When I first started researching charcoal, I wasn’t sure what to expect. To me, charcoal was something found in a stocking around Christmas or in the grill at a BBQ, not in skin care products or supplements. But after hearing more about its uses and benefits, I decided to give it a try.
WHY CHARCOAL WORKS?
Activated charcoal is a fine black powder (often found in capsule form) that is made by heating carbon-rich materials (wood, peat, coconut shells, sawdust, etc.) to extremely high temperatures. Those high temperatures create an extremely porous substance that absorbs chemicals and toxins.
This unique feature is why activated charcoal is so important when it comes to health and beauty. Just think about all of the unnecessary impurities hanging out in and on our bodies that could be combated with a little help from the magic of activated charcoal.
BEST USES FOR ACTIVATED CHARCOAL:
1. Alcohol Detoxifier
While eating healthy is important to me, I believe that having a balance is arguably just as important. So when I indulge in a glass or two of full-bodied Cabernet, I like to know the most natural way to detox my system after. Luckily, this is one of the best uses for charcoal. Studies show that when consumed along with alcohol, activated charcoal binds with the impurities from the alcohol and prevents them from being absorbed, reducing the blood alcohol concentration in the blood stream.
Over the course of two-days, you can take charcoal capsules 90 minutes before each meal as away to reboot your digestive tract. It also binds to excess gas, which can reduce bloating.
2. Reboots Your Digestion
In the same way it absorbs alcohol, charcoal can also relieve gas and reboot your digestion. Sometimes when we indulge, especially in foods high in sugar, those sugar toxins can catch up to us, causing a build up of harmful substances. A two-day course of activated charcoal capsules taken 90 minutes before each meal can help restart your digestive tract.
3. Takes Stress Off Your Body
Consuming activated charcoal can take some of the pressure off our natural detoxification system—the kidneys and liver—so they can do their jobs more efficiently. With less stress on the body, other organs like our adrenals are able to function better.
4. Removes Buildup From Hair
Our internal systems aren’t the only things that can suffer from too much buildup. Activated charcoal helps with external accumulation as well. I first started using charcoal for my hair. By binding to the dirt, oil and leftover products, my hair has become softer and more voluminous.
5. Clears Away Oil from Skin
For my husband Meyers, activated charcoal has been an easy way to deal with oily, sweaty skin. Being an athlete with oily skin is extremely difficult. He spends hours and hours in sweaty clothes, constantly going to different environments with varying temperatures and humidity. Even spending time on a plane can cause oiling. To help combat this, he began using charcoal soap about five years ago.
From this minor switch, we saw a huge change. Using a charcoal soap means he can quickly go from practice to a meeting or get off a long flight without having to worry about feeling uncomfortable.
6. Brightens Your Teeth
Another common way to use activated charcoal is in toothpaste. It’s a cost effective method to remove stains from your enamel, without using harsh chemicals. Many natural toothpaste brands are now using it to help brighten teeth. Yes, it will turn your mouth black as you brush, but it only lasts until you rinse, and it means you’re also washing away the gunk that’s been hiding those pearly whites.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
BEFORE TRYING CHARCOAL
Activated charcoal can do incredible things, but there are some rules on how to use it. If taken improperly, it can bind to food or medicine in your digestive tract and prevent you from absorbing important nutrients and compounds.
If you’re going to try it internally make sure:
To take it 90 minutes to two hours before ingesting any food.
Time your important medications, like birth control or antibiotics, as far away from consuming it as possible (at least three hours if you can).
Only consume it with water or alcoholic beverages.
WHERE TO GET CHARCOAL:
You can either buy activated charcoal in capsules or in its powder form, and it’s easy to find on websites like Amazon or at your local health food store. There are also activated charcoal products on the market like the soap Meyers uses, face masks or scrubs.
With it being such an affordable and useful tool for better health and beauty, there really is no reason not to give it a try.
*Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, but everything in this post is backed by basic scientific research. Before adding any supplements to your diet, it’s always smart to talk to your healthcare provider!