activated charcoal
activated charcoal

What is Activated Charcoal exactly?

Activated charcoal is carbon that has undergone a different production process than the briquettes used in a grill. In a medical setting, activated charcoal is used primarily in emergencies, when someone has overdosed on oral medication.

The activated charcoal’s porous structure can absorb toxins in the stomach and could save the life of someone who has overdosed, says Dr. Robert Weber, administrator of Pharmaceutical Services at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Everything from body scrubs, face masks, and oral hygiene products are offering activated charcoal variations so you can benefit from this natural ingredient’s superpowers.

7 uses for Activated Charcoal

Acne treatment

Treat acne and breakouts with the antibacterial properties of Activated Charcoal Powder, which helps to remove acne-causing bacteria and purify the skin to promote healing. Mix 1/2 a teaspoon with 2 teaspoons of natural Aloe Vera and smooth over the affected area. Let it dry, leaving on for 15-20 minutes, and rinse off thoroughly. For body acne, an Activated Charcoal Body Soap can help to remove dirt and lightly exfoliate the skin to prevent further breakouts.

Purifying face mask

To help unclog pores, mix 1 tablespoon of Activated Charcoal with 1 1/2 tablespoons of Bentonite Clay Powder, add a splash of water or Rosewater, then apply the mixture to your nose or any areas with enlarged pores. Leave on for 15 minutes and rinse off thoroughly using a Muslin Cloth.

Healing shampoo

A great remedy for an itchy or sore scalp, mix a tablespoon of Activated Charcoal into your usual shampoo, leave on your scalp for 5 minutes, then rinse and condition as usual. The anti-fungal properties of Charcoal help to control and remove any irritating bacteria on the scalp, providing soothing relief from any itchiness or discomfort.

Digestive supplement

Add one teaspoon of Activated Charcoal to a glass of water twice daily for a cleansing and detoxifying supplement. When taken internally, Activated Charcoal can improve digestive function and immunity by helping to remove heavy metals, viruses, and parasites from the gut and encouraging the growth of good bacteria. If taking internally, always read the label and use only as directed. If you are taking any medication consult with your healthcare professional first.

Facial cleanser

The antibacterial properties of Activated Charcoal make it a great daily facial cleanser to prevent breakouts. The Life Basics Konjac Sponge Bamboo Charcoal is infused with Activated Bamboo Charcoal to help balance acne prone and problematic skin, helping to remove makeup, grime and build up and maintain balanced pH levels.

Teeth whitener

A very mild, gentle abrasive, Activated Charcoal makes a great teeth whitener, helping to remove bacteria and lift stubborn stains from tea, coffee, and wine. The Pollen Botanicals Zoom Teeth Whitener contains Activated Charcoal in combination with Bentonite Clay to effectively remove stains and strengthen teeth without damaging the enamel.


With effective whitening, polishing and cleansing power, Activated Charcoal make a really beneficial ingredient in toothpaste, helping to balance pH levels, kill bad bacteria, and prevent tooth decay and gingivitis. The My Magic Mud Whitening Toothpaste Peppermint contains food-grade Activated Coconut Shell Charcoal to help remove plaque and remineralize the teeth without damaging tooth enamel and can be used twice daily to replace your usual toothpaste. It’s also anti-inflammatory, helping to calm down oral inflammation.

So is activated charcoal healthy?

Activated charcoal and its effects are limited to your gut so, regardless of what the marketing hype tells you, your ‘detox’ juice cannot absorb toxic materials from other areas of the body. There’s no evidence supporting the regular consumption of activated charcoal as either beneficial or helpful. What’s more, the idea that you need additional support to help your body remove everyday toxins to stay healthy is a myth. In a typically healthy person, detoxification is very effectively done by the body via organs like the liver and kidneys and is not aided by detox juices, smoothies or supplements.

However, if you are on prescription medication, you would be well advised to avoid or at the very least, consume with caution, because activated charcoal may make that medication less effective.