Getting Dirty to Get Clean: Activated Charcoal

It may seem counterintuitive to scrub black powder over your skin or teeth. In fact, the word “charcoal” probably makes you think of summer cookouts rather than a cleansing detox. But “activated charcoal” is a little different. This amazing material has super-absorbency and antibacterial properties that make it ideal for purifying skin and body. The “activation” comes from a special process in which charcoal is exposed to gasses at high temperatures. This process gives the charcoal a very porous surface that acts as a magnet, binding with chemicals and toxins to remove them.

Whiten teeth

Activated charcoal’s natural adhesive qualities help it bind with surface-staining culprits like coffee, tea, wine and plaque and take them off your teeth when you spit it out. Tip: to avoid a messy bathroom sink, spit into the kitchen sink where it’s easier to clean out.

Our pick:
Invitamin Charcoal Tooth & Gum Powder

Deep-clean skin

Used in a cleanser or mask, activated charcoal pulls excess oils and toxins out of the skin to calm inflammation, minimize pores, and restore your skin’s natural pH balance.

Our picks:
Invitamin Charcoal Cleansing Cream, Alaffia Facial Cleanser, Pacha Clarifying Charcoal Bar

Acne spot treatment!

Mix activated charcoal and aloe vera to create a paste. Apply a thick dab of the spot treatment to blemishes with a cotton swab to remove toxins, reduce redness, and dry out and heal the skin.

Alleviate Digestive Problems

The tiny pores in activated charcoal trap chemicals and toxins in the stomach and intestines, which is why it’s used to eliminate excess gas and to treat food poisoning. Keep in mind: you need to drink adequate amounts of water when ingesting charcoal to assist in flushing out toxins. Do not consume activated charcoal within two hours of vitamins or medications because it will keep the body from absorbing them.

Our picks:
Nature’s Way Activated Charcoal, Country Life Activated Charcoal


Activated charcoal can be messy! Be sure to use the powder where it won’t stain clothing, carpet, or other vulnerable surfaces.