a person dipping a bamboo toothbrush into a pot of charcoal powder

The 16 Uses & Benefits Of Charcoal

Ah, charcoal – the unsung hero that goes beyond grilling and barbecues. Did you know that this seemingly humble material offers a treasure trove of health benefits? From various types to its diverse uses, let’s dive into the world of charcoal and explore how it can positively impact your well-being.

Understanding The Different Types Of Charcoal

Charcoal isn’t just one-size-fits-all. There are various types available, each with its unique properties and benefits. Here are a few:

1. Activated Charcoal

This specially processed charcoal boasts a porous structure, making it highly absorbent. Its exceptional absorptive qualities make it a popular choice for detoxification and cleansing.

2. Binchotan Charcoal

Hailing from Japan, Binchotan charcoal is renowned for its purification abilities. It’s commonly used in water filtration due to its capacity to remove impurities and enhance water quality.

3. Charcoal Briquettes

These are your typical charcoal blocks, primarily used for grilling and cooking. While not specifically for health benefits, they are often used in traditional medicine for topical applications.

Benefits of Charcoal

Charcoal, especially activated charcoal, offers a range of benefits, spanning from health and wellness to various practical applications. Here’s an extensive list covering the diverse advantages of charcoal.

Health Benefits

1. Detoxification

Activated charcoal shines as a detoxification agent. Its absorbent nature allows it to trap toxins and chemicals in the gut, preventing their absorption into the body.

2. Digestive Health

It may alleviate gas, bloating, and mild digestive discomfort by trapping unwanted substances in the digestive tract.

3. Kidney Health

Charcoal can assist in filtering out undigested toxins and waste products from the kidneys, supporting overall kidney function.

4. Emergency Toxin Removal

Often used in emergency rooms, activated charcoal can absorb certain toxins in cases of poisoning or drug overdose. It can also be safely used on pets.

5. Reducing Cholesterol Levels

Some studies suggest that charcoal may help lower cholesterol levels by binding to cholesterol and preventing its absorption in the gut.


Skin Care Benefits

In recent times, charcoal has become a superstar in skincare. Its ability to draw out impurities from the skin makes it a key ingredient in face masks, cleansers, and exfoliators. It’s fantastic for deep cleansing and managing oily skin.

a woman wearing a charcoal mask on her face and a hair towel


Ingredients: Activated charcoal powder

  1. Prepare the Mask: Mix activated charcoal powder with a small amount of water or a suitable liquid (such as rose water or aloe vera gel) to form a paste.
  2. Cleanse Your Face: Start with a clean face. Gently wash your face with a mild cleanser to remove any makeup, dirt, or oil.

  3. Apply the Mask: Using clean fingertips or a brush, apply an even layer of the charcoal mask to your face, avoiding the sensitive eye area and lips. Ensure the layer isn’t too thick, as a thinner layer will dry more evenly.

  4. Let it Dry: Allow the mask to dry completely. This usually takes around 10-15 minutes, but it may vary depending on the product used. As the mask dries, you might feel a tightening sensation on your skin.

  5. Rinse Off: Once the mask is fully dry, gently rinse it off with lukewarm water. Use a soft washcloth or your hands to gently massage and remove the mask. Pat your skin dry with a clean towel.

  6. Moisturize: Follow up with a lightweight, non-comedogenic moisturizer to hydrate and nourish your skin after cleansing.


6. Deep Cleansing

Charcoal’s ability to draw out impurities makes it effective for deep cleansing of the skin.

7. Oil Control

It helps manage oily skin by removing excess oil and preventing clogged pores.

8. Acne Treatment

Charcoal-based products can aid in treating acne by clearing pores and reducing inflammation.

9. Exfoliation

Charcoal gently exfoliates the skin, removing dead skin cells and promoting a smoother complexion.


Oral Health

10. Teeth Whitening

Charcoal-based toothpaste and mouthwashes are known for their ability to remove stains and brighten teeth.

11. Fresh Breath

Charcoal-based oral care products help combat bad breath by eliminating bacteria in the mouth.


Water Purification

12. Removes Impurities

Charcoal, especially Binchotan charcoal, is used in water filters to remove impurities, chemicals, and odors, resulting in cleaner and better-tasting water.

13. Natural Filtration

It acts as a natural filtration agent, eliminating bacteria, chlorine, and other contaminants from water.


Miscellaneous Uses and Benefits

14. Deodorization

Charcoal effectively absorbs odors, making it an excellent natural deodorizer for various spaces, including refrigerators and shoes.

15. Gardening

It can be used as a soil amendment to improve soil quality and absorb excess moisture.

16. Compost Addition

Charcoal can aid in the composting process by absorbing odors and balancing moisture levels.


How to Use Charcoal for Health Benefits

Now that we’ve uncovered the perks, let’s explore how to incorporate charcoal into your routine:
  • Orally: Consuming activated charcoal in capsule or powder form as directed by a healthcare professional can aid in detoxification and digestive health.
  • Topically: Skincare products like masks and cleansers containing charcoal can be applied to draw out impurities from the skin.
  • Oral Hygiene: Use charcoal-infused toothpaste or mouthwash as part of your daily oral care routine.
  • Water Filtration: Drop a piece of Binchotan charcoal in a water pitcher to purify and enhance water quality.


natural charcoal and charcoal capsules in a wooden spoon


Charcoal in Modern Products

Today, charcoal has found its way into a wide array of products, including:
  • Skincare: Face masks, cleansers, soaps, and exfoliators
  • Oral Care: Toothpaste, mouthwash, and teeth-whitening products
  • Supplements: Capsules and powders for detoxification purposes
  • Water Filtration: Filters and water purifying sticks

Are There Any Side Effects to Using Charcoal?

While generally safe for most people, there are a few things to consider:


Regular intake of activated charcoal might lead to constipation due to its absorbent nature.

Interference with Medications

It can interfere with the absorption of certain medications, so consult a healthcare professional before using charcoal supplements.


Charcoal-based products might temporarily stain clothes or surfaces, but it usually washes off easily.


Charcoal isn’t just for backyard barbecues; it’s a versatile powerhouse offering an array of health benefits. From detoxification to skincare and water purification, its applications are vast and impactful. Remember, while it’s generally safe and beneficial, it’s wise to consult a healthcare professional before incorporating charcoal into your routine, especially in supplement form.