Long used in emergency rooms to treat alcohol poisoning and drug overdoses, this form of carbon — found in cleansers, masks, toothpastes, health drinks — has been specially treated to increase its absorbency, allowing it to sponge up dirt and oil from pores (or toxins from the stomach when taken internally). Activated charcoal cleanses, also known as charcoal detoxes, are a pseudoscientific use of a proven medical intervention. Activated charcoal is available in powder, tablet and liquid form. Its proponents claim the use of activated charcoal on a regular basis will detoxify and cleanse the body as well as boost one's energy and brighten the skin. Such claims violate basic principles of chemistry and physiology. There is no medical evidence for any health benefits of cleanses or detoxes via activated charcoal or any other method. Charcoal, when ingested, will absorb vitamins and nutrients as well as prescription medications present in the gastrointestinal tract which can make it dangerous to use unless directed by a medical doctor.
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