Activated charcoal is the new coconut oil
A year ago, if someone said “just pour coconut oil all over your life,” you’d probably chuckle.
Today, you’d probably eye roll.
Coconut oil is lit and all, but the obsession got annoying. Just like avocado toast or pizza or highlighter, it got so popular that it practically became a parody of itself.
And now, charcoal is on it’s way to being the next big “IT” healthy ingredient.
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I first dabbled with charcoal when I interviewed a nutritionist about foods to avoid on a first date. She explained to me that activated charcoal was a great thing to take to avoid bloating because it basically cleanses your system and absorbs any gaseous bubbles.
When I tried it for myself, I also realized that it completely prevents me from getting drunk, because it stops the alcohol from being absorbed into my system. Crazy, right?
But it’s not that crazy. It’s actually used in many cases by doctors when patients ingest poison or overdose on medication.
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And when you think of it that way, it only makes sense it’d make its way over to the beauty and health world. After all, girls just wanna
have fun detox. If they didn’t, why would so many people buy (and sell) those Instagram-famous detox teas? Why would we waste time trying to cleanse our aura?
The fact is, when someone sells us a miracle product that’ll get rid of all the bad shit in our life (or our bodies) we’re super down. And, if it also whitens our teeth or cleanses our pores, we’re even more down.
Like any fad product (or anything in the world), there are downsides. After all, remember when people started popping up saying coconut oil isn’t that healthy after all? Woops.
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Activated Charcoal can be dangerous because – like with my alcohol consumption – it doesn’t allow your body to absorb stuff. So if you’re taking birth control while also on a Dirty Lemon charcoal cleanse, you should probably use protection since your meds are probably not actually doing anything. Also, like with other detoxes (cough, skinny tea), activated charcoal takes everything out, it doesn’t have the power to leave you with the good stuff in your system, like nutrients or vitamins or whatever else.
Emilia Petrarca did the dirty work of trying out a bunch of activated charcoal products herself for W, and while she recommended some face masks and a charcoal toothpaste, she said to pass on any products that don’t have charcoal as one of the first few ingredients. This is a very valid tip, since companies will try to jump on any trendy ingredient to try to grab some extra dinero.
When it comes to charcoal foods – like ice cream as black as your soul – you may wonder, “am I not absorbing any of this delicious food calorically because of the charcoal?”
Well, unfortunately, that’s probably not the case, since most foods use a very teeny-tiny amount of charcoal in their products so that they don’t have a lawsuit on their hands, probably. But, they do use enough charcoal to stain your teeth – so beware.
Like with anything, charcoal is totes fine in small doses, but you shouldn’t be taking a legit activated charcoal pill daily. Oh, and that staining on your teeth from the toothpaste? It can also potentially stain your internal organs, and doctors warn that using a charcoal toothpaste can strip away protective barriers from your teeth.
Maybe hold up on the charcoal trend until more people have had a chance to try everything long term? As a bonus, you’ll steer clear of being basic.