What is Activated Charcoal? Not For a BBQ! This is for Health and Beauty


It seems like everyone is talking about charcoal, namely “activated charcoal”, and the benefits it offers the skin and body.

My only experience with charcoal is that I need it to grill outdoors in the summer. As far as beauty concerned, activated charcoal never crossed my mind. I mean, what is activated charcoal anyway? I can’t even fathom it. However, after hearing that it was gaining steam in the beauty world, I did a little research and realized that it’s worth the try.

What is activated charcoal?

Activated charcoal is the common name for carbon and it has been used for thousands of years for various health reason. Even Hippocrates and Pliny used it back when.

Activated charcoal is the result of charring a starting material, such as peat, coal, wood, coconut shell, or petroleum, and exposing it to oxidizing gas (air or steam) at high temperatures. This process creates very fine pores in the charcoal and thus increases its absorptive ability. These pores help the charcoal to effectively trap toxins and other harmful chemicals. In essence, activated charcoal is like regular charcoal, only activated to suck in all the bad stuff in your body or on your skin, depending on how you use it.

Health and beauty uses

The Medical Toxicology and Adverse Drug Experience published a study that shows charcoal prevents gastrointestinal absorption of a slew of drugs and toxins. In emergency situations involving an overdose or wrongful administration of drugs, activated charcoal may just save your life.

In addition to being widely accepted for trapping chemicals to stop certain types of poisoning, activated charcoal is purported to lower cholesterol levels, decrease flatulence, prevent a hangover and treat reduced bile flow. Because of its “trapping” power, activated charcoal is useful in cleansing the intestines. It binds to toxic gases, parasites, candida and other impurities and shepherds them out of the system.

For you beauty needs, activated charcoal is also popular for use in oral and dental hygiene, helping to treat abscess in the gums, whiten teeth, destroy plaque and cure gingivitis. For the skin, this means that activated charcoal binds to impurities and washes them away, leaving your skin taut, clear and bright. It can also clear away pesky acne. Try this anti-acne face mask to start benefiting from its toxin-fighting power:

Activated Charcoal Anti-Acne Face Mask

For 1 use


  • 1 capsule of activated charcoal powder
  • 1 teaspoon aloe vera gel
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 5 drop tea tree oil
  • Pinch of sea salt


Mix all the ingredients together until smooth. Be sure to protect your clothing and surrounding counter tops, as the mixture is black! Apple to skin and let dry – about 20 minutes. Rinse and dry. Repeat 2-3 times a week.

Proceed with caution:

Despite its benefits, activated charcoal’s use comes with caution. Ask your doctor for the intake best suited to your body. Be sure to take activated charcoal two hours before and after any other supplements and drink a lot of water! Combine activated charcoal use with a high fiber diet to help push the charcoal through the intestines and eventually out through the feces. The best time to take it is before bed or about 3-4 hours after dinner.

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Photo Credit: magnoid