Activated Charcoal may very well be something you’re only familiar with in terms of lighting up the BBQ (and no, this is not the same stuff!), but it’s an amazing DIY beauty ingredient and supplement with many purposes.
It’s affordable, and it’s super easy to use. Plus, it’s all natural and highly detoxifying, so you can feel good about the ingredients you’re using inside and outside.
From your skincare routine to getting your digestion in check, the stuff deserves a spot in your bathroom closet.
It’s a great addition to a low-tox home, and you’ll see big benefits in everything from your skin to your digestion. Here are ten reasons you should start using charcoal, if you aren’t already.
Activated charcoal for teeth
Don’t be put off by charcoal’s dark color. It works wonderfully as a natural, non-toxic toothpaste that you can easily make at home.
Not only will it save you big bucks, but you might actually see whiter teeth than ever with the stuff. One of the major benefits – especially of activated charcoal – is how porous the stuff is.
This means it’s fantastic for fighting stains, making it one of the safest ways to achieve those pearly whites because it adsorbs plaque and other stain-producing bits floating around in the mouth. No bleaching required!
Activated charcoal will NOT stain your teeth, but it will stain your sink and bathroom tiles! Be careful when spitting, and clean up afterwards.
Better yet, spit it out in the trash can, especially if you’re using coconut oil which can clog your drains. Try our favorite charcoal whitening powder, or make it at home.
Basic charcoal toothpaste recipe:
- Mix one part coconut oil and one part activated charcoal (1 tbsp. each is fine)
- Optional add-ins: liquid stevia for taste, peppermint essential oil for taste
- Simply mix ingredients together, store in a small glass jar (like this), and use it to brush daily.
Charcoal face mask
Detox is the name of the game when it comes to healthy, glowing, supple skin, so of course charcoal is a winner. Our skins take in a lot day-to-day, as our largest organ is always exposed.
It draws out of skin bacteria, poison, chemicals, dirt, micro-particles, toxins and whatever else is hiding out in your pores.
A charcoal-based mask is especially good for oily skin, big pores, natural acne treatment and overall deep cleansing. For acne, it’s helpful to mix up some charcoal with aloe vera, and rinsing it off once it’s dried.
It’s also good for healing, so you can apply it to scabs, stings, bites, cuts and swollen bits of skin.
Activated charcoal face mask recipe:
- Add 1 tsp. of charcoal to water until the consistency is like paste.
- Add 1 tsp. of honey or gelatine (something to make it sticky/jelly) and mix.
- Apply to entire face, and rinse/peel after 10-15 minutes.
See our other go-to DIY face peel masks at home for any type of skin.
Blackhead charcoal peel strips
Charcoal is known to trap toxins, chemicals and blackheads in its millions of tiny pores, so if your nose looks like it houses millions of its own tiny pores, give it a taste of its own medicine.
See, charcoal doesn’t absorb things; instead, it adsorbs which means it creates a chemical reaction in which elements bind to a surface. If you’ve ever used a blackhead peeling strip, this sounds just about what you ideally want to go on!
We mentioned above that activated charcoal is porous, so think of a DIY charcoal strip as a magnet for those pesky pores.
Basic charcoal blackhead strip instructions:
- Begin with a blank canvas a.k.a. a clean, dry face.
- Mix 1 tsp. of bentonite clay with 1 tsp. of activated charcoal and 1.5 tsp. of water
- Brush around and on the nose and/or other problem areas, let dry and peel.
Charcoal for digestion
Charcoal can be a fantastic supplement for optimising digestion, which is a good indicator of overall health and well-being. Charcoal works on the digestive system in a few ways, namely, removing toxins.
Can you tell this is its specialty? It breaks down those toxins in the digestive tract which would otherwise cause discomfort including allergic reaction, oxidative damage, and immune stress or dysfunction.
You can reduce environmental factors’ impact on gut health such as any chemicals or toxins we take in from pesticides in food or from unfiltered water.
A word of advice: the trick is to take charcoal in between meals with plenty of water – at least 8 oz. – so that it doesn’t interfere with nutrient absorption.
Considering its uncanny ability to bind, it will try to steal all those vitamins and minerals you’re taking in from food or other supplements.
Otherwise, it can cause constipation – especially if you’re not hydrated enough while supplementing with it. Just remember to take it on an empty stomach, and charcoal is highly beneficial for the gut.
Activated charcoal for bloating
Bloating is the cause of a build-up in the belly. What if that build-up could be considered a toxin, or a mix of toxins? Considering what we know then, it would only make sense that activated charcoal could help beat the bloat.
It’s true, and that’s exactly the reason why. While bloating is caused by generally harmless acids and gases in the gut, it can be painful and uncomfortable.
Moreover, it could be the difference in buttoning up your jeans or not after a heavy meal or a totally worthwhile indulgence.
The activated charcoal will help absorb the acids and gases, thus reducing inflammation. Take it with plenty of water so you don’t exacerbate the issue, and avoid taking it prior to a nourishing meal.
Activated charcoal filter for water
Charcoal’s binding superpowers also work to remove those nasty toxins found in tap water. If you’re concerned about water quality, and want to find a simple way to filter your water, we love this easy solution with the added benefit of taking in some charcoal while you’re at it!
You can use the Kishu Charcoal activated charcoal stick for pitchers. This will last for four months, and it couldn’t be simpler to use. You just add the stick to your pitcher and pour filtered water every time.
This is a really affordable way to ensure clean drinking water that’s worth every penny. Who knew? Move over, Brita.
Charcoal pills for hangovers
Charcoal pills can actually negate a lot of the negative effects of alcohol. In fact, it can be used to reverse the effects of poisoning by absorbing the poison.
While it’s not a suitable reason in an emergency not to call poison control, it CAN help. This holds true for alcohol poisoning, too. It doesn’t adsorb alcohol, but it does cling in to other additives and chemicals that could worsen how you’re feeling.
It can also reduce blood alcohol levels if taken while drinking.
However, it doesn’t have to get that bad for it to be effective. Alcohol in any dose is a poison, and the morning after is a convincing sign of that.
Headaches, vomiting, fatigue, dizziness… whatever your symptoms are, taking an activated charcoal capsule after a long night of drinking can really reduce the severity of your hangover, or help you avoid the painful reminder altogether.
The main reason charcoal is an effective anti-ageing supplement is due to its ability to protect and preserve the liver and the kidneys – our two big detox organs. When these organs face cellular damage, they don’t do their job as efficiently and effectively.
Charcoal helps prevent that cellular damage, while also helping to protect adrenal glands and adrenal function, cognitive function, and the digestive tract.
What’s that got to do with ageing? A lot! When our organs are detoxing properly, our bodies will thank us. When our brains are working, we can worry less about degenerative disease or impairment.
When our guts are happy, we’re less prone to disease. Charcoal is key to longevity and feeling your best well into middle and older age.
Charcoal for lowering high cholesterol
Heart health is another very important factor in longevity. Keeping it happy, pumping, and healthy can be a good indication of overall health and risk of heart disease.
Cholesterol can be a bit tricky, but basically, you want to keep the “good” cholesterol (HDL) in check while you keep the “bad” cholesterol (LDL) down.
Charcoal can adsorb or attach to cholesterol and bile acids in the intestine, meaning they never get the chance to be absorbed by the body, plus more breakdown of cholesterol by the liver.
This study shows promising results, with doses of activated charcoal reducing both LDL and overall cholesterol in users from 23% to 29% at a lower dose, to a decrease of 29% and 41% at 32 grams of charcoal daily.
Consider adding this to the mix if you’re trying hard to get those numbers down. In conjunction with a healthy meal plan, it may be one of the most effective supplements for cholesterol.
First aid uses
If you’ve never thought to add a tiny jar of charcoal to your first aid kit, you probably should. It can be used for various wounds and injuries for similar reasons to its ability to treat acne.
It removes the toxins and dirt from inflamed areas on the skin to heal it quickly.
This same logic can be applied to mosquito bites if you mix it with a bit of coconut oil. It can also help neutralise infection in open wounds and cuts or burns.
Charcoal brands we recommend
- Activated Charcoal Teeth Whitening Powder by Naturally Made Essentials. This stuff is jam-packed with natural ingredients with fantastic benefits for the teeth. You can replace your toothpaste entirely with this. Charcoal comes in to remove tough stains, while the base is made with bentonite clay which is fantastic for scrubbing the teeth. It also contains ginger and sodium which are healthy for the teeth and gums.
- Nature’s Way Activated Charcoal Capsules. Capsules are a very convenient way to use charcoal. You can break them open if you need just the powder for something like a mask or teeth whitening powder, but you can also take them orally for digestive detox or hangover prevention without much fuss. This brand is reliable, high-absorbency, and affordable.
- VivaDoria Food-Grade Charcoal Powder. Having a jar of charcoal handy is all you need to make DIY charcoal products. Or, you can purchase it this way to make your own capsules which could save you money down the line. If you’re using it for many purposes, this is probably the product to go with.
We hope you learnt more about the many uses of charcoal in this article! Check out our favorite ways to add it into your DIY beauty routine.
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