Activated Charcoal…So what’s all the hype about? And what does it really do?

I’m sure by now you’ve all heard about Activated Charcoal right? But let’s dig a little bit deeper into this product. I wanted to know “who, what, when, where, how, and why this product is so amazing. So I did my research and of course my testing of products with this ingredient! Here are my findings:

Activated Charcoal – “Activated charcoal” is similar to common charcoal that heats up your grill, BUT the cosmetics grade is made especially for use as a medicine. To make activated charcoal, manufacturers heat common charcoal in the presence of a gas that causes the charcoal to develop lots of internal spaces or “pores.” These pores help activated charcoal “trap” chemicals. Some of us may have heard that it is commonly used in the emergency treatment of certain kinds of poisoning. (true) My sister is a nurse.

But, because Cosmetics grade Activated Charcoal has the ability to absorb 200-300 times it’s weight in impurities it works great as a Skin Clearing soap or mask. Because activated charcoal removes toxins, it can help reduce the instances of acne and other skin impurities you might suffer from. It also works wonders for completely removing makeup.

Relieves Bites and Bee Stings

Mixing a poultice of activated charcoal with a bit of water and cornstarch or flaxseed powder can help cure bee stings, poison ivy rashes, snake bites, spider bites (including highly poisoning bites from the Brown Recluse or Black Widow), and other poisoning bites.

A paper published by I. Makalinao and A.D. Woolf of Harvard Medical School mentions the effectiveness of a charcoal poultice for drawing out poisons from insect and spider bites. Additionally, there are many stories online from people who claim that their lives were saved by applying an activated charcoal poultice to bee stings or spider bites – especially those who are highly allergic to bee stings and didn’t have epinephrine on hand.

Activated charcoal is the latest ingredient to take the beauty industry by storm — giving other hipster favorites like clay and coconut oil a run for their money. And now the black residue is being used in everything from teeth-whitening solutions to a lemonade cleanse, and even as the key ingredient in an expensive new facial.

“How well does (charcoal) work on the skin?

Truthfully, there isn’t solid clinical data one way or the other,” says dermatologist Dr. Craig Kraffert, who chalks up the popularity of the stuff to its weird factor. “Using a pitch-black product to purify the skin sounds both intriguing and cool … the uniqueness of the ingredient itself, especially its color, is likely the main driver behind the recent surge in popularity of activated charcoal facial cleansers and masks.” Science aside, US beauty bloggers are bonkers for the black goo, citing it as the new way to relieve and cleanse the body.

I personally have used and do use products with this ingredient, and even though there isn’t much in the way of clinical data research on this product, I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! I love the way it makes my skin feel. BUT I do have to say beware, it’s messy! (I will deal with the little mess because to me this stuff really works!)

Stuff you may/may not have hear about Activated Charcoal:

“You can do a cleanse using charcoal,” They come in capsule form as well as powder form. I tried this and let me tell you it works! I took a couple charcoal capsules a day during my 2 day cleanse.I felt less sluggish and less bloated after this cleanse.

Drink it:

The Los Angeles-based chain Juice Served Here has created Charcoal Lemonade ($8), made of raw sugar cane juice, lemon, clay and activated charcoal. The company promises that the charcoal acts as a liver detoxifier and a “hangover helper.” (I have never tried this one myself but have heard good feedback from some of my friends who swear by it) But, again, experts aren’t crazy for charcoal — at least not the daily supplement version.

What about the new craze with using Activated Charcoal as a teeth whitener?

It’s been said that Activated charcoal is known to be effective because it aggressively absorbs tannins, the compounds found in coffee, tea, tobacco, herbal teas, blueberries, wine, spices, and other foods that stain teeth.( and I love my coffee and my wine) It does not, however, lock onto minerals like calcium in our teeth which is why it won’t harm tooth enamel even if used every single day. Even better, activated charcoal balances the pH of the mouth which discourages the growth of pathogens and the formation of cavities and helps preserve the health of the gum tissue. I have tried this myself and the difference was noticeable but not remarkable. But in all fairness, I just started doing this. So my guess is like with anything else, with prolonged exposure or usage comes the true testament.

All in all, I would say there are enough GOOD reasons to try it out in your home remedies and in your cosmetic products!

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