5 Skincare Myths Ruining Your Skin (with video)

5 Myths Ruining Your Skin

You buy all the products, you put them on your face… and then your skin gets worse? Rude. Today we’re busting five skincare myths that are ruining your skin – and I swear I’m not just going to talk about wearing sunscreen every day. Video is here on YouTube, keep scrolling for the text version… Myth 1: High concentrations are …

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Wash your face with no sink + cleansing myths (with video)

I really hate washing my face over the sink – how it gets everything wet (sink, benchtop, sleeves, hair, front of my shirt), and how it takes a ton of effort to dump enough water on my face that I feel like I’ve thoroughly cleansed and rinsed away my cleanser. I generally end up washing my face in the shower, …

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Fenty Skin Start’rs Skincare Range review

Fenty Skin Start'rs

Fenty Beauty is singer Rihanna’s beauty line, which launched in 2017 with an industry-changing range of inclusive foundation shades. There’s been a ton of hype around what skincare products Rihanna would launch on July 31st this year in the US – and now I’m finally allowed to talk about the Fenty Skin products I’ve been trying for the last few …

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Cleanser reviews: Then I Met You, Oneoseven, Fresh, Skin Doctors

Cleanser reviews: Then I Met You, Oneoseven, Fresh, Skin Doctors

Cleansing is one of the non-negotiable steps in a skincare routine, and sometimes picking a good cleanser isn’t an easy task. We tend to think of cleansers as less important to “get right”, since it doesn’t stay on your skin for long, but in my opinion finding a cleanser that works for your skin will make a huge difference. The …

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Do peeling gels really peel off my skin? (with video)

“Is all the stuff that rolls off with a peeling gel really my skin?“ This is a question I come across a lot! In case you’ve forgotten, a peeling gel is a popular type of cleanser in Asia. You start off with a watery gel like this, which you spread over your face (the one picture here is Laneige Strawberry …

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Skincare Favourites 2018 (Empties Video)

Skincare Favourites Video

Videos are coming thick and fast as I try to get rid of all the old ones with my old background! This time I review my favourite skincare products from 2018 that I liked enough to finish using, along with one foundation. Click here to watch the video. If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel here. …

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Activated Charcoal in Skincare: The Science

activated-charcoal-cleansing-mechanism

Activated charcoal skincare products are pretty cool. They’re black, they’re sciencey-sounding and they’re said to suck dirt out of your pores like a magnet – what’s not to like? The reality is a little more complex than that…

(If you’re after the video version of this post, check it out here! To make sure you don’t miss a video from me when it goes live, click here.)

What is activated charcoal?

Activated_Carbon
Source

Activated charcoal is carbon soot that’s been treated to give it a sponge-like structure, with lots of holes. If you zoom into activated charcoal, it’s very jaggedy, giving it a huge surface area. It’s estimated that 1 gram of activated charcoal has a surface area of 3000 square metres, which is the same as 3 Olympic swimming pools, 7 basketball courts or 230 car parking spaces.

Activated_Charcoal-microscope
Source

This gigantic surface area is particularly handy for soaking up substances. You can see how effective it can be for purifying water in the picture underneath, where activated charcoal’s grabbed onto all the red dye in the glass on the left (it can also be seen with the orange fizzy drink in the video).

Activated_carbon-red-dye-adsorption

In medicine, activated charcoal is mostly used in poisoning cases, where a large dose is fed to the patient alongside other treatments. A lot of the poison sticks to the charcoal instead of absorbing into the body.

Since it’s a default treatment for soaking up ACTUAL TOXINS in poisoning, lots of people eat/drink activated charcoal for “detox” purposes, which sounds like it could work (although if you read my other blog, you’ll know that detox is a scam). You might be wondering, how does activated charcoal tell the difference between good things and bad things? The answer is… it doesn’t.

How does activated charcoal work?

At a molecular level, things are sticky. It’s why the wax in a candle stays together as one big clump instead of splaying everywhere, and why you have to put in a whole heap of heat to get water molecules to separate and turn into steam. This stickiness is known as intermolecular forces – interactions that stick molecules together. Without them, everything would be a gas.

There are a few types of intermolecular force – the one that activated charcoal uses is called dispersion forces. Absolutely every substance has dispersion forces, whether it’s a vitamin or a poison.

Remember the large surface area that activated charcoal has? This means there’s a lot of space for things to stick to. And since everything can form dispersion forces, activated charcoal actually soaks up all sorts of things, including nutrients like vitamins, meaning you don’t get the full health benefits of your food.

Activated charcoal can stick to medications as well, if they’re still in your digestive system. This means that you might not be getting the right dose.

In a poisoning situation, you’re probably not worried about whether you get enough vitamins, but in everyday life it’s not such a good idea to prevent your body from taking up random nutrients and medications on a regular basis. So don’t make activated charcoal part of your regular diet!

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