SAN ANTONIO – While it is far from “new” its arrival in the beauty aisle is.
It's called activated charcoal.
No longer used on the barbecue grill, for years it’s been used in emergency rooms as an antidote for some drug overdoses and poisons.
Now companies have placed the charcoal in soaps and supplements claiming to give people a simple way to detox.
It's similar to the stuff you use when you barbecue, but it's been superheated into an extremely porous substance.
“Activated charcoal is sometimes used as an antidote for overdoses of some medicines,” Julie Calderone, with Consumer Reports, said. “The porous charcoal traps certain toxins, preventing the body from absorbing them.”
Some activated charcoal supplements claim to remove toxins in a similar way, but they're not necessary because the body detoxes itself.
“The body already has organs such as the kidneys and liver to filter out impurities,” Calderone said.
Though activated charcoal in small doses has no known significant risks, supplements are regulated much more loosely than FDA approved drugs and they don't necessarily contain what's advertised on the label.
Another note for people to keep in mind, there's little published scientific evidence to suggest that activated charcoal helps products like soaps and face masks work better.
A proven way to see proven results is to make sure your diet includes plenty of water and eat a high-fiber foods.
Consumer Reports advice: keep charcoal in the grill, not the medicine cabinet.
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