp is, your scalp has pores just like your face. Your scalp is a virtual field of pores, and there are actually more of them on your scalp that on your face. The pores in your scalp are specialized for growing hair, making them deeper than the pores on your face. Your scalp has more places for toxins, dirt, and grime to go. Those nasties get in there deeper, and are harder to remove in the scalp pores.
Makes a pretty good case for using a charcoal scalp and hair masque doesn’t it?
So what is Activated Charcoal?
It is charcoal that is specially prepared to become 'activated'.
Activated means it has gone through a process to create even more pores and surface area to the substance. Those extra pores make it work even better.
Activated Charcoal is safe for you and the environment, too. It doesn’t use chemicals like many surfactants do. Being made of burned up plants or wood, it is completely natural. It is the result of burning material at high temperatures, which reduces environmental impact and pollution in the process.
Bamboo makes a great charcoal, because it naturally has a 600:1 ratio of surface area to weight, meaning, the pores in 1 gram of bamboo charcoal has 600 square meters of surface area! Crazy! When it is activated, that number jumps to 1200:1! 1200 square meters of surface area for every gram of charcoal. Even more Crazy, but crazy good.
Another reason Bamboo makes a great source for charcoal is the renewability factor. Bamboo grows fast, and is ready for processing into charcoal in 5 years or less, and it grows back from the original root system because it is a species of grass! So no clear cutting and environmental devastation! Harvesting doesn’t wipe it out. That is a big win in my book.
Toxins stick to activated carbon. Because of this trait it makes a great cleanser and detoxifier. Since it is all natural, it will not add new chemicals to your skin and hair when you use it. Be sure the preparation is using high quality mfg practices and other ingredients to ensure that the finished product is healthy for you too.
Activated Charcoal is used in a wide variety of beauty or personal care products.
It is loved in skin care because it makes pores cleaner and smaller. The toxins that are floating around us in the air adhere to and begin to clog our pores, this causes complexion issues. In the scalp toxins and clogging can impede hair growth and cause other scalp issues as well.
It is also great for oily skin. If you are struggling with an oily scalp, and not getting the relief you desire with oil treatments, charcoal may be just the thing that does the trick by balancing things out in your scalp. It has the ability to pull excess oil away from the skin. Use it or a charcoal product just once a week to avoid over drying though. As with many things hair related, too much of a good thing isn’t necessarily creating an even better thing.
It can help treat acne, since it is slightly gritty, and offers the gentle exfoliation you need. This gentle exfoliation may help sluff off skin accumulation on your scalp, too.
It’s a great deep cleanser with out being chemical laden. Again, it isn’t needed or recommended as a daily cleanser, as some oil and moisture is essential.
It can soothe skin irritation, too.
Use it to rid your hair of toxins. When used on hair it can pull out dirt, oil and toxins just as it does on skin. It will also add volume to your hair from the purifying action. If you hair is feeling weighed down, that typically isn’t just a feeling but a physical truth. If there is enough dirt, oils, and other grime on your strands, it will weigh down your hair. Regular shampoos are great at removing surface dirt, while charcoal will pull out even more, all without leaving any residues behind, your hair will feel lighter and have more volume and bounce.
Another great benefit of charcoal is it works to remedy scalp conditions, dandruff, redness, oily and itchy scalps all may be relieved with charcoal, depending on severity and cause.
It makes a great scalp treatment, and will work on your scalp just like it does on the pores of your face and on your strands of hair: attracting dirt and moving it down the drain. You’ll have noticeable results!
How does it do all that?
Activated Charcoal is really carbon soot that has been treated to have a sponge like surface, lots and lots of tiny holes that create a massive surface area. A zoomed in view will look very jagged and craggy. That is where all the surface area comes from. This makes it perfect to soak up substances, like toxins, poisons, impurities and the like.
At a molecular level things are sticky, or prone to attracting to each other depending on substance, it is how we have solids and liquids. Without the stickiness, everything would be gas.
Charcoal has that really big surface area, which means it has a lot of space for molecules to stick to. It really can’t determine between good and bad molecules though, so it grabs ahold of everything that touches it. It works by actually contacting the substance, vs. truly attracting things like magnetic forces, what that means is you need good solid contact of charcoal and dirt, oil, or toxins, so maybe fly paper would be an even better analogy than the often used magnetic attraction analogy. When toxins, dirt, oil, grime, etc come in contact they stay stuck on the charcoal.
When it comes to skin and scalp care, hair care too, there isn’t much that we want left on our scalp and hair when we wash it, as long as we are replacing those protective oils that get removed, when we are finished cleansing. With out replacing those all needed oils, hair and scalp can feel dry.
How does it work differently than surfactants or detergents?
Detergents (soap) are surfactants that trap dirt inside the micelle of surfactant molecules using ionic forces. Surfactants really don’t get deep down in pores, so it is a surface cleanse. Charcoal has the ability to get in there and do a better job deeper, and then comes away with that pore junk stuck all over it. It does take some time to work, so contact time is essential, massaging action is a great practice too. Massaging ensures more sides of the charcoal are contracting the surface areas of your skin and hair, rather than laying there like a face masque until it dries and is then rinsed off.
What sets Activated Charcoal apart from everything else is the fact that it does no harm like many surfactants can do.
The above graphic from Labmuffin shows how surfactants work. Part of the molecule is attracted to oil or dirt, the other end is attracted to water. See the tails stuck in the oil and the blue water loving dots(molecule heads) poking up in the top graphic? Theses molecules then group together trapping the oils on the inside of the grouping with the heads out in the water where they are happy. These groupings then get rinsed away and down the drain. The charcoal, on the other hand, has the oils, etc. stuck to the particles (represented by the white holes now being yellow) which are then rinsed down the drain. I don't want you to interpret this as if I am saying all surfactants are bad and should be avoided, there are simply more than one way to do the work. Surfactants work faster than charcoal. Alternatives are a great thing.
What we have here is a great combination, Activated Charcoal and surfactants can create a synergy that makes them work better when used in partnership than either can do when used alone. That is pretty dang cool if you ask me!
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