That’s right. Clay masks are like sponges to your skin, soaking up all of the excess dirt and oils that build up in your pores over the course of the day.
People have been using clay for medicinal purposes for centuries, dating all the way back to prehistoric times. Their use continues today in many indigenous cultures, mostly for external applications. Clays also are commonly used in high-end health spas throughout the world for therapeutic mud bath applications.
Clay-based skin masks all contain different minerals and have different properties. One of the most commonly used clays is Bentonite, an absorbent, mineral-laden clay made from volcanic ashes and named after Fort Benton, Wyoming where most of the clay is harvested.
Bentonite has a strong negative electromagnetic charge and as such is excellent in drawing toxins and impurities from the skin. Bentonite is excellent at removing excess skin oils and reducing the size of pores.
The benefits of Bentonite clay are numerous and include: softening skin, extracting dead skin cells, reducing inflammation and redness, evening out skin tone and lightening scarring or discoloration. For these reasons, Bentonite is a common ingredient in many skin masks.
“An excellent skin mask,” according to skincare expert Dr. Michael S. Spicer, lead Dermatologist at Brevard Medical Dermatology in Florida, “will exfoliate, detoxify and re-hydrate, absorbing debris and dead skin cells without stripping the skin of its natural moisture.”
Another commonly-used clay is Kaolin, which develops from the weathering of rocks in warmer, moist climates like tropical rain forests. It is also called China clay or White clay and is a common ingredient in skin-related products, like body powders and deodorants.
Kaolin clay has a high silicate mineral content that bonds to, and removes, dead skin cells and excess oils.
“I tend to like Kaolin clay since it has the ability to absorb excess oil without drying out the skin of its natural oil,” Dr. Spicer said. It is an excellent cleansing and detoxifying agent and with a high silica content, it facilitates skin cell regeneration. Also, Kaolin clay works amazingly at softening the skin.
Dr. Spicer recommends the following when using facial masks:
Masks should be used on clean dry skin. It is recommended that the skin is gently cleansed, dried and the mask applied and left to dry, about 10 - 20 minutes.
The mask is then washed off with warm water and the skin patted dry.
Overuse of masks can dry out the skin and cause irritation. Irritation can lead to swelling and worsening of acne, said Dr. Spicer, adding that masks are great for acne prone skin, but also a good way to give normal skin a naturally clean glow by removing dead skin cells that may clog pores.
Dr. Spicer created the perfect blend of these two ingredients called Épicé Hydrating Facial Mask. It is a truly invigorating, yet gentle, way to exfoliate, detoxify and remove environmental impurities from the skin.