Charcoal is touted to have many benefits from whiting your teeth to riding your body of bacteria. On the market, we’ve seen that response with charcoal masks to tooth-whitening tubes of toothpaste. Activated Charcoal is leaving its carbon “footprint” just about everywhere. But the real question is does it work and is it safe? And what exactly is activated charcoal?
When we think charcoal we think time to fire up the grill but hold on a moment. That regular charcoal is a known carcinogen, while activated charcoal is medicinal. Activated charcoal is created by the slow burning of wood, peat or even some shells that are treated with oxygen. Activated charcoal is sold and produced in many forms such as scrubs, sponges, fabrics, powders, and pills. The ingredient has been used for millennia by eastern medicine and is now just becoming popular in western countries. It’s now reached the superfood status due to its potent alkalizing detoxification properties and touted health benefits.
Here are 5 ways we love to use activated charcoal that is safe:
1. Activated Charcoal for Teeth Whitening
Usually, I would be skeptical of anything saying it would whiten your teeth naturally, but I’m a believer in activated charcoal for teeth whitening. It helps to absorb discolorations in your tooth enamel. I’m in favor of toothpaste that uses activated coconut shell charcoal. Right now I’m really loving Desert Essence’s Activated Charcoal Toothpaste infused with mint. This cool gray, not black formula lets you get all the benefits from activated charcoal without the potential work of cleaning out the black charcoal bits. It also has a hit of Australian Tea Tree Oil that helps defend against sugar acids as the baking soda and sea salt gently clean your teeth. Find it here.
2. Activated Charcoal Masks
I love face masks. I have a stack of them and I choose which benefit I want to give my sink as I sink into a nice warm bath. I lean back and relax as the mask does its work. Recently I tried Derma-E’s Purifying 2-in-1 Charcoal Mask with Activated Charcoal and I was pleasantly surprised. This dual-action, deep detox mask purges pores of toxins then gently exfoliates for fresh, glowing skin. I like to keep it on as long as possible, and for someone with sensitive and dry skin, it seems to work on all skin types. This is a great product to dip your toes in the Activated Charcoal pool.
3. Activated Charcoal Scrubs
We all need to exfoliate at least twice a week and I thought I’d incorporate a little-activated charcoal into that routine to see if I saw any benefit. The fact is my pores definitely got cleaner and Indigo Wild makes a Zum Facial Scrub that uses an age-old formula to cleanse your face of dirt and impurities, which stick to the activated charcoal. When the charcoal gets rinsed, so does the toxins and gunk. In other words, the scrub cleanses, detoxifies, and hydrates resulting in beautiful, healthy skin. It comes in a glass container so you can easily just leave it in the shower and use throughout the week.
4. Activated Charcoal Deodorant
While there hasn’t been much study around charcoal in deodorant it is worth a try as charcoal is known not to irritate skin and is a natural byproduct. It claims to help neutralize odor and absorb wetness at the same time detoxifying your pits. If you try it, Schmidt’s Charcoal + Magnesium Mineral Enriched Natural Deodorant has plant-based powders that are free of aluminum, propylene glycol, parabens, phthalates, and no artificial fragrance.
Other benefits of activated Charcoal include:
Activated charcoal is primarily used to cure poisoning. It’s able to absorb toxic material so that the body may more easily rid itself of it. You may have heard of someone on the news getting charcoal for an overdose, and this is why. It’s used in hospitals and can be carried in a first aid kit. If someone is poisoned, you may ask a 911 dispatcher if it’s okay to administer activated charcoal while they are on their way. It may help slow the poison until an ambulance arrives.
While not as extreme as poison, some materials can upset a stomach or intestines. Like poison, activated charcoal can help with that. It absorbs material that the intestines have trouble with and make it easier to pass through. This can reduce gas. However, to be effective, it’s best to take 500 milligrams before the meal. Check out these for your tummy.
It happens to everyone. A misjudgment on how strong a drink is, had one too many. It’s okay because activated charcoal can help that hangover. It removes harmful toxins that alcohol contains, settling the stomach and making the morning a little more bearable. (Note: research is inconclusive on alcohol poisoning. If alcohol poisoning is suspected, call 911 or go directly to the emergency room.)
While the jury is still out on all the benefits of activated charcoal the decision is that it is safe for use, has properties that help skin and body and plus the color looks really neat!