One night I was brushing my teeth with a new product I ordered - my husband came in the bathroom and said something that made me smile, and his stare made me laugh. I quickly looked at my reflection of black teeth peaking through my smile and understood his shock.
I had ordered the new tooth powder after researching natural ways to whiten my teeth. The main ingredient was activated charcoal. Three years later and I still love my InVitamin tooth powder, with its myrrh and stevia powder, among other herbal ingredients, that leave my teeth squeaky clean, and bright and my mouth feeling refreshed.
As activated charcoal has become more popular in recent years we are beginning to see it in everything from toothpaste to face-masks. I want to address how it actually works as a detoxing agent.
How it works - it acts through adsorption rather than absorption. The difference is the chemicals or “toxins” bind to the porous surface of the charcoal through the heating process where the pores and negative charge of the activated carbon "charcoal" are created.
What to look for - look for a source that is bamboo activated charcoal which is a renewable resource.
What it can be used for -
Whitening teeth. Through adsorbing microscopic bits from tea or coffee that stain the teeth, the activated charcoal can aid in whitening as well as balancing the pH in the mouth, reducing bad breath. There are many options, but here is a simple DIY recipe -
Activated Charcoal Teeth Whitening Paste
1 capsule of activated charcoal
1/8 tsp of organic coconut oil
1 drop peppermint essential oil
1 drop cinnamon essential oil
1 drop of stevia
Simply mix the ingredients and dip your dampened toothbrush into the powder mixture and brush your teeth like normal for 2 minutes. Then rinse throughly to remove any excess.
If you are not into DIY and need a time saver, the one I love from InVitamin can be found here.
Skin Detox/Acne Care. When struggling with breakouts, activated charcoal is a great way to rescue over taxed skin. When the micro biome is out of balance it can use the help of the activated charcoal's adsorption by removing surface toxins and oils. The best part is that the charcoal can also balance the pH of the skin, which tends to be more acidic than the desired 5.5 pH, during angry breakouts. Here is our DIY recipe -
Acne Soothing Activated Charcoal Recipe
1 capsule of activated charcoal
1 tsp aloe vera gel (be sure it’s pure!)
2 tsp organic wildflower honey
1 drop lavender essential oil
1 drop frankincense essential oil
Mix together to make a paste. Apply to clean skin and leave for 10-15 minutes. Gently remove the mask using a warm (not hot) moist towel in circular massage motions. Be sure not to scrub off the mask as you want to be gentle with the skin during a breakout or you may open up the bacteria filled blemishes.
My last favorite use for activated charcoal is for
Water Filtration. Activated Charcoal traps pollutants and impurities. It’s used as a step in water filtration systems from whole house systems to individual water bottles that have a stick of activated charcoal in them and filter the water while you drink it. I took a Camel Back water bottle like this on a trip with me so I could get drinking water anywhere and not worry about what was in the tap water because most of the things would be filtered out. For a simple way to clean your water you can buy an activated carbon stick and add it to your glass water bottle to ensure toxins are trapped and your water is cleaner. Of course there are water pitchers that have activated carbon in them and will filter the water through the charcoal first, but in a pinch it’s great to have backup while you are out and about.
Our family uses activated charcoal for other health concerns such a bloating or tummy aches. If you want to find out more from a medical professional on the benefits of Activated Charcoal, you can read the Top 10 Uses for Activated Charcoal by Dr. Joshua Axe, one of my favorite holistic MD's.