Chances are, if you’ve kept up with the latest health trends and fads, you’ve heard about activated charcoal. This stuff is like the new coconut oil! You can use it on anything and everything, and there are so many amazing products out there!
This is a comprehensive guide on the benefits of charcoal, what it is, how to use it, what the best products are, and everything it can do for you! I thought I’d take all your questions, and put it in one article, so you don’t have to go digging around. 😉
So what is activated charcoal?
The technical definition of activated charcoal (also known as activated carbon) is “pure carbon specially processed to make it highly absorbent of particles and gases in the body’s digestive system.” In other words, it is made and designed to be really absorbent of molecules, which works to your benefit, and I’ll explain why later in this article.
The carbon is activated when the surface area is increased by processing it. Think of it this way: Carbon is used in water filtration because of how absorbent it is. If you try to filter out a chemical, say chlorine, from the water, the carbon will absorb it, but only until it has absorbed so much that it no longer has enough surface area. When the carbon is activated by heating it up, it’s surface area increases, and that increases it’s ability to absorb more molecules. This is why activated carbon is used so commonly in medicine, beauty products, and water filtration.
Activated charcoal is completely safe for the body. This article tells a great story about how charcoal helps absorb toxins.
“It was 1831. In front of his distinguished colleagues at the French Academy of Medicine, Professor Touery drank a lethal dose of strychnine and lived to tell the tale. He had combined the deadly poison with activated charcoal.
That’s how powerful activated charcoal is as an emergency decontaminant in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which includes the stomach and intestines. Activated charcoal is considered to be the most effective single agent available. It is used after a person swallows or adsorbs almost any toxic drug or chemical.”
Charcoal has been used many times to try to get poison out of the body, and not only does it absorb poisonous substances, it also absorbs toxins throughout the body. That same article continues to list the benefits of activated charcoal:
- Activated charcoal is estimated to reduce absorption of poisonous substances up to 60%.
- It works by adsorbing chemicals, thus reducing their toxicity (poisonous nature), through the entire length of the stomach and small and large intestines (GI tract).
- Activated charcoal itself is a fine, black powder that is odorless, tasteless, and nontoxic.
- Activated charcoal is often given after the stomach is pumped (gastric lavage). Gastric lavage is only effective immediately after swallowing a toxic substance (within about one-half hour) and does not have effects that reach beyond the stomach as activated charcoal does.
To sum it up, activated charcoal is carbon that has been heated up to have a greater surface area, being highly absorbent of molecules, and can absorb toxins throughout the body.
Health Benefits of Activated Charcoal
It’s hard to even begin on the long list of health benefits that charcoal has on the body. I’ve seen charcoal be used on everything from face masks to decorative bamboo sticks, but chances are, the main reason you’re reading this article is because you want to know how exactly this stuff is going to help you. There are different uses for charcoal and everyone is looking for something specifically for them. The most common uses for activated charcoal are face masks and teeth whitening, but there are many uses and products you may not even know exist. Let’s start with some of the most common products and how they can help you.
Activated Charcoal Teeth Whitening
Activated charcoal teeth whitening, made popular by YouTube, is everywhere! Chances are, you came across this article because this method interests you. It’s definitely annoying to look in the mirror at your 3 times a day brushed teeth and see that they still have a slight yellow tint to them. This is why a lot of people have looked to activated charcoal for help! It’s cheap and accessible, everyone can do it!
Is Charcoal Teeth Whitening Safe?
Like I said in the earlier section about the safety of activated charcoal, it is completely and 100% safe to ingest. Now the concern comes about how charcoal affects your gums and enamel.
Since charcoal is so absorbent, when you apply charcoal to your teeth, it absorbs plaque and surface stains. For instance, if you eat something like a blueberry, that will stain your teeth, and charcoal is fantastic at removing stains such as that.
Now, there is a widespread concern about how safe charcoal is for your gums and enamel. Understandably, many dentists have looked into this, and want to make sure this isn’t just a scam that’s ruining your teeth. Here’s what I’ve found:
- Your teeth enamel is a 5 on the Moh scale of hardness, charcoal is only a 1-2. It’s softer than your enamel, so you don’t have to worry too much about it affecting your enamel.
- Many YouTubers scrub charcoal around their teeth like there’s no tomorrow. Charcoal is meant to used like a sponge. In order to avoid damaging your gums and enamel, make sure you’re not scrubbing it viciously around your teeth. Apply it and let it sit for the best results.
- Don’t put charcoal in your mouth if you have any open cuts or wounds.
- Try rinsing with peroxide, a natural teeth whitening agent, for a boost in effectiveness.
- Don’t use charcoal on your teeth everyday, instead, try for a few times a week.
Activated charcoal teeth whitening isn’t necessarily the most effective way to whiten your teeth. There’s more expensive options that will do a better job, but if you’re looking for something quick and inexpensive, with nice, subtle results, it never hurts to try! Many people have found success with it.
Best Charcoal Teeth Whitening Products
There are a million products out there, all fighting for your attention. After a lot of searching, I’ve found some great charcoal teeth whitening products. Here are my recommendations.
Bamboo Toothbrush 3 Pack – Made with Bamboo Charcoal Infused Bristles – Sustainably Grown in Recycled Biodegradable Packaging
Activated Charcoal Face Masks
Just like charcoal teeth whitening, charcoal face masks have gained popularity from YouTube and Instagram. Just rub charcoal paste all over your face and you’ll have flawless skin right? While it’s not a miracle scrub, it does have many benefits that will help your skin with continued use, and it feels great!
Again, charcoal masks are perfectly safe for your skin, here’s a list (warning, this article contains lots of lists) of some of the benefits of charcoal masks. My points are summed up from this article, because I thought this article explained it really well.
- Activated charcoal does a great job of cleaning out your pores. When you don’t have clear pores, your complexion isn’t as good. Charcoal pulls dirt and oil out of your pores.
- Charcoal can take care of oily skin, absorbing it really well. Don’t do this everyday though, or you may dry out your skin. A few times a week is enough.
- Acne. No one likes acne. Charcoal absorbs oil and dirt from your skin, which definitely helps prevent zits. Use it as spot treatment on your acne if you don’t want to put it on your whole face.
- There are some charcoal products made specifically for deep cleaning the skin. Check some of them out and see what ingredients they have that you may like.
- Remember how absorbent charcoal is? (I’ve probably railed that into your head by now.) Charcoal is actually great at helping heal cuts, bites, and scratches. It helps prevent infection by absorbing toxins and venom.
Charcoal face masks have many benefits for the skin, even if you’re unsure, I would try it out! It’s natural for your skin, and doesn’t add new chemicals to it, so it doesn’t hurt to try. It will most definitely leave your skin feeling refreshed if anything.
Best Charcoal Face Masks
Just like charcoal teeth whitening products, there are a ton of charcoal face masks out there. Here are a variety of options with different features per product.
Charcoal Scrub 10 oz. – Activated Charcoal for Deep Cleansing & Exfoliation – Pore Minimizer & Reduces Wrinkles, Acne Scars, Blackhead Remover & Anti Cellulite – Great as Body Scrub & Facial Cleanser
Activated Charcoal Face Mask, Natural Blackhead and Acne Solution. Charcoal Mask Facial Treatment Deep Cleans Pores, All Natural Ingredients.
Charcoal Soap & Body Wash
Charcoal soap and body wash work in many of the same ways a charcoal mask does. They have the same benefits such as absorbing dirt and toxins from the skin, and leaving the skin feeling refreshed. Not to mention that charcoal soap looks beautiful! It’s actually a great feature for interior design, jet black soap sitting beside your white sink is a great contrast, and definitely fits the whole minimalism trend going on.
Best Charcoal Soaps and Body Washes
Many of these products have the same function, so I chose a lot of these based on beauty.
Activated Charcoal & Rose Clay Spa Bar (10.5 oz) – Pure Coconut Oil Soap. Handmade, Vegan, Natural, Moisturizing,
Charcoal Bentonite Clay Vegan Soap Exfoliating Aromatherapy Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils Lavender Tea Tree Sage Face Soap & Body Soap Cleanser, Men Women Teen Chemical Free Cruelty Free, Natural
Charcoal Water Filters
Charcoal water filters are a great way to make your water taste better! It helps filter out organic compounds that make water taste and smell bad, so by filtering water with charcoal, you’ll get a purer taste.
It’s important to note that charcoal does have its limitations when it comes to filtering. It can reduce chlorine and organic compounds, but it isn’t as good at filtering out heavy metals, fluoride, or bacteria. Nonetheless, it will make your water taste better, and a pitcher with a jet black charcoal filtering stick looks pretty cool. 😉
Best Charcoal Water Filters
Charcoal water filters come in various forms, some in packets and some as black sticks you can put in your water bottles or pitchers.
Charcoal Water Filters Replacements Fits Keurig 2.0 Models by Possiave- Easy to replace-Removes Chlorine, odors, and others impurities from Water-Pack of 12-White
12-Pack KEURIG Compatible Water Filters by K&J – Universal Fit (NOT CUISINART) Keurig Compatible Filters – Replacement Charcoal Water Filters for Keurig 2.0 (and older) Coffee Machines
Well there you have it! All the reasons why charcoal is healthy, how it can help you, and most of amazon’s best seller charcoal products are right here! Hope all your questions were answered. 🙂