When it comes to drawing out impurities, reach for the best…
Has there ever been a beauty product so effective as summer? I love what this season, specifically the all natural vitamin D3 care of all that sun, does for my skin. Even with the prerequisite SPF, after just a couple glorious days spent outside, my skin is clearer, my freckles are out, and I’m feelin’ fine in every sense of the word. The days of flaky winter skin far behind me, I find myself easing up on the makeup and embracing my skin in all it’s glory — that was, until a couple of days ago, when I caught a glimpse of things close up! Turns out, all that SPF can wreak its own kind of havoc… it was time for a detox. It’s true, sunlight has a tendency to bring out the best in our skin (it’s believed that vitamin D3 is behind it) but even in summer our skin needs a little pick-me-up every now and then. When it comes to drawing out impurities, I reach for the best: bentonite clay. When mixed with water, this silky soft clay transforms from a powder to a powerful detoxifier, removing all the gunk and junk left in and on our skin from sunscreen, makeup, city living, sweat and chemicals. Learn more about this all-natural clay below, then scroll on for a simple detoxifying mask to refresh your face and reveal your best summer skin yet.
What is it? Bentonite clay is a healing clay derived from aged volcanic ash and consists mostly of montmorillonite, a group of minerals found in clay. Named after the Cretaceous Benton Shale in Wyoming, where most bentonite clay is harvested, it’s also found in Italy and France and can have a different mineral makeup depending on the dominant elements in each clay (e.g. calcium bentonite, potassium bentonite, and sodium bentonite, which is shown in this post). Bentonite clay powder should be a cream/grey-ish color, never white, and is an ultrafine powder, similar in texture to fine cake flour. Bentonite produces an electrical charge when hydrated, allowing it to absorb toxins internally and externally. Because of this, bentonite clay should not come into contact with anything metallic — including mixing bowls or spoons — as metal components can neutralize its effectiveness; instead, always use glass, ceramic, or stone bowls and mixing tools.
What are the benefits? When bentonite is mixed with water, witch hazel, rose water, or any other liquid, it swells, acting like a sponge and giving it the ability to sop up impurities and toxins in and out of the body, especially heavy metals. The negative charge of the clay bonds to the positive charge of the chemical or toxin, and draws it from the system — either getting flushed from the internal system through elimination, or rinsed off topically from the skin. It can help alkalize the body and normalize digestion, and has been found to help with acid reflux and bloating. When used topically, bentonite clay can help heal wounds and skin abrasions, ease symptoms of dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema, reduce redness, clear up acne, and reduce pain caused by bug bites and chicken pox by calming the skin and helping to draw out the underlying issue (impurities, venom from a bee sting, infected acne, etc.). Not only can bentonite clay help to clear up congested skin, it even leaves skin feeling softer and more supple. The perfect way to refresh skin after sun damage or too much sunscreen.
How do I use it? Bentonite clay can be easily made into a variety of masks for face and body and can be customized to treat a variety of conditions. See the recipe below for a simple mask to calm and purify skin. Mix bentonite clay powder with tea tree oil to create a spot treatment to use on acne-prone skin. Mix it with plain old water for a simple mask to draw out chemicals, or to use as a poultice for burns, rashes, minor cuts and burns, and insect bites (spread the poultice on the affected area, then cover with a clean damp cloth). Add to a bath of warm water to treat the entire body and draw toxins from the skin and soften all over (this method is also effective in treating chicken pox, psoriasis and eczema).
Bentonite clay can also be used internally, and has been found to be especially effective in improving oral health, boosting the effectiveness of probiotics, and improving digestion. However, always consult your doctor before ingesting a new-to-you herb or clay, and always be sure to purchase food-grade ingredients meant to be taken internally.
Rose Bentonite Detox Mask
2 tbsp bentonite clay powder
2 drops rose essential oil
Witch hazel or rose water (see notes below)
Non-metallic mixing spoon or stick
Place bentonite clay powder in a non-metallic bowl (plastic, glass, or stone works well) and add rose essential oil. Add witch hazel or rose water** and mix until clay forms a paste. Bentonite clay is highly absorptive, so add a little moisture at a time until the paste forms. It may be chunky — that’s fine!
Witch hazel: Use for troubled skin suffering from acne, blemishes, redness or rashes.
Rose water: Use to calm skin and reduce redness, especially beneficial for sensitive skin.
To use: Always do a patch test first to ensure compatibility with your skin. Use a clean brush or your fingers to spread a thin layer of clay mask onto your face, avoiding eye area. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes, or until dry. Rinse with lukewarm water, using a washcloth to help remove the clay. Follow up with your favorite face oil to finish.
+ Be sure to check out more Wellness Encyclopedia posts!
This information is not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent any disease or issue. Please seek your doctor’s advice for any questions regarding a specific condition and before beginning any exercise, diet or health-related regimen.