Activated Charcoal: Is It Safe And Healthy?


It doesn’t take long for the tiniest things to become the biggest and most current trending products on the market. When we were kids, it was Silly Bandz and Heelys. These products fall into the category of “fads.” A fad is an item that is in high demand for a short amount of time. Think of it as a “get rich quick” product or a “one-hit-wonder” in music. However, it isn’t often that a trending item has more benefits than its main use. But activated charcoal has become one of those items.

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Defining Activated Charcoal

 According to Merriam-Webster.com, activated carbon is charcoal that has been heated or otherwise treated to increase its adsorptive power. In an article written on Poison.org, activated charcoal is produced by burning carbon-rich materials at very high temperatures. Then, the substance goes through a special process that “makes lots of holes and crevices on the charcoal particles to increase surface area and available binding sites.”

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 Activated charcoal can also be used to clean water and help clear skin. It’s even used in emergency rooms to treat patients who have been poisoned. This is because activated charcoal serves as a great binding agent and allows foreign substances to “stick” to it. This prevents those substances from being absorbed the bloodstream. In other words, it keeps the poisonous “stuff” out of your body before it can cause severe damage.

We’ve all seen the most popular use for activated charcoal: Teeth whitening. The “black mouth selfie” spread all over the internet, which lead to activated charcoal becoming a trending beauty product.

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Is It Safe?

Activated charcoal is so popular because it is a cheaper, “natural” alternative use to bleaching your teeth. However, there are some concerns as to the products safety and its effectiveness. Yes, activated charcoal is safe to use and ingest in small amounts. When it comes to teeth whitening, it’s best not to use it daily. One of the reasons is because of the abrasiveness of charcoal and brushing. The combination of the two over-time can lead to the thinning of your enamel.

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Tooth enamel serves as the protector of the nerves inside your teeth. Usually when someone has tooth sensitivity, it is because the enamel is thin in that area. Constantly brushing your teeth with activated charcoal can lead to tooth sensitivity. Once your enamel is gone, there’s no getting it back. When faced with a health emergency, it’s best to give a poisoned person activated charcoal sooner than later.  You want to limit the amount of time the poisonous substance spends in the bloodstream.

What Does It Look Like?

Activated charcoal comes in many different forms: loose powders, capsules, tablets, whitening strips and even toothpastes. Whichever form you choose to buy depends upon what you’re using it for and how effective it might be. For example, you might choose to buy charcoal whitening strips as a quick fix, which may not provide long-lasting results. You can purchase these charcoal whitening strips from Beauty Landa.com for $29.99.

Charcoal Teeth Whitening Strips

You can take charcoal tablets as a detox or crush them and make them into a DIY face mask. You can purchase these tablets below at Lushusa.com for $10.95.

No matter how you decide to include activated charcoal into your lifestyle, be sure to contact your physician first to get a personalized recommendation for you.

Have you tried activated charcoal yet? Let us know your thoughts below!
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