Charcoal may be the latest health trend, but what really is it? And more importantly, is it healthy?
All year, charcoal has been jumping onto the shelves and making a huge impact on the world of health and beauty. Users are washing their faces with it, brushing their teeth with it, putting it on in face masks, and even eating it. The trend seems to be beneficial; clear faces and bright teeth are usually the satisfying results.
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However, researchers are becoming concerned about what long-term consequences could occur due to having so much charcoal. But first, what really is charcoal?
The charcoal that you can find on shelves in local stores is called “activated charcoal,” a special kind of charcoal that undergoes many different processes in order to become safe to the general public for use. The charcoal is heated to insanely high temperatures, and then oxidized in a process known as “activation.” After this process, the charcoal comes out more porous, which distinguishes it from the charcoal you put in your grill. This processed version of real charcoal acts as a detox for users of all types.
There are many benefits that come from using this activated charcoal, especially in health and beauty markets. Companies like Bioré and Garnier have manufactured the new product into face washes, that gets rid of oil settling in your pores. The result is a clean, dry face that feels and looks amazing. Charcoal toothpaste, on the market and homemade, is known for whitening and brightening teeth.
There are even online recipes for making your own and instructions on how to use it properly on your teeth. On Instagram, people are turning to charcoal-infused food, which creates an exotic-looking menu for anyone interested.
The dark, mysterious coloring appeals to young consumers and offers extra detox agents in your everyday foods. In addition, there are certain companies that sell activated charcoal supplement pills that supposedly soak up toxins in your stomach. All of these methods of taking activated charcoal seem harmless, but there’s research to suggest otherwise.
Health concerns about activated charcoal have risen after its popularity skyrocketed. To start, short-term consequences include vomiting and diarrhea, which are signs that the body is rejecting the foreign substance that’s being ingested. Taking the charcoal through food or pill can cause damage to your internal systems. There’s also the problem of constipation and black stools, both of which are unpleasant to face on any day. Charcoal supplements are additionally not to be taken with other medications, as it decreases the effectiveness of both the medication and the supplement. Moreover, activated charcoal is a natural remedy, and is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In terms of external uses, activated charcoal can cause allergic reactions, and in the worst cases, horrible rashes. Washes and masks that contain charcoal are also known to over-dry the face, and cause irritation that results in painful peeling. One of the biggest issues with activated charcoal is that there is “no evidence supporting the regular consumption of activated charcoal as either beneficial or helpful.”
Suffice it to say that while the new activated charcoal trend sounds miraculous in most cases, scientists aren’t sure it’s actually beneficial, and the effects could be damaging your body.
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