Activated Charcoal: What is it?

Activated Charcoal: What is it?

Charcoal. It seems to be in everything these days!  Ice cream, supplements, skincare and dental products. So what exactly is charcoal and why are we devouring so much of it?!


If you mention charcoal to the average person the first thing that will probably come to mind is bbqs. But the charcoal bricks you use to make your sausages sizzle is not that same charcoal that is in your beauty products. 

Activated charcoal which is used in medicine, health and beauty products is made by burning carbon rich organic materials (such as coconut shells) at a much higher temperature than your regular charcoal bricks. It is then activated by using steam or hot air to change the structure making it more porous.

The porous structure allows activated charcoal to absorb a wide variety of toxins including chemicals, viruses, bacteria and fungi. It is used to treat overdoses and poisonings in hospitals and as a detox ingredient in supplements. The dental industry also loves activated charcoal as it naturally lifts stains from tooth enamel, deodorises breath and absorbs any nasty bacteria floating around in your mouth. 



The porous structure allows activated charcoal to absorb a wide variety of toxins which is why it is used to treat overdoses and poisonings in hospitals. Activated charcoal is also used in health supplements such as Osmosis Environmental Detox to help pull environmental toxins such as chlorine and pesticides from your body. 



It seems insane to brush your teeth with black powder in order to make them whiter but it works! Activated charcoal lifts stains as well as removes bacteria and neutralises odour making it the perfect ingredient in your oral care range. Avoid using it on its own as it is quite abrasive and too much can remove more than just your coffee stains. PearlBars toothpaste uses charcoal with bentonite clay to clean teeth while still protecting tooth enamel.



The porous structure also helps absorb odours such as body odour, bad breath and smelly feet which is why it is used in deodorants, toothpaste and foot soaks. 



Beauty products especially acne and blackhead products sometimes contain charcoal to help absorb excess oil and skin impurities and because of its abrasive quality, exfoliate skin.



Activated charcoal doesn't discriminate it will happily absorb medications, vitamins and minerals so avoid ingesting it at the same time as your medications or with a delicious smoothie otherwise it will also detox those from your system. Also avoid taking too much of it so if you are taking a charcoal supplement talk to a health professional before adding another charcoal based supplement or powder. This doesn't apply topically so feel free to charcoal up your body!