Activated Charcoal for Beauty

Activated Charcoal in a wooden bowl.

You’re likely familiar with natural products that use activated charcoal. In recent years, the detoxifying black powder has been added to all manner of personal care items, including exfoliating masks, facial cleansers, shampoos, and deodorants.

Activated Charcoal Popularity

Every Man Jack even combines two equally trendy items—activated charcoal and facial sheet masks—in its Oil Defense Collection for men.

The powder is also widely popular in toothpaste form. Having a mouth full of what looks like ashes can be downright disturbing during brushing. It leaves a mess in the sink and eventually stains toothbrushes. Despite these aesthetic challenges, activated charcoal wins fans because it works gently to lift stains from teeth and leaves a long-lasting fresh feeling in the mouth.

What is Activated Charcoal?

Activated charcoal is not the same as the chemical-laden charcoal used in barbecue grills, which should never be ingested. Also known as activated carbon, activated charcoal has a long medical history of use as a detoxifier in cases of poisonings and drug overdoses. The ingredient attaches to toxins in the stomach, binding with and flushing them from the body before they can be absorbed into the bloodstream. It’s also been used in water filtration systems to remove environmental pollutants from water sources. As a beauty ingredient, the thinking is the same: Bind with toxins and purify what gets left behind.

Antibacterial and Antifungal Properties of Activated Charcoal

With its antibacterial and antifungal properties, activated charcoal makes an ideal addition to skin and hair products, especially for those contending with acne or dandruff.Daily

Can Activated Charcoal be Used Daily?

You may not want to use charcoal products daily, as they can be drying if they are not paired with hydrating ingredients. Check the labels and proceed accordingly.

If you’re using a charcoal toothpaste, remember not to scrub too hard as activated carbon is naturally abrasive.

Click to See Our Sources

“The Antibacterial Activity of Activated Carbon...” by M.Karnib et al., Int J Curr Microbiol App Sci, 2013 

“Performance Evaluation of Powdered Activated Carbon for Removing 28 Types of Antibiotics from Water” by X. Zhang et al., J Environ Manage, 5/1/16   

“Top 10 Activated Charcoal Uses & Benefits,”


Dave Clarke

Dave Clarke is a California-based writer and editor with a yen for adventure that fuels his work and his life.