Activated charcoal is in everything!

Valentino brought hot pink to the forefront last year. This fashion trend was reflected in the images of beauty brands, pop culture and art direction, as well as marketing campaigns. Meryl Streep’s fans will not be surprised at the fervor with which this colour has been embraced on social media. We are still reeling from Miranda Priestly’s explanation of how colors became so famous in The Devil Wears Prada.

While there are many colour trends, and Pantone constantly brings new ones to us, one shade will always be a top seller in any product we use.

It can be used in face masks, sheet masks, detox drinks, sheet masks, and nose strips. It can also be infused into toothpaste and toothbrushes. It is sometimes available in powdered form in bulk. Activated charcoal is what we’re referring to. This highly-acclaimed ingredient offers many benefits. It can be used to remove impurities from the skin, kill acne-causing bacteria, as well as clearing the scalp of any debris.

It’s impossible not to. Each colour has its own draw. The colour psychology experts suggest that black is a preferred colour because it symbolizes strength, mystery and power. In the beauty and wellness industry, black activated charcoal has a lot of appeal. We’d be lying to you if we told you that we didn’t like photos of ‘gothic’ ice creams, hamburgers and pav-bhaji.

Activated charcoal is a powerful ingredient in many products, including those that claim to have the magic powder.

What is activated carbon?

Charcoal is carbon smog that is made by burning carbon-based materials. You could use it to make wood, coconut husks or walnut shells. It becomes activated charcoal when it is heated to high temperatures with oxygen. This treatment alters its internal structure, decreasing its pores size and increasing its surface area.

It is a strangely jagged, sticky sponge that has many holes. Its immense surface area is estimated to be between 950 and 2000 m2 per kilogram. This is equivalent to three Olympic swimming pools. It has a large surface area, which means it can stick to more substances with intermolecular force , explains Dr Michelle Wong, cosmetic chemicalist.

The story of activated charcoal starts in hospitals’ emergency rooms. It has been used by doctors as an emergency treatment for poisonings and overdoses. The activated charcoal sticks to whatever is in your stomach and binds to it. This would cause it to’soak up excess’ in your stomach, and eventually you’d end up pooping out poison.

Lulla adds that studies show that activated charcoal can reduce the ability of adults to absorb drugs by as much as 74% if consumed within five minutes of taking a medication.

There are also claims activated charcoal may improve kidney function in people with chronic kidney disease. It is believed to regulate cholesterol and gas production by binding the same substances as activated charcoal. Shahadat Khan, a Gurugram-based general practitioner, says that the jury is still out.

Is activated charcoal a magnet?

It’s an unexplored, murky area. It’s more of a marketing scheme to portray activated charcoal as a magnet that attracts toxic substances. Wong explains : “Activated charcoal is a common treatment to soak up actual toxic substances that can kill you. The logic goes like this: The charcoal has a special attraction for toxic chemicals, so it also absorbs the toxins from your skin and body.”

It still needs to be tested. Activated charcoal does not have the ability to tell between good and evil in your body. This is a nutrient you need to live a healthy life, or a poison that can kill you. It will remove it all.

The attraction of magnets is also stronger when they are closer together. The force is weaker the further apart they are. “Activated charcoal must touch something to adhere to it and trap it. Wong says that activated charcoal won’t draw out impurities from your skin or remove toxins from your bloodstream.

Activated charcoal detox benefits: Myths and facts

There is so much confusion about detox diets and drinks that it can be hard to believe. We did our own thorough investigation. While there are many who support the bi-monthly juice cleanse and other medical experts who say that detox drinks or colon-cleansing powders can be a fraud, others are more skeptical. The global detox market is estimated to be worth $51 billion, and it is expected to continue growing.

It is tempting to drink charcoal drinks, or take them as pills to erase your past mistakes. Divija Mittal, nutritionist, says that detox and cleansing products are not necessary. “If you have a healthy liver and kidneys, then the job is done automatically.” Our bodies can eliminate unwanted toxins naturally through our immune system and organs. However, our lifestyles and eating habits can slow down certain bodily functions or make them work harder than necessary.

“Avoid spending money on products that will cause a detox or cleanse. Instead, spend your time and energy making some temporary dietary adjustments which will increase your body’s capacity to detox.” she says.

Activated charcoal’s benefits for hair, skin and eyes: Myths and factsDr Banani Choudhury is a Consultant Dermatologist at Sir H. N. Reliance Foundation Hospital and says that it can help with mild dandruff or exfoliation.

Charcoal’s abrasiveness can exfoliate the hair and absorb some oil. Use a scalp exfoliator made of charcoal. Keep your fingers pressure light. It can dry out if you use it every day.

Choudhury advises that medicated shampoos containing zinc pyrithione and ketoconazole will be helpful if the scalp is in severe condition.

But it can’t dig deep. It can be thought of as the sponge that you use to clean dishes. It can remove dirt and grime from the surface and absorb some gunk. If there are deeper impurities, the sponge won’t reach them.

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