Activated Charcoal: What's the Big Deal?

Everyone seems to be making a big deal about Activated Charcoal lately! Between soaps and pills and makeup, it's like Cranberries at Christmastime: gettin' into everything. 

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So what's the big deal? Well, let's break it down without having a break-down, as my good friend would say.

All About Activated Charcoal (AC)

What is Activated Charcoal?
It becomes "Activated" by exposing it to gas, which makes the surface area larger (which is beneficial because of how it works). It comes in pill form, and powder form. 
image from: http://amzn.to/2lBbRs6

How does Activated Charcoal work?
Think of AC as a super powerful sticky paper towel.

 It doesn't absorb, it adsorbs! It grabs toxins and chemicals and won't let go of them (like sticky tape).

When you flush the charcoal, you flush whatever stuck to the charcoal too.

Let me say it another way: It catches stuff in your stomach (if swallowed) or on the surface of your skin (if used topically) before it can be absorbed.

Remember how I said the Activation process makes the surface area larger? The larger the surface area, the more space there is for stuff to stick to the surface!

image from Plum Dragon Herbs: http://amzn.to/2mfOXDL

What does it Adsorb? 
From NHH: "lead acetate, strychnine, DDT, many drugs (including cocaine, iodine, penicillin, aspirin, phenobarbital), and inorganic substances (chlorine, lead, and mercury)."

          You might like: Bamboo Activated Charcoal soap!
Are there any side-effects?
Because of the way it binds to things and keeps them from being absorbed, it should not be used internally (aka don't swallow a AC pill) if you're taking certain kinds of medication, such as antidepressants or mood stimulators. Some people have reported black stools (makes sense if you take a lot of it!), black tongue, or constipation. Check with your doctor before you begin taking any internal medication. 

Who should use it?
Check with your doctor before using it for young children internally. However anyone can use it externally in the form of a paste, a soap, or even just brushing it onto the surface of the skin!

            You might like: Activated Charcoal Toothbrush! Biodegradable and environmentally friendly!

What can Activated Charcoal do for you?
There are a variety of things you can do with AC. Some of the benefits include:

  • Teeth Whitening
  • Clearing up acne
  • Use for non-harmful eyeliner or mascara 
  • Stopping tummy-aches
  • Facial Mask (here's a how-to)
  • Treating bug bites
  • Swallow if accidentally ate something toxic or poisonous

Hope you enjoyed! If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below and I promise I'll get back to you :D

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Copyright 2016 Haley Mathiot. All reviews are 100% honest and unbiased. One or more items featured in the blog post may have been free or discounted. Receiving free or discounted product does not affect review. For more please see my disclaimer page.