Owing to their mineral content, clay comes in a variety of colours. They also differ in texture and have diffferent properties. Bentonite clay (also called fuller’s clay) are the most useful of all clays. It has absorbing properties and can be used as an exfoliant as it draws out impurities from the skin.Others, such as French Green clay and Rhassoul clay, absorb excess sebum and are apt for oily skin. They contain magnesium oxide that cleanses the skin and absorbs the fat from it.
Red clay is a powerhouse iron oxides, that brighten the skin and renew cells. Adds Dr Shetty, “The essential nutrients contained in the clay gives a toning effect on the skin. Fuller’s earth clay is sedimentary clay is a bleaching agent and is used as a skin lightening agent. French Green Clay has excellent absorbing agents as it absorbs the extra oil from the skin, which is good as this extra oil may lead to acne marks and blemishes.”
Where to apply, how often
Don’t slather on the clay everywhere, restrict it to the regions of the cheeks, forehead, nose, and chin and away from eyes and lips. How often can one use a clay mask? Says consultant dermatologist and cosmetologist, Dr Bindu Sthalekar, “People having oily skin can use clay masks for 2-4 days in a week or so. One can wash the mask with plain water.”
Can it irritate the face?
No, clay mask does not cause any type of skin problems, says Dr Sthalekar. “They are actually used to cure acne. Use a clay mask with plain water. If clay masks are used with milk it may lead to skin problems. Also, the texture of the clay mask is impervious and if a person rubs it too much into the skin, it can lead to redness.”
Masks for men too?
Of course, says spa expert Pawlomi Dhawan. “Men want ways to control excess skin oil and unclog the pores. The two main properties of a clay mask are deep cleansing and detoxifying and thus they are beneficial to men and women too. In fact, so many male clientele ask for clay-based packs and foot massage regimes.” Men can apply a clay mask once a week, after shaving and before toning the skin.