Charcoal has long been a trusty hangover cure, and in recent years, it’s become a pore-cleaning go-to in beauty products like pore strips and face masks. Lately, activated charcoal has even invaded the food world and is now showing up in everything from lattes to ice cream cones. It’s likely you’ll be trying out some of these irresistible trendy treats, but before you do, there are some potential side effects to keep in mind.
The absorbent properties of activated charcoal are what make it effective at sticking to the toxins in your body after a night of drinking, and pulling the gunk out of your pores on your face. But it’s also what might cause it to reduce the effectiveness of certain medications, including birth control.
“If you’re drinking it and you also are on any meds, even birth control pills, the charcoal is likely to absorb the drugs,” gastroenterologist Patricia Raymond, MD, told Women’s Health. The Mayo Clinic recommends waiting a certain number of hours between ingesting activated charcoal and taking medication, but check with your doctor if you have questions or concerns.
So, is there actually enough charcoal in, say, that limited-edish Burger King bun or your super Instagrammable soft serve cone to be worried about? According to Eater, it’s not likely — there’s only enough of the stuff in a big batch of ice cream to basically dye the dessert black. But because no two people process foods or medications alike, it’s safer to wait after taking any medication before downing your moody-looking latte.
Have you tried the charcoal food trend? Let us know @BritandCo!
(h/t Eater; photo via Keith Tsuji/Getty )