Fad or fab: Four things you need to know about charcoal

Lifestyle

Fad or fab: Four things you need to know about charcoal

Drink it or put it on your skin? We give you some tips

Nokubonga Thusi

If there is one ingredient in the beauty industry that has had major buzz of late it’s charcoal. When it was discovered that the same material that charged up your braai was also a powerful purifying ingredient when used in skincare, beauty brands wasted no time adding it to their products. Consumers were ready to smooth on every cream and ingest every detox smoothie in which charcoal was involved. Here are some key things to know before trying it out:
Activated charcoal is what we’re looking forActivated charcoal is created when charcoal is heated to high temperatures to make it more porous and give it the ability to absorb more toxins. Its primary use, up to now, has been in hospital emergency rooms to absorb toxins in poisoned or overdosed patients.   
Charcoal is a master skin purifierAny mask or cream that features this ingredient is a winner. Charcoal helps draw out toxins, as well as treat oily skin conditions and unclog pores by removing excess sebum.
Charcoal may be dangerous to consumeThere has been a lot of debate about whether charcoal is safe to ingest. These days, it has not only hit the beauty world but the culinary one too, bringing about foods such as charcoal juices, smoothies, burger buns and more. Due to the high level of carbon in activated charcoal, some would argue eating anything infused with it is the equivalent of eating burnt food – which is a no-no as it has been said to cause cancer. Because it is unable to detect which substances to absorb or how much, charcoal could also remove some of the good stuff when ingested. 
It makes a great at-home teeth whitenerBrushing your teeth with charcoal sounds like a disaster waiting to happen but in fact it can help improve your dental health. Although it makes your mouth black when you are using it, it helps to draw out plaque, removes stains for super-white teeth, and regulates the mouth’s pH to help prevent oral diseases.Editor’s picks: Activated charcoal products
Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment, R860Dermalogica Charcoal Rescue Masque, 75ml, R799Suki Suki Naturals Activated Charcoal Shampoo Bar, R120

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