You Shouldn't Eat This If You're On Birth Control

Despite its popularity and versatility as a food trend and skin care ingredient, eating activated charcoal might make your birth control less effective (via Women's Health). From face masks to ice cream, activated charcoal is a fine black powder that can be used to color food or unclog your pores. However, it can also remove toxins from your body, which can interfere with certain prescription drugs and medications, like birth control pills. That's because activated charcoal is actually used as a medical treatment for poisonings and overdoses.

"Activated charcoal is given to people who take too much medication because charcoal is so absorbent and can counteract an overdose," Dr. Patricia Raymond, a gastroenterologist in Virginia Beach, told Women's Health. "But if you're drinking it and you also are on any meds, even birth control pills, the charcoal is likely to absorb the drugs. So you risk having them become ineffective."

How to prevent activated charcoal from absorbing birth control pills

However, you would need to consume a rather large amount of activated charcoal for it to actually interfere with your medication. Generally speaking, eating small amounts of activated charcoal is relatively safe (via Insider). "I'd say if you're eating, like, one ice cream with activated charcoal, you're going to be fine," gynecologist Dr. Alyssa Dweck told Insider. "But if you're taking in a big [dose], you're going to possibly have a bigger problem." This is good news for lovers of black charcoal ice cream.

If you do end up eating a large dose, however, you should wait at least two hours in between taking your medication and consuming activated charcoal. This will give your body enough time to absorb the pill before the charcoal absorbs it for you, reducing the risk that your birth control will lose its effectiveness. If you want to be extra careful, however, you can simply avoid eating activated charcoal altogether.