Eli5 – what “activates” charcoal? And how does that make it good for you?


Eli5 – what “activates” charcoal? And how does that make it good for you?

In: 31

Charcoal is made of carbon, and carbon bonds really well with other atoms. Activated charcoal is charcoal whose structure has been made more porous which creates more surface area for forming bonds. It’s not really ‘good for you’ in the way advertisers try to claim. In medicine it’s used when someone has swallowed something poisonous or overdosed on something. Any of the substance that’s still left in the digestive tract will bond to the activated charcoal instead of being absorbed. Then it can just pass through the digestive system and out of the body. (This is why people shouldn’t consume things with activated charcoal if they are taking any medication. There’s a risk they won’t absorb as much of the medicine as they should.) The activated charcoal, however, cannot do anything about any of the substance that’s already been absorbed by the body or remove any supposed toxins in your organs or blood or anything like that

It takes the bad stuff out without putting any bad stuff in. It’s handy if you’re poorly because you put a bad thing in your mouth.

Many substances stick to the surface of charcoal. If you can make it spongelike on a microscopic level, it will have a lot of surface and so it can collect a lot of gunk. Like a molecular mop.

That’s what activating charcoal does. It riddles the material with microscopic holes and/or craters.

It’s great for absorbing nastiness in your stomach, but that’s about the extent of its medical application.

So is activated charcoal good for the face since it will absorb dirt and stuff?