Since ancient times, clay and mud masks have been used regularly as natural remedies for acne and to maintain a
clear complexion. Clay is a naturally occurring material made of mostly fine-grained minerals. Clays have been
formed over long periods of time due to the natural weathering of rocks. In addition to the weathering process,
some clays have also formed due to hydrothermal activity. Hydrothermal activity refers to the transport and
circulation of water within the earth’s deep crust, generally from areas of hot rocks to areas of cooler rocks.
There are several types of clays, but their generally placed into two categories: primary clays and secondary
clays. Primary clays (also known as kaolins) are located at the site in which they formed. Secondary clays have
been moved by erosion and water from the location where they originally formed. When mixed with specific
proportions of water, all clays exhibit plasticity making them available for many uses. Aside from clays being used
to make pottery, many cultures throughout history have also used clay as a medicinal treatment for soothing the
digestive system and also as a topical application to alleviate various skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and
There are several types of clays and muds available for use as topical applications for the skin including bentonite
clay, fuller’s earth, Rhassoul mud, dead sea mud, and French green clay. These clays and muds differ in the
locations at which they formed and also in their mineral content. Although most clean clays and muds can be used
as a topical treatment for the skin, the three most commonly used clays for the natural treatment of acne and skin
conditions are rhassoul clay, fuller’s earth, and French green clay. Dead sea mud is also well known for its
healing and cleansing properties, but due to it’s cost and scarce availability – the mud isn’t used as much as the
other three clays. Muds and clays should be used in moderation in order to prevent excessive dryness of the skin.
Fuller’s earth is a naturally occurring quarry mined clay that is not only useful for removing impurities in the skin,
but it’s also highly beneficial as a bleaching agent for darker acne scars. Fuller’s earth received it’s name several
hundred years ago when textile workers discovered that it was a useful substance for the removal of dense oils in
sheep’s wool. Fuller’s earth is often added to skincare products due to it’s natural cleansing, healing, and
bleaching properties. To get the highest quality fuller’s clay, avoid purchasing it from home construction or auto
repair stores. It should be purchased from natural health stores that carry herbal and organic ingredients.
Cosmetic grade fuller’s earth is the one most beneficial for the natural treatment of acne. Fuller’s earth is highly
recommended for individuals with acne problems, blemishes, spotting, and people prone to having oily skin.
Rhassoul mud (also known as red clay) is a spa quality clay from the ancient deposits in the Atlas mountains of
Morocco. Rhassoul mud is rich in several minerals including silica, magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, and
sodium. These minerals are absorbed into the skin through the topical application of the clay. Rhassoul mud has
been used for over 1400 years as a natural soap, shampoo, and skin conditioner. Spas around the world use it for
its’ therapeutic properties. Rhassoul clay provides a high absorption level, making it especially useful for external
cleansing, skin detoxification, and as a general treatment for skin conditions. Due to the higher percentages of
silica, magnesium, potassium, and calcium – rhassoul mud is more effective as a natural acne treatment than other
clays. When used regularly as a soap, rhassoul mud reduces dryness, improves skin clarity, elasticity, firmness,
and texture. The mud also removes dead skin layers resulting in a smoother skin surface.
French green clay (also known as sea clay) mainly comes from France, but several varieties of the clay have been
found in several other European countries, China, and in several locations within the United States such as
Wyoming and Montana. French green clay contains several valuable elements which include minerals such as
magnesium, potassium, dolomite, silica, manganese, phosphorous, silicon, copper, and selenium. Green clay gets
it’s color from the iron oxides and decomposed plant matter contained within the clay. Like Rhassoul mud, green
clays also provide great absorption properties which makes them very useful in the treatment of acne and other
skin conditions. French green clay absorbs impurities, dust, oil, contaminants, and makeup. It’s minerals and
decomposed plant matter are also beneficial for nourishing the skin with nutrients.
Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia
Knishinsky, Ran. The Clay Cure: Natural Healing from the Earth
Healing Arts Press, 1998