With all of the health and beauty trends nowadays it can be hard to tell what really works as advertised. If you’ve been on the internet or in the beauty section of any store recently, you have probably seen some product using charcoal. Using charcoal in so many products is something that has happened in just the past few years. Because of this recent upswing, I wanted to know what the real benefits of charcoal are for the skin and body.
The charcoal used in beauty and health products is called activated charcoal. This is the black powder made from heating wood, peat, coal, coconut shells, or sawdust at very high temperatures. Heating these carbon-rich materials to such high temperatures makes a more absorbent form of charcoal- activated charcoal. This activated charcoal is what is used to treat the skin and body.
The activated charcoal binds to toxins in the body, but our bodies cannot absorb charcoal. Which means that the charcoal is absorbing those toxins and then being flushed out of the body- riding our body from toxins. For this reason, medically, charcoal is what is used for the emergency treatment of a drug overdose. This same property has many other potential benefits for our bodies.
Kidney Benefits- The kidneys are our body’s natural filtration system. They are used to filter what we need from what we do not, and rid our bodies of what isn’t needed. Because of charcoals ability to bind to toxins, it has been shown that charcoal is able to assist in kidney function and the filtering of toxins and drugs.
Gastrointestinal Benefits- Activated charcoal has been shown to have a few benefits for our gastrointestinal system. Charcoal has proven to be very helpful in dealing with gas and digestive pain. Though not entirely sure why, scientists believe the activated charcoal somehow neutralizes the gas, and when studied people reported reduced gas and abdominal pain after taking activated charcoal daily. The charcoal’s toxin binding abilities have also been shown to benefit the stomach and intestines when dealing with food poisoning, to reduce symptoms and inflammation. Lastly, the activated charcoal has also been shown to bind to LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), preventing our body from absorbing it, lowering LDL cholesterol levels.
Skin Benefits- Activated charcoal also has multiple benefits when it comes to our skin. Used on the surface of the skin charcoal can draw out dirt, chemicals, toxins, and bacteria to the surface so they can be easily removed. Activated charcoal is also used for skin infections and wounds because of it absorbs the harmful bacteria. The charcoal absorbing toxins inside the body will also assist in having clearer skin, as many forms of breakouts and skin irritation start because of toxins inside the body, not just on the surface.
The reason we seem to be seeing charcoal everywhere, is because it really does have many benefits. Scientists have been intrigued by all that activated charcoal can be used for, and are still experimenting to find what dosage will provide maximum aid for each ailment. In the coming years, as the science gets more exact, I’m sure we will only be seeing more charcoal products!