- Bentonite clay is a superfine, soft absorbent material derived from volcanic ash
- This clay can be found in skin care products such as cleansers, scrubs and masks
- Bentonite clay masks are prized for their strength in absorbing toxins, debris and oils, and targeting skin concerns such as acne
- Due to its oil-absorbing effects, this clay may be too drying for dry or sensitive skin
What Is Bentonite Clay?
Bentonite clay is formed from volcanic ash and contains valuable nutrients and minerals such as calcium, magnesium and iron. Due to its unique chemical composition, a bentonite clay mask has been shown to absorb excess oils, dirt and toxins while releasing minerals that protect the skin.
Benefits of a Bentonite Clay Mask
Bentonite is a multipurpose absorbent clay that has a long history of use, both internally and externally, to treat a number of health conditions and to beautify the skin. This very fine clay can absorb up to 10 times its own weight in water and increase in size to 18 times its dry volume.
Bentonite clay is understood to provide a number of skin benefits from acne prevention to UV sun protection.
Acne is a chronic skin condition that is characterized by an overproduction of sebum, which can lead to blocked pores, the proliferation of acne-causing bacteria and acne lesions.
A bentonite clay mask is ideal for removing excess amounts of sebum due to its enhanced absorbing capabilities.
This clay also has a strong antibacterial mechanism to inhibit bacterial growth, help heal wounds and prevent inflammatory skin conditions such as acne.
As an exfoliant, it can lift away pore-clogging grime, debris and dead skin cells to help prevent both comedonal (blackheads and whiteheads) and inflammatory acne (papules and pustules) from developing.
Bentonite clay masks are valued for their ability to absorb excess oils, toxins and contaminants from the skin.
Clay naturally seeks out toxins to bind with. Individual particles of bentonite clay carry a negative charge on their surface. This helps them attract positively charged particles of toxins, which they then draw out from the deeper layers of the skin to improve skin health.
As well, bentonite clay has the ability to open the pores of the skin to facilitate the penetration of active minerals; it is rich in vital minerals including magnesium, iron, sodium, calcium, copper and silica which have the capacity to absorb substances such as toxins, bacteria and viruses, and to brighten, tone and revitalize skin.
That this clay can absorb excess oils means reduced shine, clear pores and lower risk of acne developing; it also helps to reduce the size of enlarged pores.
Pores increase in size and appear more noticeable when clogged with excess oil. With regular use, a clay mask will remove and regulate oil levels, and pores will contract and appear less visible. Also, as the mask absorbs the skin’s secretions, it promotes a gentle antiseptic action which also contributes to tightening pores.
Bentonite clay is mildly abrasive to gently exfoliate skin and buff off dead skin cells, grime and other impurities to reveal a brighter complexion. This process also helps any nourishing ingredients you apply to skin better absorb, which enhances their effects.
Firms and tightens skin
A clay mask can also have a tightening effect on skin; this occurs due to the clay hardening and then contracting once the liquid evaporates from the mask preparation.
Bentonite clay releases silica into the skin which is integral to promoting collagen production. Collagen firms and strengthens skin which has the effect of minimizing lines and wrinkles.
This clay can help minimize the damage that acne leaves behind due to its anti-inflammatory properties; less inflammation means less skin damage.
These masks can also lighten postinflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH)—dark marks that remain once lesions heal—through exfoliation, which increases skin cell turnover and sloughs off damaged cells.
In one scientific study of a novel sunscreen using bentonite and zeolite minerals, researchers found this combination was able to absorb the highest level of UV light compared to commercially available sun lotion.
This action prevents premature aging by absorbing the free radicals in the skin that form due to exposure to harmful UV rays.
How to Make a Bentonite Clay Mask
A basic bentonite clay mask combines clay and water or apple cider vinegar (known for its astringent and antibacterial qualities) but you can customize your mask with additional ingredients to achieve greater benefits and to address your skin type or concern.
Bentonite clay mask for acne
Tea tree oil and apple cider vinegar combine to target acne-causing bacteria and to clear skin of excess oils.
- 2 tbsp bentonite clay
- 3 drops tea tree oil
- 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
- Rosewater (as needed)
- Combine rosewater with bentonite clay to form a smooth, wet paste
- Add the balance of ingredients
- Apply the mask evenly to your face, avoiding the eye area
- Allow to rest for 15 minutes or until it hardens
- Rinse off with warm water and apply moisturizer
Hydrating bentonite clay mask
The emollients included in this recipe hydrate, soften and soothe dry or sensitive skin.
- 2 tbsp bentonite clay
- 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp jojoba oil
- 3 drops lavender oil
- 5 drops almond oil
- Rosewater (as needed)
Follow the instructions as above.
Before applying a mask, wash your face first and limit use to no more than twice a week (once a week for dry or sensitive skin) to avoid drying or irritating your skin. If you have any leftover solution you can store it in a glass jar in the refrigerator.
There are no known side effects of using bentonite clay masks. However, it is recommended to perform a patch test first to ensure you’re not allergic to it.
Bentonite clay is a very fine soft substance derived from volcanic ash. Its biggest attribute is the ability to seek out and bind to toxins deep within the layers of skin; it can absorb oils, debris and contaminants, and deposits vitamins and minerals to protect and enhance skin.
Bentonite clay also has antibacterial properties to speed up wound healing and inhibit acne-causing bacteria. As an exfoliant, it can slough off dead skin cells and debris to clear pores and brighten the complexion. It can tighten pores, and by releasing silica, strengthen and thicken skin by promoting collagen synthesis.
Normal or oily skin types can safely use a bentonite clay mask twice a week; dry or sensitive skin once a week.
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