It's trending, you see it everywhere, but you're not sure what it is or what it can do. From face masks and skincare to health benefits and teeth whitening, activated charcoal powder is taking over and this is everything you need to know about it.

What Is Activated Charcoal Powder?

Charcoal powder is a fine black powder that’s made from bone char, coconut shells, peat, petroleum coke, coal, and olive pits or sawdust. When processed at very high temperatures, it becomes “activated” by changing the internal structure. It sounds messy, but the way you can use activated charcoal powder will surprise you.

Activated charcoal powder uses

Teeth whitening:

Glistening white teeth can be within reach by using activated charcoal powder for teeth whitening. The activated charcoal powder binds with coffee, wine and even plaque to remove surface stains.

There are toothpastes with activated charcoal powder as an additional ingredient and there are specific powder products for teeth whitening purposes. Even though there are results from using activated charcoal powder for whitening purposes, it is advised not to actually brush your teeth with activated charcoal. The powder can cause damage to your enamel due to its abrasiveness. Instead, try lightly applying the powder or toothpaste to your teeth, leave it on for a few minutes and then rinse the product off. It’s also advised not to use this method every day.

Face masks:

One of the most relaxing things is putting on a face mask and tuning out the rest of the world. With activated charcoal powder making its way into skincare products, face masks just got even better. Activated charcoal powder face masks basically act as a magnet for all the gunk on our skin.

Dirt, oil, and all other impurities are going to get what’s coming for them. It’s not going to be instant, however, because it depends on physical contact. Let your activated charcoal face mask sit on the skin until it’s completely dried and maybe even longer if you prefer.


Itchy, oily, flaky scalp? We’ve all been there. Activated charcoal powder works to help ease these symptoms. The charcoal pulls toxins directly from the scalp which, over time, helps your scalp breathe and even help with dandruff. Using shampoo and conditioner with activated charcoal powder can also help with hair growth and shiny, bouncy locks.

Underwear and Deodorant:

Activated charcoal can help reduce body odors. It also can work with essential oils to absorb sweat. Disclaimer: we’re talking underwear and deodorant infused with charcoal powder, not putting charcoal powder in your underwear or on your armpits. Please, don’t do that.

Water or Air Purifier:

Activated charcoal can be used to filter and purify both water and air. Putting an activated charcoal stick in water will purify water for up to four months while helping remove harmful chemicals and toxins. Using activated charcoal as an air purifier helps remove odors and toxins in the air as well.

Where to buy activated charcoal powder:

Activated charcoal products are available online through stores such as Amazon and other delivery services. They are also available in stores such as Target, Walmart, or your local drugstore.

Activated Charcoal Powder Health Benefits

Poison treatment

Since activated charcoal bonds to toxins, it can be used for medicinal purposes. The most well-known cases of charcoal being used medicinally are those involving poisoning. Charcoal can bind with a wide variety of drugs and ultimately make them lose their effects. Activated charcoal can be used to treat prescription and over-the-counter drug overdoses. However, it’s not effective in all cases of poisoning. It has little to no effect on alcohol, heavy metal, iron, lithium, potassium, acid or alkali poisonings.

Kidney Function

activated charcoal powder supplements

With charcoal working as a natural filter, it can help reduce the amount of waste products that our kidneys have to go through. For patients dealing with kidney disease, charcoal may come as a relief as it binds to urea and other toxins. When charcoal binds with these toxins, it makes it easier on the kidneys to filter through and excrete the toxins from our bodies.

Reduce fish odor syndrome

For individuals suffering from fish odor syndrome, or trimethylaminuria (TMAU), activated charcoal supplements may help reduce unpleasant odors. Fish odor syndrome is a genetic condition in which compound with an odor similar to that of rotting fish, accumulates in the body. People with TMAU lack the enzyme needed to convert the compound to a non-smelling odor.

Reduce cholesterol levels

Lowering cholesterol is something that we all strive to do in various healthy ways. Well, it may have just gotten easier. Activated charcoal can bind cholesterol and cholesterol-containing bile acids in the gut. This prevents the body from absorbing them.

Activated Charcoal Uses to Avoid:


Bartenders have been infusing activated charcoal into trendy drinks for customers to try, claiming it makes you "less drunk" and is "hangover free". Since activated charcoal can serve as a detox, this may seem like a great steal to have alcohol and a detox combined, but studies have shown that activated charcoal doesn't absorb alcohol.

Detox drinks

Because charcoal can bind to things, it can actually deprive you of some of the nutrients you're trying to acquire through detox drinks. Activated charcoal can bind to vitamins and nutrients as well as medications. This includes birth control. If the activated charcoal binds to medications, it can make them ineffective.

Food with activated charcoal

Too much of anything can irritate the stomach, activated charcoal included. Also, since activated charcoal also binds itself to medications, ingesting the substance may do more harm than good.

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