There has been a lot of buzz about charcoal over the last few years. From charcoal shampoo, to face washes and masks, to charcoal cocktails and now toothpaste. It seems like the activated charcoal ingredient is everywhere and in everything right now but is it really worth all the hype? Here are the facts you need to know.
What is it?
The charcoal advertised in products today is a form of activated charcoal. Activated charcoal is the byproduct result if burning a carbon rich source. Most of the activated charcoal used today comes from burning wood and coconut shells.
What it does?
The charcoal produced from wood or coconut shells is very porous and has millions of tiny pores. Those pores capture and bind poisons and toxins through a process called adsorption and are flushed out of the body naturally.
There are tons of claims for charcoal ingredient-based products, and while many of the claims have not been scientifically proven there are benefits to charcoal.
Skin: Charcoal is praised in skin cleansers and masks for its ability to draw out dirt and impurities from the skin. It also helps balance oily skin and shrink pores (hooray!)
Hair: Much like the benefits for skin, shampoos with activated charcoal draw out the impurities in your hair and on your scalp. It is safe to use on any hair type including color and will rid your hair of excess residue and any oil that may build up on your scalp.
Teeth: There are whitening properties in charcoal so toothpastes containing charcoal can aid in teeth whitening and stain removal. While using a charcoal toothbrush provides the bonus of keeping your toothbrush fresh due to charcoal being naturally antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral.
Digestion: Charcoal majorly aids in digesting some difficult foods like beans. By binding to byproducts that cause gas and diarrhea, charcoal can ease digestive issues and can be helpful for symptoms of IBS.
Water: A charcoal stick can be used to purify water in the similar way a water filter does. Just drop the stick in a pitcher of water or a water bottle and allow it to adsorb impurities.
There is still a lot of ambiguity about charcoal and that ambiguity leads to a lot of hype marketing. Our suggestion? Stick to the above claims and benefits and skip the hyped trends like charcoal cocktails and lattes, unless you need a cool shot for the gram.