What’s the deal with Charcoal Deodorant?

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Okay, so let’s talk about charcoal deodorant.

Charcoal is everywhere right now. It’s in face wash, toothpaste, shampoo, beauty masks, and now it’s joined the deodorant game.

If you’re not already on the charcoal bandwagon, you might feel like you’ve entered some upside-down world, where all your bathroom products are going through their rebellious teenage years at the same time.

Before you’re ready to jump armpit-first into the world of midnight-colored bathroom products, you probably have some questions. Even if you already love and use other charcoal products, you might be hesitant, because it’s different with deodorant.

It’s super important that it actually works, because no one wants to be the smelly person in the room.

So, what’s this charcoal deodorant stuff? Does it really work? Is it safe? Will it stain my clothes? Let’s break it down here.

Charcoal Deodorant: What is it?

Charcoal deodorant is exactly what it sounds like it is. It’s deodorant with activated charcoal as one of the main ingredients. Often, there are other ingredients like essential oils, magnesium, coconut oils, and baking soda.

Activated charcoal is just carbon that has been processed to become porous and have a large surface area.

It’s been used for centuries in the medical world to treat overdoses and poisoning. It only recently made the jump into consumer products.

Makers of charcoal deodorant tout several benefits, including:

  • Neutralizes Odor
  • Absorbs Wetness
  • Gentle Enough for Sensitive Skin
  • Detoxifying

But, can it do all those things? Also, charcoal deodorant benefits sound eerily similar to the benefits of many mainstream, regular deodorants, so why go charcoal, if your current, probably cheaper, deodorant works just fine?

Charcoal Deodorant vs Other Deodorants

Most deodorants on the marketplace are just a deodorant. They have tons of smell-good ingredients to keep you well… smelling good.

However, if you’re a sweaty person, or if you generally like to avoid the embarrassment of pit stains, regular deodorant won’t do much for you.

This is where charcoal deodorant comes in. Due to its porous nature, advocates and manufacturers claim charcoal deodorant keeps you smelling fresh while also preventing you from drowning your friends in armpit sweat.

But here’s the real question…

Does Charcoal Deodorant Work?

As with most products on the market, not all brands are created equal, and different brands work for different people. We scoured reviews from all over the web to try to determine whether it works, and landed on a solid… maybe?

Some people love charcoal deodorant and find it highly effective, while others said it’s not worth the investment.

One brand worked exceedingly well, one didn’t last through the day, and the other was somewhere in the middle. One stained her shirts, and the other two didn’t.

So, effectiveness might genuinely depend on the brand and your personal skin chemistry.

If we break down the benefit claims, in theory, charcoal deodorant should do most of what it claims to do.

Charcoal Deodorant Benefits

It’s a natural odor eliminator. According to a study published on PubMed, activated charcoal is effective at reducing odors.

It’s porous and could possibly absorb sweat. While there are zero scientific studies related to activated charcoal’s ability to absorb sweat, it has been used clinically to absorb toxic poisons inside the human body for years.

So, it’s well-documented that at a base-level, activated charcoal is absorbent. So theoretically, it should be able to absorb sweat.

It’s typically safe for sensitive skin. Activated charcoal isn’t listed as a common dermatological allergen, and it’s even been used in wound care. So, it’s generally a pretty safe ingredient when topically applied.

However, like anyone with sensitive skin knows, the only way to know for sure is to test it on your own skin.

Detoxifying? Probably not. The concept here is that your pits are full of bacteria and potentially trapped toxins like aluminum and parabens (which, according to a peer-reviewed study on PubMed, is true).

Some charcoal deodorants claim that they can detoxify or remove these toxins from your armpits with daily use. However, the scientific community doesn’t buy it.

There aren’t any studies done that support detoxification through the skin. Most medical professionals agree that detoxification happens inside the body via the liver, kidneys, lungs, and digestive system.

Does Charcoal Deodorant Stain Clothes?

Some charcoal deodorant users complain that it stains clothing, while others didn’t have a problem with staining. A popular lifestyle blogger put three different charcoal deodorants to the test and found that the results varied dramatically from brand to brand.

One trick that works with most deodorants is to let it dry for 5 minutes before putting on your shirt. This way the deodorant doesn’t absorb into your shirts and leave nasty deodorant stains.

Is Charcoal Deodorant Good

Sure. Why not? It’s generally safe to use and has all the makings of an effective natural deodorant. Plus, it may even help reduce some unwanted underarms sweat.

In the end, there really isn’t a natural deodorant that can stop sweat completely. You may have to use a natural deodorant in combination with an antiperspirant designed to stop sweat.

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