What is Activated Charcoal?

My Activated Charcoal Detox soaps are my hottest sellers, always selling out before the next batch has finished curing. It’s an extremely hot item right now because many people have learned about its amazing health benefits. However, I am still constantly asked “what is activated charcoal exactly?” So I am here today to introduce you to one of nature’s amazing remedies!

Activated Charcoal: An Ancient Product with Healing Properties


Activated charcoal is one place where Ayurvedic Medicine and Western Medicine actually agree (right, I’m shocked too!). In fact, due to its long history of effectiveness, the FDA has deemed activated charcoal to be GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe). Activated Charcoal has been used for over ten thousand years by cultures all over the world: Native Americans, Egyptians, Indians, Asians, Greeks, you name it; and for all sorts of uses: digestion, treating wounds, cleaning water, poisoning, and various health ailments.

Activated Charcoal  (aka activated carbon) is charcoal that has been “activated” via steam or air at high temperatures that oxidize the charcoal. Once activated, the charcoal becomes extremely adsorptive (not the same thing as absorption). Adsorption means the charcoal is able to attract and trap many types of substances; separating the bad substances from the good ones.

You may already have used activated charcoal in your home and aren’t even aware of it. One example is water filters. Water filters like Brita use activated charcoal to filter out impurities in the water, adsorbing pollutants and allowing the clean, pure water through. Even my cats water fountain uses a charcoal filter.

Another very common use is in hospitals to treat poisoning. Ever hear of someone having their stomach pumped? Yup, their stomach is pumped with activated charcoal to adsorb the poisons in the body and carrying them out. It is that powerful!

Nowadays, you see activated charcoal products all over the internet in the form of capsules, toothpaste, tooth powders, face masks, deodorants, and soaps. Activated charcoal is strong enough to save your life from poisoning, and yet mild enough to use on the body as a means to detox from the plethora of toxic chemicals used in our everyday personal care products and household cleaners, such as: make-up, deodorants, antiperspirants, perfumes, shampoos, conditioners, lotions, detergents, the list goes on (and on and on).

Activated Charcoal Started my Soap-Making Journeydownload (1)

Honestly, activated charcoal is literally what started my soap-making journey. In my efforts to start living a toxin-free lifestyle, I started making some major lifestyle changes. Everything from giving up unhealthy foods and eating a cleaner, organic diet; to eliminating things like over-the-counter drugs or medicines and supplementing with natural vitamins, minerals, and plant-based options; to swapping store-bought chemical-laden personal care and household products with homemade products made with natural ingredients like essential oils and activated charcoal.

I started focusing on all the ways I could detox my entire body so that I could live a cleaner, healthier, more natural lifestyle. Which then led to my making a lot of my own products, then offering these products to my friends and family, and eventually starting a small homemade soap business. Activated charcoal was literally the very first bar soap I ever made, and one year later it is still my hottest seller. I struggle to keep this one in stock!

The Finer Details of this Fine Black Powder


First and foremost, when shopping for and using Activated Charcoal it is important to focus on Food Grade! Food Grade means the charcoal has met very strict requirements to qualify as Food Grade quality, including very low ash content, virtually no inorganic matter, to be a very fine powder, tasteless, odorless, and non-gritty.

Activated charcoal has many everyday uses: a natural tooth whitener, freshens breath, skin cleanser, acne and unclogging pores, aiding digestion, and detoxing the digestive system of the chemicals in the food we eat.

Activated Charcoal

Warnings, Cautions, and Disclaimers

As with anything really, there are safe limits and contraindications. When used properly, activated charcoal is GRAS (Generally Regarded as Safe) and effective; however, there are some warnings, cautions, and disclaimers. If you have health issues, you should consult your doctor before use. Specifically, if you take prescription medicine. The charcoal can and will adsorb those medicines if ingested together. If taking charcoal capsules alongside medication, consider taking them an hour before any medications, or hours after, so the charcoal doesn’t adsorb the medicine.

If you have been poisoned, it is important to contact Poison Control even while using the charcoal to counteract the poisoning.

Activated charcoal can be quite messy during use due to it’s extremely fine nature. Avoid getting it on your clothes because it can and does stain; in your eyes; and up your nose, as it can be quite uncomfortable.

Activated charcoal is great for natural tooth care, especially removing stains and general cleaning; however, it is black and super fine and can stain non-biological teeth, such as: crowns, composite fillings, and dentures. Use with care if you have non-biological teeth and or tooth surfaces.

For more detailed information on Activated Charcoal, click here to be directed to Wikipedia for generally accepted information.


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