Activated charcoal is nothing new on the health scene; ancient Egyptians used it as early as 1500 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. Pretty cool!
The theory in beauty products is the same: activated charcoal attracts and binds to toxins, bacteria, dirt and oil, preventing them from causing harm.
But when we say "charcoal," we're not talking about the stuff in the bottom of your grill left over from your last barbecue. Never use that. It's filled with harmful chemicals.
No, we are talking about a different kind of charcoal. Activated charcoal is derived from wood or coconut husks and then treated to increase its ability to bind to toxins. The result is a coal-black powder that's available in several forms, including powders, capsules, soaps and tooth products.
Side note:: If you take it internally, drink plenty of water; it can cause dehydration without adequate fluid intake. Because activated charcoal can interact with supplements and medications, check with your health care provider before taking.
Read on to find out five awesome ways to include charcoal in your daily life.
5 Ways to Use Activated Charcoal
1. IMPROVE SKIN FROM WITHIN
Used in hospitals and emergency rooms to counteract drug overdoses, alcohol overdose and poisoning, activated charcoal binds to toxins and escorts them from the body.
It can also be used to remove pesticides, chemicals and other food and environmental toxins from the body, reducing inflammation and making skin clear and bright.
Recommended detox dosages range from 1 to 3 grams before meals to much higher doses. It can be taken in capsules, or the powder (choose one designed for internal use), can be added to smoothies, green drinks, or pineapple juice for extra detox action.
2. BANISH BLEMISHES
Activated charcoal is thought to bind with excess sebum, bacteria and toxins on the skin that can exacerbate acne and breakouts.
To banish your blemishes: use an activated charcoal soap on a regular basis; you'll find bars combined with hemp oil, jojoba beads for exfoliating, sea salt, salicylic acid, essential oils and other ingredients designed to combat blemishes.
After washing, use an activated charcoal mask to purify skin, draw out dirt and toxins and balance oily skin. You'll find masks that combine charcoal with aloe vera, bentonite clay, sea vegetables, salicylic acid, green tea and other zit-calming botanicals.
3. MAKE TEETH GLEAM
Activated charcoal has long been used to prevent cavities and gum disease, ward off bad breath and whiten teeth. It's thought to bind to tannins - tooth-staining compounds in red wine and tea - and lift them from the teeth.
To keep your mouth healthy and bright, try a charcoal tooth powder; they're often combined with bentonite clay-used to increase remineralization of the teeth-and may be sweetened with xylitol and flavored with essential oils. Or for an easy, mess-free solution, look for an activated charcoal toothpaste. You'll often find them combined with bentonite clay, antibacterial coconut oil and essential oils for complete oral health.
4. SOOTHE STINGS AND RASHES
Applied topically, activated charcoal has long been used to treat bug bites and stings, rashes and skin irritations, all of which can destroy your summer-sexy skin.
To treat bites or stings: wash first with activated charcoal soap to remove any surface toxins, then combine a quarter teaspoon of activated charcoal powder with two teaspoons of olive, sesame, or coconut oil and apply liberally to affected areas. Cover with a cloth bandage to prevent staining and reapply every 30 minutes.
For skin redness, rashes and irritations: make a soothing mask from 2 tablespoons coconut oil, 2 tablespoons aloe vera and 2 teaspoons charcoal powder. Apply to skin and leave on for 15 minutes, then rinse and pat dry.
5. MAKE LOCKS LUSTROUS
In the summer, a buildup of chlorine, salt water and styling products can weigh down hair and decrease shine. A charcoal hair treatment can remove dirt and toxins from hair and scalp, allowing them to be easily rinsed away. (BONUS: it's great for treating scalp conditions such as dandruff, eczema and psoriasis.)
To remove buildup: combine 1 teaspoon activated charcoal powder, 2 tablespoons shampoo and 1/2 cup warm water; apply to wet hair and shampoo as usual.
For a scalp-healing mask: combine 1 teaspoon activated charcoal with 1/4 cup almond oil. Rub into scalp and hair, cover hair with an old towel or shower cap and let soak for 15 minutes. Shampoo and condition as usual for a clean, itch-free scalp and lustrous locks!
As you can see, activated charcoal has so many uses. Even though it may seem a bit odd to whiten your teeth or clear your skin with black powder, amazingly, it works.
Have you tried activated charcoal? If so, what kind of results have you seen? Let me know in the comments below.
Yours in Health & Happiness,
P.S. If you are a loyal tea drinker like me, you know that over time your teeth can get tea stained. Try activated charcoal to brighten your smile, or better yet, switch over to our Oolong tea capsules. Our capsules are like drinking a cup of tea without having to take time to brew anything. They are a concentrated form of our tea and are perfect for on-the-go! Check them out for yourself!