If you have paid any attention at all to the latest crazes and internet hype, you have probably noticed the soaring interest in the use of activated charcoal.

Last year we had several customers asking us for charcoal soap. I wrinkled my brow at the idea and did some research last fall.  It was a timely move, as more and more of our wholesale accounts began asking us to carry a “charcoal” soap.  Their customers were besieging them with requests.

We are known for doing the requisite research into ingredients before we incorporate them.  This blog is to share those results with you and share OUR position on the use of activated charcoal in personal care products.

If you do an internet search, you can find multiple sites touting the benefits of activated charcoal.  A site named “Style Craze” has a June 3, 2015 article listing 10 AMAZING benefits of charcoal soap for the skin. The problem being, the claims are made with zero research references to support any of the claims. Without peer reviewed journals, scientific published papers, recorded dermatology trials, there is nothing for the serious consumer to follow up on.

Charcoal is touted as firming the skin, detoxifying, helping acne & psoriasis, reducing signs of aging, removes blemishes and great for all skin types,…….in short, the miracle product that everyone has been looking for a hundred years!  The claims don’t stop with soap, charcoal is recommended for toothpaste, face-masks, to ingesting in capsules to help with bloating and gas and lastly to detoxify the body.  It has become so mainstream that it can be found in big box stores such as Walmart.

Exactly what IS activated charcoal in the first place? Coconut husks, dead wood and various grades of coal are heated and charred. The pieces are placed in an oven and burned at very high temperatures (1800 F). Carbons atoms separate as aromatic and volatile compounds escape.  This leaves a web-like mess of carbon atoms that have been hollowed out. This structure does allow charcoal to absorb poisons and has been used in the medical community for drug overdoses (such as Tylenol). But medical research (PubMed Reports) has shown it also has the undesirable effect of absorbing vitamins and nutrients thus removing them from the body. It does not differentiate between what is good for the body and what is bad.  Therefore just like with essential oils, we do not recommend the ingestion of charcoal, unless under the advice of a physician for a specific diagnosis.

In terms of soap, we have received testimonies from several people who experienced benefit from using a charcoal soap for acne, itching and rash issues.  We believe part of this benefit arises from the exfoliation that the soap naturally provides.  We offer several other soaps which provide the exact same benefit……Honey Oatmeal, Calendula, Mechanics and Coffee Mocha.  In response to wholesale requests, we have produced preliminary batches and will offer them on a trial basis on-line as well.  If you are a charcoal fan, share your thoughts and experience with us. As always, remain an informed consumer, keep your eye out for additional research and ASK thoughtful questions before buying any “new” product.