What is activated charcoal? (with video)

Activated Charcoal is popping up all over the place. We have both been using activated charcoal in various ways over the past two years and have recently introduced an activated charcoal skin care line to our curated beauty collection. Let’s dive in right away so we can help you understand the magic of activated charcoal.

What is activated charcoal?

You may be wonder what exactly activated charcoal, or activated carbon is. In short, activated carbon is wood or coconut shell that has been heated to high temperatures with very low oxygen concentrations to create a porous charcoal. The charcoal is then steamed to eliminate the non-carbon elements. This is an important step as it gives the charcoal a large surface area, allowing liquids or gases to pass through the charcoal and bind with impurities.

Charcoal is not metabolized, adsorbed or absorbed by the body, however, it is best to choose an activated charcoal that has gone through a steaming activation process, over a chemical activation process.

If you are interested in learning more about the science and chemistry behind activated charcoal, we have attached a link to ThoughtCo.com (https://www.thoughtco.com/how-does-activated-charcoal-work-604294). We will stick to the beauty facts.

What does activated charcoal do?

Activated charcoal is most commonly used to filter water. It has the ability to filter out impurities and contaminants, such as chlorine, odors, and pigments.Activated charcoal has translated its filtering and detoxifying properties into simple skin care that performs.

Activated charcoal powders in skin care can also act as filters to pull out dirt, oil and other skin impurities.

However, use activated charcoal sparingly…

Because activated charcoal can bind with impurities, it also has the potential to bind with nutrients and vitamins in the skin. Here are some tips for using activated charcoal sparingly.

  1. Use an activated charcoal product that has been blended with other ingredients
  2. Mix your activated charcoal with a hydrating or soothing base such as yogurt, honey or aloe gel.
  3. Use activated charcoal products only 1-2x a week.


Who should be using activated charcoal in their skincare routine?

Not everyone needs activated charcoal in their skincare. It is a great ingredient to keep in the cupboard for a rainy day DIY mask, but not a crucial part of a 3 step skin care routine if you have dry to normal skin.

The people that will benefit most from activated charcoal skin care products are those with oily & acne prone skin. Some may say that activated charcoal can help shrink pores, however, we believe it only has the capability to clean out pores.


Brushing your teeth with activated charcoal powder, or by mixing it with your toothpaste can help whiten your teeth.

Make sure not to inhale the powder when using. This can damage the lungs.


Add some charcoal to your body care, this will help to draw out impurities from the skin. If you suffer from acne on the body, try a charcoal soap, gentle scrub or even a mask applied to the chest and back.

Gas & Bloating

We have all experienced gas and bloating especially when traveling. Whether it’s the average airplane food, a case of Bali belly or perhaps the street food you enjoyed isn’t agreeing with you, charcoal can help.

Taking charcoal internally will help to reduce bloating, gas and stomach bugs by binding with the gas producing elements, toxins, and mold.  Keep charcoal in mind for mild stomach bugs but be sure to seek a doctor if symptoms persist.  

Taking charcoal internally may also help with

  • Bad breath and body odor
  • Skin irritations like insect bites, poison ivy
  • Hangovers

If you learned something from this article, or feel inspired to share this information, please share the article or video on your facebook with your friends and family! We also encourage you to subscribe to our Youtube channel for weekly green beauty videos.

You can shop cruelty-free, eco-friendly activated charcoal beauty products from Midnight Paloma at www.thegreenbeautycollective.com and if you have ANY questions, please comment below or shoot us an email at hello@thegreenbeautycollective.com


Thank you for reading and we hope you tune in again next week.


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