There is a big charcoal trend out in the market at the moment.
From food items like ice-cream & gym drinks, to soaps, creams and more. I’m always wary of trends, cynical probably, because many usually fads that get overdone, worse turn into dangerous things, an example of that for me is raw kale.
I grew up with charcoal, we used it for cooking, my grandma also used it to brush her teeth, back then in her time, they didn’t have toothpaste, the used small tree branches and charcoal to clean their teeth. She also used charcoal, very very small amounts to ferment milk in a gourd for our food. Where I come from we live for bbq’d meat - lovingly called Nyama Choma, roasted on charcoal, usually will have bits and pieces of charcoal when consumed.
Back then I had no idea why charcoal was good, what I knew is I trusted my grandma, who’s currently 107 yrs old implicitly from her history of using everyday things to preserve, make better, or aid in health items.
As an adult, I went 20 years without ever thinking about charcoal or anything to do with it. In that time, I struggled with dry skin in all seasons - very dry in the summer, itchy in the winter, so bad that I had to use vaseline petroleum jelly to survive the dry winter air on my skin. The weird thing was I had soft skin, yet still dry skin. Going back to visit my grandma, I shared my issues in passing, she looked up at me and said to me, “do you scrub? Are you using charcoal to scrub your skin?” Of-course I was not. I can’t remember the last time I did a full body scrub in the shower, let alone use charcoal? I moisturise well and used bath scrub gloves. I just wasn’t sure why that wasn’t working.
My grandma’s loving reminder got me back to research, determined to find what would work for me and my skin issues. That search ended up with Activated Charcoal soaps and sugar + charcoal + coffee body scrubs. My skin has never looked and felt better. I get people touching me, almost everywhere I go commenting on my skin, how smooth it feels, it's always glowing.
Scientifically Why Charcoal?
Charcoal is known for its ability to absorb and draw out oil from the skin. This makes charcoal a fantastic addition to soaps, scrubs, masks and more.
There are various types, including activated charcoal, sugar charcoal and Japanese charcoal (aka white charcoal). The different types of charcoal have various origins and production methods. “Regular” charcoal usually comes from wood, coal or peat. This type of charcoal is often used as fuel. Activated charcoal, on the other hand, is most commonly used for medical, beauty or purification processes. To become “activated,” the charcoal goes through a high temperature steam activation process. This process increases its surface area, which increases the charcoal’s ability to absorb and filter. This makes activated charcoal the proper choice for medical and cosmetic use."
3 Amazing uses of Charcoal I have personally known:
- Whitens Teeth
Have your teeth become stained from coffee, tea, wine or berries? Activated charcoal helps whiten teeth while promoting good oral health by changing the pH balance in the mouth, helping prevent cavities, bad breath and gum disease. It's a cheap, natural and effective way to keep teeth clean and bright
What to watch out for:, it can (and will) stain fabrics. Use it at a bathroom sink, careful not to stain your clothes or towels.
How to use it: Wet a toothbrush and dip into powdered activated charcoal. Brush teeth as normal, paying special attention to areas showing the most staining. Sip a bit of water, swish through mouth thoroughly and spit. Rinse well, until spit is clear. Repeat 2 times a week.
2. Skin and Body Health
Activated charcoal is effective at softening your skin by improving absorbency for your moisturizers.
- Soaps: Use activated charcoal soaps like our Activated Charcoal Lemon Grass Soap, ensure it is organic, with no chemicals. Use it for your face, body and hair.
- Scrubs: Once a week use a body scrub - easily make one at home, see my recipe here. Always moisturize your skin after a bath or shower, in the day. When I shower at night, I don’t moisturize, I let my skin breath, or use a very very light oil in the winter, coconut oil is great for that.
- Facial masks: masks are effective especially for people who struggle with acne, once a week should be effective, key with everything is to stay consistent.
- Using activated charcoal helps with body odor and acne
3. Solving Digestive Issues
There is a limited number scientific research to support the fact that Activated Charcoal is good for your healthy digestive tract. AC hasn’t been commonly used in the west, and for me it's an ancient traditional remedy. For the western world, more research needs to be done to confirm the many claims in the trend at the moment.
Believing my 107year old grandma “Koko” as we call her. I caution that AC should be ingested in very small amounts. We only ever ate it in very small amounts from bbq’d meat or when drinking fermented milk (Kefir). Kefir helped with our digestion issues but I can’t fully say it was because of the activated charcoal.
Have you experienced or tried activated charcoal products?
Connect below and let me know what your experience was.