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Health Benefits of Charcoal

What are the health benefits of charcoal? Purifying and detoxifying. Learn why activated charcoal is being used in face masks and other products.

Charcoal Health Benefits: Skincare, Beauty, and Detoxifying

Not to be confused with the stuff you'd use to fuel your next barbecue, activated charcoal is a relatively new healthcare additive that can have impressive benefits when used correctly.

You've probably seen plenty of charcoal products on the market, from face masks to shampoos to teeth-whitening treatments—even veggie-packed smoothies with a spoonful of charcoal added in! If you've never tried activated charcoal, you're probably wondering what all the fuss is about.

In the right doses, charcoal can have some incredible impact on the body. Its natural ability to trap toxins gives the body a chance to process those toxins without ever risking exposure. (However, charcoal can trap just about everything—including vitamins, minerals, and medications like birth control—so it should always be used in moderation.)

What are the benefits of activated charcoal?

How charcoal Protects the body from poison

Believe it or not, charcoal got its healthcare start as an emergency treatment for poisonings and overdoses. Used in hospitals and substance abuse centers, activated charcoal pills can be taken to trap poisonous molecules before they can be absorbed by the body. Because the stomach can't digest the charcoal, it also can't digest the toxins it has trapped, and both are flushed out through the natural digestive system. (This method is known to cause nausea and vomiting, however, because of the large doses of charcoal needed to stop a potential poisoning.)

How to get Clean water with carbon filtration

Developing countries and college students alike have used charcoal to filter their water, sometimes without realizing it. Carbon water filters, like your favorite Brita pitcher, use minuscule pieces of activated charcoal to pull toxins out of water, making it safe (and delicious) to drink.

How charcoal Brightens the smile

One of the earliest "trendy" uses for activated charcoal was as a tooth-whitening treatment. Because charcoal traps toxins and acts as a natural exfoliator, it works wonders on removing tooth stains. Charcoal powder can be mixed with water and applied with a regular toothbrush, or added to toothpaste if the gritty texture and taste is too aggressive on its own. However you choose to add charcoal to your tooth-brushing routine, you should be careful not to swallow it—once you've brushed your teeth with it, that charcoal contains plenty of plaque, gunk, and additives you don't want floating around your digestive system.

How to Clear up skin with activated charcoal masks

Because of its chemical makeup and physical characteristics, charcoal acts as a natural exfoliant while also trapping any toxins that rise to the surface of the skin. Used in face masks, lotions, and scrubs, activated charcoal can clean, freshen, and restore skin. In some cases, charcoal can be too severe for people with sensitive skin (irritation is one of the most common side effects). To that end, it's important to carefully follow manufacturer instructions when you use a skin product with charcoal in it. For people who know they have sensitive skin, it's a good idea to consult your dermatologist before trying any new skincare products, no matter how many spa-centric adjectives that face mask has in its product description.

How charcoal can Improve digestion

Some studies have shown charcoal to have a positive impact on digestion, especially in cases where digestion was already disrupted in some way. For example, someone suffering from excessive gas or food poisoning may experience relief after taking a dose of charcoal in pill form. The charcoal traps the toxic food particles wreaking havoc in the stomach, giving your body a chance to get rid of them without absorbing too much. (On the other hand, too much charcoal can lead to even more digestive issues, so this route should always be taken with caution—and with a doctor's advice.)

can charcoal Get rid of unpleasant smells?

Did you know charcoal is a natural deodorant? There's a reason your barbecue smells so good! In the same way that charcoal traps toxins, it can also trap the molecules that contribute to bad smells. Now, I'm not advising you grab a brick out of the grill and rub it on your armpits—but certain powder-form deodorants and underarm treatments have been found to reduce gross smells when used in moderation. Charcoal does a great job of neutralizing bad odors—especially when added to products that replace the smell of pit sweat with roses and freshly folded laundry.

How to Restore toxin-damaged hair with Charcoal

Like the skin, the hair picks up toxins and additives over time because of its constant exposure to the air. Add that to the sprays, gels, dyes, and chemical treatments we frequently expose it to, and our hair becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, dead skin cells, and chemical additives that take away from its natural softness and luster. There are some hair-care products on the market that include measured amounts of charcoal to trap these toxins, washing them away with your next rinse. If you're not sure what impact charcoal will have on your hair and you don't want to fork over the money for an expensive bottle, you can start small by adding a sprinkle of charcoal to your regular shampoo or conditioner. If you have light hair, it's a good idea to try your charcoal treatment on a small amount of hair to see if there is any discoloration—before you dump a bottle on your whole head.

Resources— Medical News Today, CareSpot, Best Health Magazine

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