Even if you haven’t heard of bentonite clay before, odds are you've probably used it in your skincare routine at least once or twice without even realising. It’s a powder that's derived from volcanic ash, and is used as an ingredient in a lot of purifying and acne-clearing products thanks to its ability to soak up and remove impurities and excess oil, according to dermatologist Dr. Marnie Nussbaum, MD.
But it’s also having a moment because people are using bentonite clay on its own as a DIY mask or facial cleanser. They're also buying it in bulk for an affordable price. That's right, you can typically get an entire pound (or two) of bentonite powder for under £20. Intrigued yet? Keep reading for everything you need to know about bentonite clay and more, according to experts.
Bentonite clay is used for removing impurities that clog your pores.
This means it’s great for people with oily or acne-prone skin says Dr. Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital.
When bentonite clay comes in contact with a toxin, it absorbs that toxin and then releases its vitamins and minerals for the body to use. “As a result, it’s an effective ingredient for removing skin impurities such as excess oils and clogged pores,” explains Dr. Nussbaum. She also notes that bentonite can act as a barrier, blocking your skin from possible irritants. Bonus? It’s also got minerals like magnesium, iron, sodium, calcium and silica to help brighten the skin's outer layer.
On top of that, if you’re facing poison ivy, poison oak, or diaper rash, bentonite clay can diminish the effects of an allergic reaction, too. “Bentonite clay also helps skincare formulas optimise water resistance and skin adherence, as demonstrated in sunscreen products,” says Dr. Nussbaum.
Bentonite clay can be used as a mask or cleanser.
The powder can come in a massive vat, so you might be wondering how to even use it–just add H2O. “When mixed with water, bentonite powder turns into a clay paste that can be applied to the skin as a mask or a cleanser,” explains Dr. Nussbaum. The amount of water you use depends on how thick you'd like the formula to be on your skin. Play around and see what you might like.
If you choose the face mask option, Dr. Zeichner recommends leaving it on for at least ten minutes before rinsing with water or a wash cloth.
Bentonite clay is great for oily skin types.
Since bentonite clay helps absorb excess sebum, people with oily and acne-prone skin types can use the ingredient almost every day says Dr. Nussbaum. However, if you’ve got dry or sensitive skin, definitely keep your uses to a minimum (think once or twice per week).
“I recommend starting with a bentonite clay mask once per week,” says Dr. Nussbaum. You can change up how much powder you use in the formula depending on how well your skin tolerates the product, then use it as often or as little as you please.
There aren’t any major cons to using Bentonite, but you should still do a patch test.
The most commonly reported issue with bentonite clay is that it can be pretty drying, so don't overuse. Sometimes bentonite clay is combined with salicylic acid if you're using it in product-form. This combination of ingredients can be particularly moisture-sucking, so make sure you read all the labels before you buy.
So yeah, other than dry skin, there aren’t many downsides to bentonite clay. “However, as with any ingredient, you may have an allergic or irritant contact dermatitis,” Dr. Nussbaum explains. “Therefore, do a patch test before you incorporate it into your beauty regimen.” Basically, be as cautious with bentonite clay as you would when trying out any new product on your face.
You can buy bentonite clay in bulk.
Now you know that bentonite clay is widely used and can solve a variety of your skincare issues. It’s time to make your first purchase. You can either buy bentonite in bulk or you can purchase everyday beauty products that contain bentonite clay as an ingredient. The choice is yours. Here are a few options recommended by our experts.
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