Therapeutic masks have been used for centuries with known beneficial results. What was not known was what the healing ingredients were. Science now can analyze and identify the components specific to certain natural clays.
In choosing the right facial clay masks, one must first determine the type of skin for which the mask is intended, i.e., oily/blemished, normal, dry, aging, or sensitive. Combination skin can be both oily and normal to dry. Many columns on the web offer educational material on the categorization of skin types.
In a few words, oily skin manifests itself by excess oil, especially on the nose area and chin, while dry skin lacks moisture, feels dry to the touch, and flakes; aging skin is leathery and sun-damaged; sensitive skin reacts to many harsh ingredients and is prone to breakouts and rashes; normal skin is neither dry nor oily but might be environmentally damaged; and combination skin might be oily, especially in the T-zone, while the rest of the face may be dry or normal.
Persons with oily/blemished skin will want to select facial clay masks that have drying properties. They should also refine pores, and extract impurities. Some facial clay masks contain glycolic acid or other exfoliants to remove old skin cells, encourage growth of new ones, and reduce the presence of blackheads. These facial clay masks may stress their deep-cleansing, purifying, clarifying, or skin refining characteristics.
Normal skin benefits from facial clay masks that supply nutrients as they smooth and refine skin tone and texture. Skin tightening elements, such as algae extracts or DMEA, nicknamed the facelift in a jar are frequently added to achieve a tighter and brighter appearance.
Dry skin thrives on hydration.
Since facial clay masks are by nature drying, additives that supply moisture should be present before dry skins can utilize a clay mask. Some facial clay masks for dry skin contain beneficial oils or plant extracts, such as shea butter, jojoba oil, aloe vera, or even goat's milk.
Sensitive skin should always patch test a product before general use. Usually, well-prepared facial clay masks without additives are best suited for this type of skin.
The type of clay from which the facial clay masks are manufactured also plays an important role in the selection process. There are too many types of clays to be mentioned all in this article. Only the best known clays used to manufacture facial clay masks will be mentioned here:
Kaolin facial clay masks, made from white, pink, or yellow kaolin, are ideal for dry to normal, sensitive, sunburned and aging skin, since they do not absorb oil. White clay, also called China Clay, is the most gentle of the three.
Montmorillonite Clay is named after the village Montmorillon in France, where it was discovered some 160 years ago. These facial clay masks are suited for oily skin, since they absorb excess oil from the skin and have purifying characteristics.
Maroccan Red Clay is found in the Atlas mountains of Marocco. These facial clay masks are also a good choice for oily skin because they deep cleanse, increase the circulation, and remove toxins from blemished skin
Dead Sea Mud, coming from the bottom of the ocean, is suited for all skin types. However, marine conditions favor the creation of microbial organisms and care should be taken in selecting facial clay masks that have been properly prepared.
British Columbia or Canadian Glacial Clay is probably the most famous clay for consumers in North America. It is mined in a pristine area of Northern British Columbia and enveloped in a shroud of mystery and folklore. According to numerous narratives, it has been used by native Indians for thousands of years as a wound healing and rejuvenating substance. Modern skin care has nicknamed these facial clay masks the crme de la crme. Most recently, the Canadian government has closed down several mines that produced this type of clay because of an unacceptably high percentage of arsenic. Care should be taken to select only clays that have been tested for their arsenic content. Another consideration is the distinction between dry land and marine glacial clay. While marine clays tend to have high microbial counts, due to the fact that they are mined from the ocean, where periods of receding water accumulated and stored bacteria over time, dry land clays are relatively free of them since they have not been exposed to marine conditions for a long time.
Many users claim that the Canadian Glacial Clay mask is the best choice for oily/blemished to normal skin. It absorbs moisture, extracts impurities, detoxifies, and gives the skin a fresh and young appearance.