These are little black pills most people do not have in their medicine cabinets – activated charcoal pills! You may have heard about activated charcoal because of its ability to whiten teeth. Activated charcoal not only whitens teeth, but has some other uses to make it worth keeping around.
What is activated charcoal?
Activated charcoal (aka activated carbon) is a form of processed carbon. This form of carbon has small pores to increase surface area available for absorption or chemical reactions. It is produced from carbonaceous source materials (coconut husk, wood, nutshells, coal, etc.) and is activated physically or chemically.
Activated charcoal goes beyond at-home use. It is used in gas purification, gold purification, air filters, gas masks and more.
The best kind of activated charcoal
The easiest way to keep and take activated charcoal is in pill form. To this day, I have not seen it in stores, so I purchase mine from Amazon. The cheapest and best seller is Nature’s Way Activated Charcoal. If you want to use them to whiten your teeth or anything else, you can break the capsules open easily.
However, if you are a more health-conscious person and want something different, there is Organic Coconut Activated Charcoal Powder, which claims to be better than activated charcoal made from wood.
Uses for Health
Activated charcoal can come in handy if you have it at home in a pill form. It may look ominous in the form of black pills, but it traps dangerous toxins, chemicals, and poisons in its tiny pores. (Though, if seriously poisoned, please still call the poison control center.) As with any other pills or substances, you should seek medical advice from your doctor before taking them for any reason. Not only does activated charcoal absorb toxins, it can also absorb the vitamins you take. So, wait a couple hours before taking some if you have just taken vitamins.
Personally, my favorite uses for activated charcoal pills are for hangovers, upset stomachs, and to prevent food poisoning.
You can take a couple pills before going out to drink, or after you get home to prevent hangovers. I usually get a gross feeling even if I’ve only had a couple drinks, but activated charcoal prevents that ickyness.
If you feel like you ate something sketchy, or if you do come down with food poisoning, you can take some activated charcoal to help. The same goes for upset stomachs. They are great pills to have if you are traveling abroad and eating some weird food.
Uses for Beauty
The most popular use for activated charcoal when it comes to beauty is teeth whitening. To do this, simply dip a clean, wet toothbrush in some activated charcoal powder and brush gently for 2 minutes. Spit, and then rinse. Be careful, as activated charcoal can be very messy. It stains and can be difficult to clean off of surfaces. If you don’t want the mess, there is Activated Charcoal Toothpaste available!
Activated charcoal is now a more popular ingredient in skincare, since it traps toxins. You can make your own cleanser by combining coconut oil, baking soda, and about 6 capsules of activated charcoal. For sensitive skin, you can use 1 cup of coconut oil and 1/4 cup of baking soda. For more of an exfoliating scrub, use a 1:1 ratio. This can also be used as a face mask.
Another popular beauty use that has been making its rounds on the internet is the famed charcoal peel-off mask. This quickly went viral because of a hilarious youtube review for a charcoal face mask. So try this at your own risk!