The Ultimate Guide to Activated Charcoal and Its Uses
First things first, when we say “charcoal,” we are not talking about the stuff in the bottom of your grill left over from your last family barbecue. It’s crucial you understand this as that type of charcoal is filled with harmful chemicals that can damage your skin and internal organs.
What is Activated Charcoal?
What we are talking about is activated charcoal which is derived from wood or coconut husks, and then specially treated to increase its ability to bind to toxins. The result is a coal-black extract that’s available in several forms, including powders, capsules, soaps, and teeth whitening products.
What Does Activated Charcoal Do?
Activated charcoal is odorless, tasteless and nontoxic. It goes through a special manufacturing process so that it absorbs most organic toxins, chemicals, and poisons long before they can inflict damage to the body. Ancient Egyptians used it as early as 1,500 BC (Cleopatra reportedly lined her eyes with charcoal), and women around the world have used it for teeth whitening, skin care, and natural cleansing. In modern medicine, it’s used in emergency rooms to treat drug overdoses and poisoning by attaching to toxins and preventing their absorption in our systems.
Types of Activated Charcoal
The type of activated charcoal is dependent on the source material. For example, at Gold Mountain Beauty, we carry two types: coconut and hardwood activated charcoal powder.
Typically coconut activated charcoal has the largest surface area and is the most effective. However, all coconut activated charcoal comes from SouthEast Asia, so we carry hardwood activated charcoal for our customers who want an American product.
Charcoal can also be produced from sawdust, peat, and bamboo. In addition to different creams and face masks, you can find charcoal tablets or pellets— both of which are not typically used for ingestion.
Remember, when you’re looking to buy activated charcoal for beauty, oral health, or internal ingestion, you should always purchase food-grade activated charcoal powder.
Activated Charcoal Uses
Activated charcoal has multiple uses in beauty, medicine, and wellness. If you are wondering how activated charcoal can help you in your daily routine, here are the top 10 most common and effective activated charcoal benefits:
1) Teeth Whitener
If you want an impeccable smile but don't want to give up your morning cup of coffee, your nightly glass of red wine, or even those summer berries, activated charcoal is the answer.
Activated charcoal is a proven teeth whitener. Frequent use will also balance the pH balance of your mouth preventing cavities, bad breath, and gum disease.
2) Say Bye Bye to Bloating
We all know how uncomfortable it is to be bloated and gassy. You can avoid this irritating feeling by taking or drinking activated charcoal one hour before every meal. You can either take it in pill form or have this delicious activated charcoal lemonade.
3) No More Hangovers
Activated charcoal can help prevent hangovers and minimize their effects. The powder helps the body get rid of toxins allowing your body to recuperate from the toxicity associated with excessive alcohol consumption.
4) Mold Cleansing
A moldy house can cause reactions like wheezing, rashes, watery eyes, coughing and more. If you have mold in your home, you can clean it off with activated charcoal. Make an effective mold-cleansing formula by combining activated charcoal with other natural ingredients like apple cider vinegar, baking soda, and tea tree oil. Just make sure always to wear gloves!
5) Filtering Water
Did you know water filters have activated charcoal in them? In fact, activated charcoal has been used in water filters since 1550 BC! Activated charcoal will trap impurities from the water, such as chemicals, pesticides, industrial waste, and solvents.
6) Removal of Toxins
Activated charcoal can be used for food poisoning when the patient is experiencing nausea and diarrhea. Adult dosage usually starts at 25 grams while children only need 10 grams. Make sure to keep the body hydrated and take more than enough water if taking activated charcoal orally.
The topical applications for activated charcoal are endless. Topical uses include acne treatments, insect or snake bites, body odor, and poison ivy or poison oak treatments. For a guide on the topical benefits of activated charcoal DIY, click here.
8) Digestive Health
Modern diets have plenty of chemicals and toxins that need to be removed. As we already explained, activated charcoal traps toxins in the body and helps in the flushing process. This can be completed by doing an activated charcoal cleanse. Make sure during the cleanse you are eating whole foods and enough water to avoid possible constipation.
When talking anti-aging, we often only think about our skin and physical appearance; but our organs age too. By removing toxins and unwanted substances in our body, activated charcoal solutions help prevent damage in our organs keeping them functioning properly and healthy for a long time.
10) High Cholesterol
Studies have shown that taking daily activated charcoal can reduce bad cholesterol in the body and increase the levels of good cholesterol. Just make sure to take it two hours before any prescription medication.
Does Activated Charcoal Have Any Side Effects?
Activated charcoal is safe to be consumed by most individuals, but if you have any preexisting conditions such as intestinal bleeding or blockages, chronic dehydration, slow digestion or have had recent abdominal surgery, it’s always advisable to speak to your health care provider before taking an activated charcoal supplement.
Activated charcoal can also interfere with the absorption of nutrients, supplements, and prescription medication; so ensure that you take the activated charcoal at least 2 hours before or 2 hours after taking other supplements or medication.
How to Take Activated Charcoal
If you take it internally, drink plenty of water before and after. Activated charcoal can cause dehydration without adequate fluid intake. It is advised that you drink 12-16 glasses of water daily whenever taking an activated charcoal supplement. Because activated charcoal can interact with supplements and medications, check with your healthcare provider before adding activated charcoal to your beauty or wellness routines.