There’s almost always a new health fad that pops out every year and nowadays, that seems to be activated charcoal. People just can’t seem to get enough of it and why not? From common hearsay, activated charcoal seems to be some sort of super-drug, capable of whitening teeth, clearing up one’s skin, and getting rid of that pesky hangover, too—or so they say. But as with every trend that turns up every few years or so, activated charcoal is surrounded by both facts and fiction and here are just a few things you have to know.
What is activated charcoal?
Activated charcoal is charcoal that has been exposed to extreme heat and certain specific gases. This exposure forms small holes or pores to appear on and these pores allow the charcoal, now “activated” to trap certain compounds like toxins. This is why activated charcoal is known as a detoxifier.
First, activated charcoal is time-controlled meaning it only works within (about) an hour of poisoning, when the substance one has taken is still in the stomach and not yet in the small intestine. So if you think that you can detox yourself with activated charcoal after years of consuming certain types of drugs, you’re wrong. Another thing is activated charcoal doesn’t discriminate between toxins and nutrients. It can adsorb (that is to cause adhesion in a thin layer of molecules) poison but it can adsorb vitamins and nutrients also, which is why putting activated charcoal in lemonade or fruit juice may actually be counterproductive. Lastly, not all toxins are adsorbed by activated charcoal. There are certain substances that it is unable to bind to, for example, alcohol. (via Eater)
CLAIM #1: Activated charcoal clears the skin up.
CLAIM #2: Activated charcoal whitens teeth
SEMI-TRUE. BUT IT COMES WITH A RISK.
CLAIM #3: Activated charcoal reduces bloating.
YET AGAIN, INCONCLUSIVE.
CLAIM #4: Activated charcoal helps reduce body odor.
A lot of the miracles that people attribute to activated charcoal are yet to be proven scientifically. This is because there simply hasn’t been enough studies done on activated charcoal to prove anything. It’s a fairly recent trend and there hasn’t been enough time to fully understand what it can and can’t do. Bottom line? Don’t jump in too quickly on trends because most of the time, no one really knows if it’s truly effective or just simply trends.
Have you added activated charcoal in your beauty routine? What do you have to say?