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What is natural clay? And the benefits of using natural clay to detoxify the skin!

One thing that affects many of us is clogged pores. They can be so hard to clear, especially if you've dealt with them for a number of years. You occasionally get a facial, or try applying those strips/masks that claim to lift all the dirt, bacteria and sebum that has taken residence in your pores. Whilst these might clear the blackheads up momentarily, the sneaky buggers just fill up and clog up again. And so the cycle begins again.

The truth is, many of these products are full of chemicals themselves and can often do more harm than good, including stretching the pores (which will causing even more gunk to accumulate), irritating the skin further, and can even cause scarring and spider veins. Nobody wants that! But there's a perfect natural alternative that is non-invasive, gentle and soothing to the skin... natural clay!

What is natural clay?

Used for centuries to draw out impurities, clay is a naturally occurring substance, being the smallest particles present in rock and soil. When dry, clay is an earthy, fine-grained material, and when mixed with a small amount of water, the particles that constitute it usually expand immensely, giving it plasticity (the capacity to be molded or form a particular shape). Clay particles are composed of groups of crystalline minerals, particularly silica, aluminum, and magnesium, and smaller quantities of iron, potassium, sodium and calcium. These particles are referred to as clay minerals.

Because clay minerals are produced naturally as a result of weathering processes (e.g. rain and volcanic activity) and hydrothermal activity (movement of heated water e.g. beneath the earth's surface), they can be found in different sources, including in sedimentary rocks, and continental and marine sediments. Each source is unique in its mineral concentration, and therefore are classified as different kinds.

How does it work?

When mixed with water and applied to the skin, clay has the ability to absorb impurities from inside and on the skin's surface. Because clay minerals have different charges, positively charged minerals have the ability to adsorb anions (negatively charged ions) and negatively charged minerals have the ability to adsorb cations (positively charged ions). Due to either positive or negative charge, the mineral particles have the ability to hold the particles on our skin to their outside surface. Exactly how a magnet works. When we wash the clay off after it has dried, many of these oils, toxins, and contaminants from the skin will wash away with it.

Types of clay and their uses

White Clay - also referred to as China Clay or Kaolinite

  • All skin types

  • Mild exfoliant without causing irritation or excessive dryness

  • Gently draws impurities to the surface

  • Rich in silica, improving skin's elasticity and cell regeneration

Green Clay - also referred to as French Green Clay or Illite

  • Oily, combination and acne-prone skin

  • Stronger and soaks up excess oils

  • Stimulates cell regeneration

Pink Clay - also referred to as French Pink Clay, it is a mixture of Kaolinite, Iron, Illite, Montmorillonite and Calcite

  • Dry and sensitive skin types

  • Reduces irritation and inflammation

  • Gentle exfoliant

  • Rich in silica, improving skin's elasticity and cell regeneration

Bentonite Clay - also referred to as Montmorillonite

  • Oily and acne-prone skin

  • Helps reduce outbreaks

  • Binds to bacteria, toxins and other impurities on the skin's surface and in pores

  • Alleviates redness

Choose a clay mask that suits your skin type and use it 1-2 days a week to reap the benefits. Any more may cause excessive dryness, so start off slow and work your way up!

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