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Activated Charcoal: Skin Health Benefits and 24 Amazing Activated Charcoal DIYs

Almost all of us have seen those weirdly-satisfying advertisements of models peeling a black mask off their face with dirt and impurities being lifted with it. Ever wondered what is that core component which helps your face to get rid of all of the dirt within minutes? Yes, there comes the hero of our story – Activated Charcoal. So, what’s that black odourless thing? Well, it is charcoal which is treated using chemical treatment or heat, at high temperature for enhancing its reactivity. This process causes it to act as a magnet for dirt, oil and other impurities which sticks to it. Activated Charcoal is a boon for people with oily and acne-prone skin. These days activated charcoal has acquired a crucial role in the beauty and skincare industry for its various beauty benefits.(1,2)

Skin Health Benefits of Activated Charcoal:

  1. Antibacterial – Activated charcoal is scientifically proven for its major role in curing bacterial and fungal diseases of the skin which is caused by the accumulation of oil and dirt in the clogged pores.
  2. Oil-Absorbent – Activated charcoal is mainly known for its oil-absorbing properties in the skincare industry. It makes your skin feel fresh and non-greasy, leaving it clog-free. On regular usage, you will find your pores appearing smaller and smaller with time.(1,2)
  3. Mild Exfoliator – The powdered form of activated charcoal contains fine particles, acting as a good mild exfoliator. It wipes off the dead skin so that the healthier layer underneath can shine its brightest. All of us want to glow within…don’t we!(1,2)
  4. Blackhead Eliminator – Almost all of us suffer from this irritating issue – blackheads, especially around the nose. Well, this is where an activated charcoal face mask will come to your rescue by unclogging your pores since a blackhead is nothing but accumulated sebum and dead skin cells that get darkened by oxidation.(1)
  5. Acne Healer – Activated Charcoal is amazingly effective in treating acne and the stubborn spots left behind after breakouts. It is a result of impure and oily skin which causes these acne breakouts. Using an activated charcoal-infused face scrub and mask twice a week will come to your rescue in this situation.(1)
  6. Skin Soother – Many people experience razor cuts and redness after using razor, wax or any other hair removal process. Activated charcoal paste (powder mixed with a little water to form a thick consistency) can be applied in those areas to soothe the wound and speed up the healing process. It will reduce the swelling or pain.(1)
  7. Teeth Whitener – All of us want white dazzling teeth when we smile…isn’t it? A good smile undoubtedly adds to the charm of any face. Well, activated charcoal-infused tubes of toothpaste and other oral healthcare items do not only whiten teeth but also help in keeping your gums healthy. Most of the teeth-whitening products available in the market contain activated charcoal as the core component as it has proven to be antibacterial, antifungal and detoxifying. You can also take a small amount of activated charcoal powder on your toothbrush, brush for a few minutes and rinse off your mouth. It ensures a fresh breath.(1,2)

24 Activated Charcoal DIYs To Ensure Healthy Skin

  1. Activated Charcoal and Yogurt Anti-Ageing Face Mask:

    • Take 2 tablespoons of fresh yogurt.
    • Mix 1 teaspoon of activated charcoal in it.
    • Add 1 tablespoon of avocado or papaya pulp to the mixture. Both avocado and papaya, are known for their anti-ageing properties.
    • Mix well and apply on your clean face. Wash it off in 20 minutes.(6)
  2. Activated Charcoal and Bentonite Clay Face Mask For Oily Skin:

    People with oily skin, face a different level of trouble in the summers. But no worries, here is a perfect mask. This mask, when applied twice a week, can show wonderful results:

    • Take 1 tablespoon each of Bentonite clay and activated charcoal.
    • Add 2 drops of Neem essential oil in it.
    • Add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to the paste and you are good to go.
    • Apply it all over your clean face evenly, with a brush.
    • Once it dries, rinse off and apply a mild moisturizer.(6,7)
  3. Activated Charcoal and Honey Face Mask To Remove Blackheads:

    • Take a bowl and mix 1 cup of water with few drops of essential oil (rose, lavender etc.)
    • Add 1 teaspoon of activated charcoal powder along with 1 teaspoon honey to the mixture. Leave it for a few minutes.
    • Apply on your face and neck. Leave for 20 minutes and then rinse off.(6,7)
  4. Activated Charcoal Blackhead Remover Peel-Off Mask:

    • Take 1-2 teaspoons of gelatin powder.
    • Mix 1 teaspoon of activated charcoal powder in it.
    • Now add 4-6 teaspoons of lukewarm water in the mixture. Make sure the consistency of the paste is thick.
    • Apply it on the face where there are blackheads. You can also use it on your entire face if you want.
    • Wait until it dries. Then, peel it off. You will be able to see the grime and the blackheads being lifted with the mask. The results will be visible from the first usage itself.(9)
  5. Activated Charcoal and Aloe Vera Acne-Reducing Face Mask:

    Activated charcoal is known to remove all the environmental toxins which cause acne and pimples. Here’s a DIY face mask to reduce acne and its spots:

    • Take ½ teaspoon aloe vera gel.
    • Mix ½ teaspoon of activated charcoal powder in it.
    • Now add 3-4 drops of tea tree oil to the mixture.
    • Apply this mask to a clean face and rinse off with cool water after 15-20 minutes.(4,6)
  6. Activated Charcoal and Kiwi Skin Brightening Face Mask:

    • Mash 2 kiwis in a bowl. (Kiwis are known for their antioxidant and brightening properties. They are rich in vitamin C.)
    • Mix ½ teaspoon of activated charcoal powder in it.
    • Add 2 teaspoons of sweet almond oil to the mixture. (Almond oil works on the dark spots and brightens the skin.)
    • Add 2 tablespoons of water for a smooth consistency.
    • Apply on your clean face and rinse off in 15 minutes.
    • Pat dry and remember to use a herb-based toner after this process.(6, 7)
  7. Activated Charcoal and Coconut Oil Face Mask For Dry and Combination Skin:

    • Take 2 teaspoons of coconut oil. Coconut oil keeps the skin moisturized for a long time and is best for people with dry skin.
    • Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda to it.
    • Add ½ teaspoon of activated charcoal to the mixture and mix well.
    • Apply on your clean face and neck. Let it dry for 20 minutes and then rinse off.(5)
  8. Activated Charcoal Mask To Deal With Dryness In Winters:

    • Take 1-2 tablespoons of raw honey.
    • Mix 1 teaspoon of matcha powder in it.
    • Add 1-2 teaspoons of activated charcoal to the mixture and stir well.
    • Apply and let it dry. Rinse off in approximately 20 minutes.(6)
  9. Activated Charcoal and Flour Facial Hair Removal Mask:

    • Take one tablespoon of gram flour/chickpea flour.
    • Mix 1 teaspoon of activated charcoal in it.
    • Add 1 tablespoon of rose water and make a thick paste.
    • Apply the paste on the hairy areas of your face. This can also be used around the neck and shoulder area.
    • After it dries completely, massage the mask in the upward motion to remove it till there is no residue of the face mask left.
    • Use a damp towel to clean the residue, if there is any.
    • Rinse with cool water and apply a herb-based moisturizer. This is because a herb-based moisturizer will soothe the skin which was pulled with the facial hair.(8)
  10. Activated Charcoal Face Cleanser:

    As we already know activated charcoal is a magical ingredient for people with oily skin as it absorbs all the excess oil from the skin. Here is how you can make a DIY face cleanser:

    • Take 1 teaspoon of any organic face wash.
    • Mix ½ teaspoon of activated charcoal in it.
    • Massage the mixture on your face in a circular motion and rinse off.(6, 7)
  11. Activated Charcoal And Sandalwood Oil Moisturizing Soap Bar:

    • Melt a mild soap base.
    • Mix activated charcoal powder in it.
    • Add a few drops of sandalwood essential oil for fragrance.
    • Pour the paste into a soap mould and there you go! Your homemade charcoal and essential oil soap is ready to be used.(6, 7)
  12. Activated Charcoal Lip-Lightening Scrub:

    • Take half a teaspoon of gram flour. Gram flour is known for its lightening properties.
    • Mix half a teaspoon of activated charcoal in it.
    • Add 1 teaspoon honey to the mixture and make a paste.
    • Gently massage this scrub for 2 minutes on your lips and then rinse off.
    • Apply petroleum jelly after the process for better results.(4, 6)
  13. Activated Charcoal Detoxifying Scrub:

    A good scrub is known to remove the dead layers of skin and is antibacterial. Here is a DIY for the same:

    • Take 2 teaspoons of pure olive oil.
    • Mix half a teaspoon of granulated sugar into it.
    • Add half a teaspoon of activated charcoal powder to the mixture.
    • Apply on your skin and massage in gentle circular motions.
    • Rinse off with cool water. This detox scrub is a little sticky so you might have to use a mild face wash to wash it off completely.
    • This scrub can easily be used twice a week.(5)
  14. Activated Charcoal Underarms Lightening Mask:

    Activated charcoal not only works on the complexion of the underarms but also keeps the bad odour at bay. Here is how you can make a DIY underarm lightening mask with a few simple ingredients:

    • Take 1 teaspoon of honey.
    • Mix half a teaspoon of activated charcoal powder in it.
    • Apply the paste to the clean underarms.
    • Wait for around 20 minutes and then rinse off and moisturize the area.
    • Repeat this procedure thrice a week and you will notice one shade lighter underarms with controlled odour, within a few weeks of usage.(3)
  15. Activated Charcoal and Rose Toner:

    • Take 4 tablespoons of rosewater in a spray bottle.
    • Mix 2 teaspoons of activated charcoal powder in it.
    • Add 2-4 drops of rosehip oil in the mixture and shake well.

    Your DIY activated charcoal toner is ready to use. It can be used twice daily. (3, 6)

  16. Activated Charcoal and Chamomile Oil Cubes to Soothe the Skin:

    Whenever we face skin issues such as inflammation and redness, accompanied by a slight burning sensation, this can a sign of bacterial infection and the skin needs to be soothed. Here is a solution to your problem:

    • Melt 2 castile soaps and pour into a bowl.
    • Mix 2-3 tablespoons of chamomile oil in it.
    • Add 1 tablespoon of activated charcoal powder to the mixture and stir well.
    • Pour the paste into an ice tray and let it freeze.

    Apply on the affected area twice daily. Activated charcoal had anti-bacterial properties which absorb the toxins and cures the area affected by a bacterial infection.(7,9)

  17. Activated Charcoal and Essential Oils Face Serum:

    The weather becomes harsh for the skin in the summer and monsoon when the humidity rises which results in the pores getting enlarged. This light-weight serum will help shrink the pores and won’t let your skin feel sticky even in the humid summer afternoons! Here is how you make it:

    • Take a bowl and pour 1 tablespoon of pure aloe vera gel into it.
    • Add ¼ teaspoon of activated charcoal and 1 teaspoon of rose hydrosol in it.
    • Add 1 teaspoon of glycerine and mix the oil from 1 vitamin E capsule.
    • Lastly, add ½ teaspoon of rosehip oil or argan oil into the mixture and stir well.
    • If you want the serum to be of a thinner consistency, add more rose hydrosol to it.
    • Pour this DIY serum in a glass dropper bottle. This can be stored for upto10 days in the refrigerator.
    • Apply 3-4 drops of this serum on your clean face at night. Massage it in circular motions and leave it overnight.
    • Wash it off in the morning and pat your face dry.
  18. Activated Charcoal and Coffee Scrub:

    This scrub is best suited for people with dry skin. Coffee is a natural exfoliator and when mixed with activated charcoal, it works as good as any other exfoliator available in the market. Coffee is rich in caffeine which is a powerful antioxidant. People having dry patches should try out this DIY:

    • Take 2 tablespoons of finely ground coffee.
    • Mix 1 tablespoon of activated charcoal in it.
    • Add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and stir well.
    • Use it on dry skin. Do not wet the area before applying the mixture.
    • Massage this caffeine-induced paste on your body and face for a few minutes.
    • Wash it off with normal water. Pat your skin dry and apply a good body lotion.
  19. Activated Charcoal and Potato Dark Circle Remover DIY:

    • Grind a peeled potato, put it all in a muslin cloth, and squeeze to pour out its juice in a bowl. Potato has lightening properties which help to reduce dark circles.
    • Mix 2 teaspoons of activated charcoal powder in it.
    • Soak a bundle of cotton wipes into the bowl. Transfer the wipes to a glass container. Glass containers help restore the freshness for a longer period.
    • Store it in the refrigerator. You can now easily use it for a month!
    • Keep the wipes on your eyes twice a week for 20 minutes and rinse with lukewarm water.
  20. Activated Charcoal Makeup Remover:

    • Take half a cup of organic coconut oil. Coconut oil helps in removing the makeup effectively.
    • Mix 6 teaspoons of activated charcoal in it. Activated charcoal, here, ensures the quick removal of makeup.
    • Add 2 teaspoons of pure baking soda and 4 drops of rosemary essential oil in it. Baking soda dissolves the makeup.
    • Soak a few cotton pads into the mixture and you are good to go.
  21. Activated Charcoal Facial At Home:

    Yes, you heard it right! This facial can be done at home following a few simple steps:

    • You need to make a facial cleanser for the first step of the facial procedure. Mix any face wash of your choice with 1/3 teaspoon of activated charcoal powder. Gently massage this on your face for a minute. Then rinse off. This cleanser will wash off the oil from your face and will control the sebum production.
    • Now, to make the facial scrub, take ½ teaspoon of rice flour, 1/3 teaspoon of activated charcoal powder and a pinch of baking soda. Add a few drops of rosewater to the mixture and stir well. Massage this scrub for 2-3 minutes in circular motions on your face focusing more on the T-zone which mostly has all the blackheads and whiteheads.
    • This scrub will remove the dead layers of your skin and will treat the active pimples, if any.
    • Before applying the mask take facial steam. The steam of the hot water will open the clogged pores of the skin so that the next step in your facial process; i.e., the mask can reach deep into the layers of skin.
    • Now, take a bowl and mix 2 teaspoons of fuller’s earth or Multani mitti with ½ teaspoon sandalwood powder (Sandalwood powder calms the skin). Now, add 2 teaspoons of rose water if you have oily/acne-prone skin or 2 teaspoons of raw milk/cream if you have dry skin or 1 teaspoon of curd if you have combination/normal skin. Apply this face pack evenly on your face. Rinse and you will be able to see visible results from the first time itself.(3)
  22. Activated Charcoal and Jojoba Oil Deodorant:

    • Take 4 teaspoons of organic coconut oil in a bowl.
    • Mix 2 teaspoons each of activated charcoal powder and baking soda. Here, activated charcoal is used to kill the germs and bacteria of sweat.
    • Add 2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder, a few drops of jojoba oil and grapeseed oil in the mixture. Stir well and your natural deodorant is ready! (Arrowroot powder works as an antiperspirant.)(1,2)
  23. Activated Charcoal and Orange Peel Tan Removal Body Scrub:

    We all know how effective dried orange peel powder is when it comes to removing summer tan. Orange is rich in vitamin C and contains citric acid, which works on the pigmentation and lightens the skin. Well, here’s a simple DIY scrub to be used twice a week for visible results:

    • Take 4-6 teaspoons of activated charcoal powder.
    • Mix 4 tablespoons of orange peel powder in it. Orange peel powder can be easily made at home by drying peels of a few oranges directly in the sun for a few days and then grinding all of them.
    • Add 4-5 drops of lemon essential oil and a few drops of olive oil.
    • Add required amount of water for a smooth consistency. Massage this detox scrub using your fingers on the affected areas. Orange peel powder when combined with activated charcoal powder becomes quite rough, so don’t rub too hard on your skin else you may experience rashes.
    • After the massage, leave it for 10 minutes and rub off with a damp cloth. Then rinse.
  24. Activated Charcoal and Bentonite Clay Body Detox Mask:

    • Take 2 tablespoons of bentonite clay.
    • Mix 1 tablespoon of activated charcoal in it.
    • Add ½ cup of water and a few drops of lavender essential oil in it.
    • Give it a good stir and apply all over your body.
    • Half an hour later, wash it off with cool water and apply a mild moisturizer to prevent dryness.(6)

    So, these are the wonderful skin health benefits and DIYs of activated charcoal. You can also add this amazing ingredient to your diet in the form of smoothies.

    Activated charcoal smoothies have become popular these days as it eliminates the toxins out of the body and cleanses the digestive tract. And when the body is detoxified from within, the skin automatically glows.

Points To Be Kept In Mind While Using Activated Charcoal:

  • Activated charcoal DIYs are amazingly suitable for all skin types, but due to their reactive nature, avoid using any DIY more than twice a week.
  • Do not forget to apply a mild moisturizer after using any product composed of activated charcoal or any DIY. This will prevent the skin from drying out.
  • Remember to wear dark-coloured clothes when using charcoal-related DIYs, else it may leave stains all over!
  • Before applying any activated charcoal DIY, do a patch test on any part of your body to check if there is any side effect.(7)


Many people are adding activated charcoal to their skincare regime because of the numerous skin health benefits it possesses. This amazing ingredient acts like a magnet for dirt, grime and blackheads. You can use activated charcoal-infused products to enjoy the benefits. You can also simply prepare your own DIYs using activated charcoal to give your skin chemical-free treatments. Just give it a try and enjoy glowing problem-free skin.


Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:December 16, 2021

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