There are many acne treatments on the market today, both prescription strength and over the counter, but one that many people may not be aware of is the clay mask. These masks, which can either be bought in spas or pharmacies and then prepared at home or made from ingredients in your kitchen, may help get rid of acne in ways that other acne remedies can’t. Clay masks have been used for centuries as a means to keep the skin supple and moisturized, but the natural ingredients in some of them have also proven to be effective in helping get rid of acne and even for lessening the appearance of acne scars. Some people even choose these masks to treat their acne because they are all natural and have a low instance of side effects. If you suffer from chronic acne and are considering a clay mask treatment, there are several things that you should know about how they work and how they may affect your skin.
Related: Best face masks for acne.
Clay Mask Ingredients
Treating your acne with a clay mask is not as simple as walking into the pharmacy and just picking one out at random (if it were that easy, we would all have beautiful skin). Instead, you’ll first have to do a bit of research to find the best skin care products for women and men, so that you can select a mask that really fits your unique needs.
Before you buy a clay mask, it’s important to know how to read labels and understand how the ingredients contained in each may help get rid of acne. For example, bentonite clay (which may be listed as Fuller’s Clay on the label of a clay mask kit), is a highly-absorbent clay that is believed to help purify the skin and draw away oils, toxins and dirt that clog pores and cause acne.
Another example is red clay, which contains a great deal of iron oxide, an ingredient that boosts cell production to help skin rejuvenate faster. French green clay is also highly absorbent and has been said to strip away excess sebum, the natural oil that the skin produces. No matter which type of clay mask you choose, keep in mind that you may have to try more than one before you find the product that works best for your skin type.
Applying a Clay Mask
When you buy a clay mask kit at a store, you may be surprised to find that the clay is in a powder form when you open the jar. This is because in most cases, you have to prepare the mask yourself, using a bit of apple cider vinegar or other liquid, depending on what the specific instructions on the label recommend.
Before you prepare the clay mask, you should wash and steam your face to ensure that your pores are open, for optimal results. Once your pores are steamed open, apply the mask on your most troublesome areas. Spread the clay evenly and make sure that you don’t use too much, as this will be wasteful. Afterwards, wait fifteen to twenty minutes for the mask to dry, and then rinse it off completely with warm water.
When you rinse off the clay mask, it’s best to use a large bowl of warm water instead of a sink or the shower because the clay may re-harden in your plumbing pipes and cause clogs. Once you have rinsed the clay away, toss the water outside and never flush it down the toilet, to avoid septic issues.
Side Effects of Clay Masks
While most clay masks are designed to be non-irritating, depending on your skin type, you may experience some redness or mild irritation that should fade within 24 hours. If your acne feels like it’s becoming irritated or inflamed, refrain from picking at it, as this may cause infection. Instead, wash your face with cool water to reduce inflammation. It may be necessary to find a clay mask that is designed for sensitive skin if you continue to experience irritation, or you can discuss what other options you have with your dermatologist or skin care professional.
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