What Charcoal Can Do For You

Charcoal is a natural detoxifier that offers a wide range of health and beauty benefits. Specifically, activated charcoal (no, not the barbeque kind) comes from natural carbon sources like nut shells, peat or wood that’s been oxidized with high temperatures, making it very porous. Those nooks and crannies then act like magnets to draw away toxins and impurities on contact. Here’s how it can work for you.

Charcoal draws dirt, oil and bacteria from your pores

To renew and smooth skin, try deep-cleaning charcoal soaps, scrubs and masks that bring impurities to the surface where they can be easily rinsed away. For those with oily skin or active exercise regimens, try cleansing the face daily with Derma E Purifying Gel Cleaner. It uses activated charcoal, antioxidant-rich seaweed extracts and nourishing aloe vera to get rid of excess oil or sweat and leave skin glowing and renewed. For shower time, try the unscented Purifying Detox Facial Bar from The Seaweed Bath Co.; it gently removes impurities and protects skin with seaweed and green tea extracts.

To gently clean mature or sensitive skin, the 100% Pure Charcoal Konjac Sponge is made from starchy plant roots and charcoal bamboo. Its soft, gel-like texture when wet make it possible to use without cleanser, leaving skin fresh and mildly exfoliated.

For even more purifying action, treat your face to a charcoal mask once or twice a week to deep clean—and reduce the size of—pores. Giovanni D:tox Purifying Facial Mask combines charcoal with volcanic ash to draw impurities to the surface, while antioxidant goji and acai berries rejuvenate skin.

If you’re troubled with blackheads and breakouts, Nugg Beauty Charcoal Skin Detox Face Mask is a quick fix. Charcoal and oatmeal purify skin, witch hazel calms and tea tree oil neutralizes bacteria to prevent further breakouts.

For on-the-go cleansing, toss a single-use packet of S.W. Basics Activated Charcoal into your bag and renew skin with charcoal powder—which can be added to any natural soap for a quick deep-cleaning wash.

Charcoal deodorizes

The toxin-absorbing power of activated charcoal makes it a good choice for natural deodorants. Charcoal neutralizes the bacteria that causes sweat to smell; it’s blended with odor-fighting magnesium and wetness-absorbing arrowroot in the fresh smelling Schmidt’s Charcoal + Magnesium Mineral Enriched Deodorant. For a tropical vibe, try Alaffia Coconut Reishi Activated Charcoal Deodorant, which banishes odor with charcoal and antibacterial reishi mushroom extract while soothing sensitive underarms with aloe and coconut oil.

Charcoal removes stains on teeth

Though technically not a whitener (bleaching products do that), activated charcoal is effective at removing surface stains on teeth, like those from coffee, tea or red wine. Choosing a non-abrasive toothpaste is important to preserve tooth enamel, so My Magic Mud Activated Charcoal Fluoride-Free Toothpaste is made with grit-free coconut shell charcoal powder. We love its fresh minty taste and the way it gently buffs off food and drink stains.

Charcoal relieves stomach ailments

Since toxins quickly bind to charcoal, digestive supplements like Solaray Activated Charcoal or Nature’s Way Activated Charcoal capsules can relieve upset stomachs, symptoms of food poisoning or gas from undigested foods. If you’re suffering the after-effects of a heavy meal, try activated charcoal blended with stomach-calming peppermint, fennel, chamomile and lemon balm in Gaia Herbs Gas & Bloating.