True grit! Charcoal’s health and beauty benefits

Charcoal has been used in emergency rooms for several years, but only recently, it is gaining popularity amongst health-nuts. Experts say it can detox your system, minimize pores and deep-cleanse hair!

Activated charcoal, as opposed to regular charcoal we use in braais, is often used in air filtration systems.  Hospitals have been using it as a treatment for poisoning and drug overdoses for some time and it has apparently been proven to be more effective than stomach pumping.  Here is why:  activated charcoal has incredible absorption and detoxifying properties, it traps toxins and chemicals in the body and allows them to be flushed out.

activated charcoal

Black bun (with charcoal) burger at Fresh Earth

What does this mean for us?

We are all exposed to toxins and chemicals every day. Most of us are aware of the pesticides that are used in growing food but we forget about other aspects.  Did you know that the average woman is exposed of at least 12 products containing 168 different ingredients every day? Many of these chemical additives have a negative impact on the condition of our skin and our overall health.  Interestingly, when toxins are ingested, enzymes in the saliva and the stomach break them down and they can be largely flushed out of the body. Chemicals that come in contact with the skin e.g. skincare, shampoos and cleaning products, are however absorbed directly into the bloodstream making them even more harmful than toxins in food.

From a health perspective, removing the toxins from your system can reduce joint pain, increase energy and increase mental function. A study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that activated charcoal also prevents gas forming in the intestine after a typical gas-producing meal, so by popping activated charcoal an hour before a meal you might consider ‘gassy’ could keep bloating at bay. Food grade activated charcoal can be taken in tablet form or as a powder in juices. It is said to be best consumed as an occasional detox or pick-me-up rather than daily supplement.

Dischem activated charcoal capsules

Nature’s Choice Detoxinol

Because toxins “stick” to the activated charcoal, it is also a good candidate for a deep skin cleanser and detoxifier. People who love activated charcoal say it treats pimples, minimizes pores, and leaves skin and hair looking brighter. It can pull out oil, dirt and toxins from hair and help with scalp conditions like dandruff, redness, oily and itchy scalps. Despite its appearance, the all-natural product won’t add new chemicals to your skin when you use it.

Many beauty houses have now developed products containing charcoal. Here are a few locally available products.  Click the image to shop online:

Kalyan Bamboo Charcoal Soap with Tea Tree black detox mask


Dermalogica charcoal rescue mask


The Body Shop Body Mask Himalayan Charcoal


Rose en Bos Lavender & Charcoal Soap Bar


Hask shampoo charcoal


Loreal Men Expert Hydra Energetic Wash


Shop some great activated charcoal-based products here!

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