What is Activated Charcoal?

I’m sure you’ve been seeing all kinds of information about activated charcoal in the news of skin care. It comes as no surprise if you have!

If you haven’t heard much about activated charcoal, then I’d like to shed a bit of light on the subject for you!

 

How It Works: Activated charcoal, or activated carbon, is a form of carbon processed to have tiny, low-volume pores the increase the surface area available for adhesion or chemical reactions.

Since it has such a high degree of microporosity, it has an extremely high level of adsorption (dissolves contaminants and impurities, as opposed to absorption which simply sucks those contaminants up).

 

The Common Uses: Activated charcoal is essentially a cleanser and purifier by nature. It’s very commonly used in major water filtration operations because it can remove pollutants from both air and water.

In agricultural, it’s often utilized by organic farmers as a natural pesticide, animal feed additive, processing aid, and a disinfectant. In laboratories, activated carbon is often used on the sale to purify solutions of organic molecules containing unwanted colored organic impurities.

Often used in distilled alcohol beverage purification, gas purification, fuel storage, chemical purification and mercury scrubbing, activated charcoal is one of natures most purifying agents!

Medicinal Uses

Since ancient times, activated charcoal has been used for treatment of poisonings that occurred by mouth. Today, it is still highly used to treat poisonings and overdoses that are following oral ingestion.

Keeping Activated Charcoal, or activated carbon, in a medicine cabinet could come in handy in cases of a poisoning emergency; if a child ingests a poisoning, having an immediate response while you wait for emergency responders can only be beneficial. I highly recommend to make sure you read up on doses before ever having to administer activated charcoal as an emergency poison treatment.

You can also purchase activated charcoal in tablet or loss powder form, over the counter, to treat diarrhea, indigestion, and flatulence.

Oral Care

One little trick you may or may not of heard of yet is that activated charcoal is AMAZING for whitening teeth naturally. Think about it; activated charcoal dissolves impurities, as mentioned before… why wouldn’t it power-punch out those nasty little stains on your teeth?

Seriously, ditch those expensive, chemical-filled whitening strips and go buy a cheap little box of activated charcoal at the store instead. You and your wallet will thank me later (you’re welcome).

How do you use it for whitening teeth? You simply open one of the little capsules from the box, carefully place the charcoal in a small dish or bowl, and add a little water to make a paste. Dip your toothbrush in the paste and brush it on your teeth. Give it time to adsorb into stains. Repeat once a week whiter teeth… it’s that simple. Activated charcoal can also help eliminate plague build up!

Honestly, I used to use whitening strips and pastes and it’s just… gross! Sitting there with that stuff in your mouth is not only not fun, but it’s nasty tasting, smelling, and can’t possibly be good for you if you ingest any or have it sitting so long on your teeth and gums.If you don’t like the taste: add it to your toothpaste and brush as normal for an extra whitening boost.

Activated charcoal is safe. Charcoal cannot be metabolized, or in other words, it is not absorbed or adsorbed by the body via oral or topical use. It’s even safe enough for pregnant women, so feel free to use this whitening alternative with confidence!

Skin Care

So we already went over how activated charcoal is an purifier and a containment-super-zapper. Can you imagine what this can do for your skin?!

Activated charcoal can pull out impurities, dirt, bacteria, poisons, chemicals, and other microparticles from your skin. There isn’t a much deeper cleanse than that of a detoxifying activated charcoal product. As you can imagine, using activated charcoal in your skin care routine can help prevent acne and makes pores appear less visible. It also naturally lightens and brightens skins for a more radiant and youthful appearance.

I started making activated charcoal cold process soap and activated charcoal facial mud mask this past year and I use them both in my personal skin regiment on a weekly basis (sometimes twice a week). After removing any makeup, I cleanse my face with my peppermint activated charcoal soap and a small natural sea sponge to gently exfoliate. Then, I apply my activated charcoal mud mask until the mask is dry. My skin is left feeling tight and refreshed every time, and my pores have never been cleaner, smaller, and healthier!

Activated charcoal can have a bit of drying effect, so make sure to followup with a deep lotion or cream to rehydrate skin.

I just started producing my Activated Charcoal Gift Baskets for customers, and I am really excited to share one of my personal beauty secrets with everyone. The mud mask not only has activated charcoal, but kaolin clay, fuller’s earth clay, bentonite clay, and powdered coconut powder; these are all extremely beneficial mud clays to soften and tighten skin. I’ve perfected the recipe by testing on myself and giving as gifts to friends and family to test out. It’s absolutely luxurious feeling and the feedback has been more than just encouraging!

Hair Care

Adding a little activated charcoal to your shampoo can purify your hair from environmental toxins and return shine to your flowing locks. This kind of treatment tends to have a dehydrating effect so make sure to only use if you have oily hair, OR if you follow up with a deep conditioning treatment.

 

Warnings: Activated charcoal is not a sufficient means to treat certain poisonings, such as strong acids, alkali, cyanide, iron, lithium, arsenic, ethanol, ethelene glycol, or methanol poisoning. If these kinds of poisonings need treatment, calling 911, visit a local emergency room/hospital, or call poison control rather than using an at home remedy. In fact, I would recommend anyone who DOES use activated charcoal as an emergency poisoning treatment to still follow up with medical care as soon as possible.

In powder form, be very careful while handling; inhaling activated charcoal is very dangerous, could be fatal in high doses, and should be treated immediately by a medical professional.

Using Activated Charcoal on teeth for whitening can lead to gum irritation if used too often. Check with your dentist for more information and guidance in using activated charcoal as a whitening agent.

 

References / Further Reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Activated_charcoal_(medication)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Activated_carbon

https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/blog/what-to-know-about-the-activated-charcoal-trend

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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