Whenever I open my Instagram explore page, it’s full of charcoal toothpaste, soap bars, face masks, deodorants, smoothie bowls, and even ice cream (?!). What’s with the black superpowder obsession? Is it just another fad or does it actually work? I took it upon myself to find out why charcoal detoxes our bodies (and added some cool products I found super interesting!).
When I was a child, my grandma would give me a pill of activated charcoal whenever I had some digestive problems (such as diarrhea, nausea, or food poisoning). The reason behind it is the fact that activated charcoal actually does something amazing – it traps toxins and chemicals in the body, allowing them to be flushed out so the body doesn’t reabsorb them. I’ve never thought of using it in my beauty products or cooking recipes until I started seeing it all over my social media. And it made me wonder….why now? I’ve known about its magical use ever since I was a child, and it’s obviously one of the older holistic treatments, so what made it become so popular?
Why Activated charcoal?
Activated charcoal comes from heating common charcoal (made from coconut shells or other natural sources) 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.There’s been a LOT of research done on activated charcoal, and all agree how it adsorbs (not absorbs) most poisons, making it an amazing non-invasive treatment. Although I’m sure you all know this, I need to point out how this is NOT your barbecue charcoal (this is definitely not activated and is full of toxins and chemicals!). So, you can’t make a barbecue and then use the remaining charcoal to whiten your teeth! (Yet…)
Most popular uses:
#1 Teeth whitening toothpaste
The amazing adsorbtion process I mentioned before can definitely be seen in toothpaste – charcoal adsorbs plaque and microbes that stain the teeth, cleans them out, changes the pH balance in the mouth and keeps the gum healthy. When it comes to whitening, most dentists actually agree it doesn’t really whiten them – just cleans them from stains, which makes them appear whiter! I’ve personally tried the brand Twin Lotus and I really saw a visible difference (and I am a true coffee addict!).
#2 Facial Masks
We get so much dirt, bacteria, chemicals (hello make up) on our faces every single day, it’s incredible no one ever thought of adding charcoal to our beauty routines before! Not only does it clean it all out, it also removes excess oils and refines skin’s overall appearance. I’ve been obsessed with Boscia Luminizing face mask – the only thing I recommend is using a brush to neatly spread it all over your face. It can get messy 🙂
#3 Helps with bloating, gas, and hangovers!
Yup, you read that correctly! Charcoal binds the gas-causing byproducts in food and prevents the discomfort and bloating! So, if there’s a certain food you know is causing you troubles, make sure to take some activated charcoal half an hour before eating it. When it comes to alcohol, it definitely helps with poisoning, and it also helps clean out all the artificial sweeteners and other chemicals used in alcoholic beverages. A study even showed how when taken with an alcoholic drink, it actually reduces alcohol blood concentration! Crazy, right?? Soon we’re all gonna be carrying some cool little black pills with us to the bar 🙂
#4 Black Cleansing Soap
We all need a good facial cleanser, and with sooo many chemicals and toxins on the market, everyone is trying to go as natural as possible. Using a bath soap with activated charcoal is not only amazing for your face (bye bye blackheads!), but also for your whole body! It takes care of odors, dirt, and all other substances we don’t really want to keep wearing on our skin. I love the one from the brand The Yellow Bird because it’s completely organic and natural, and it also has lemongrass & lavender essential oils so it smells soooo good!
#5 Food Craze
Lately, black smoothie bowls & black ice creams have gone viral, and not just because they’re so damn Instagrammable, but also because of the amazing benefits I’ve been talking about in this post. Adding activated charcoal to your meals can be a great way to flush out those toxins without having to take it in pill form; and it’s fun too! In addition to smoothies and ice cream, I love adding it to my nut butters or make black pancakes (or wraps). The best part is, you can’t taste it, so you’re actually just making some cool looking food in the kitchen!
So to answer my own question, why now? Honestly, I really don’t know! I think the reason behind it is just social media, and everything being able to go viral in the blink of an eye. In this case, it’s a great thing! So many people are getting educated about the amazing benefits from taking activated charcoal, and if their “cheat meal” ends up being a charcoal ice cream, I’m down for it 🙂
XOX, Karla Tafra
Yoga 💕 Nutrition 💕Fitness