Charcoal: An ancient material with a new face

Clin Dermatol. 2020 Mar-Apr;38(2):262-264. doi: 10.1016/j.clindermatol.2019.07.025. Epub 2019 Jul 31.


Activated charcoal has become popular in the cosmetic industry and is found in a variety of products, including facial cleansers and soaps. For centuries, charcoal has been used as an antidote for poisonings, but now companies claim that charcoal-containing products can treat acne, dandruff, and others; however, clinical evidence does not support these claims. Patients should be counseled that the use of activated charcoal is generally safe but advised that there is a lack of evidence to support its exfoliative or anti-aging abilities.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Charcoal* / adverse effects
  • Charcoal* / chemistry
  • Charcoal* / therapeutic use
  • Cosmetics*
  • Skin Diseases / drug therapy


  • Cosmetics
  • Charcoal