5 Ways To Use Charcoal
Better Nutrition|July 2017

This coal-black powder holds inside-out beauty benefits—from whitening your teeth to clearing acne

Lisa Turner

Activated charcoal is nothing new on the health scene. Ancient Egyptians used it as early as 1,500 BC (Cleopatra reportedly lined her eyes with charcoal), and women around the world have used it for teeth whitening, skin care, and natural cleansing. In modern medicine, it’s used in emergency rooms to treat drug overdoses and poisoning by attaching to toxins and preventing their absorption. The theory in beauty products is the same: activated charcoal attracts and binds to toxins, bacteria, dirt, and oil, preventing them from causing harm.

But when we say “charcoal,” we’re not talking about the stuff in the bottom of your grill left over from your last barbecue. Never use that; it’s filled with harmful chemicals. Activated charcoal is derived from wood or coconut husks, and then treated to increase its ability to bind to toxins. The result is a coal-black powder that’s available in several forms, including powders, capsules, soaps, and tooth products.

If you take it internally, drink plenty of water; it can cause dehydration without adequate fluid intake. Because activated charcoal can interact with supplements and medications, check with your health care provider before taking. And try these five ways to include charcoal in your life:

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