So, while in the midst of getting my skincare routine under control, a spider bit me on my forehead…between my eyebrows…and made it look like I used my forehead to break a fall. Isn't timing great? I'm over here thinking "I'm going to make my skin look great!" and then, boom, a spider replies, "Yeahhh, girl. This is 2020. Let me find the most prominent spot on your face, make it swell as high as the sky, and bring your expectations back down to reality." In the scheme of things right now, this is so minor. I recognize that. I'm simply chalking this up to being apt for the year, adjusting to wearing a baseball cap when I walk outside, and keeping my fingers crossed it doesn't require a visit to the doctor.
I hesitate to touch the hurt area, or use much product on it for fear of aggravating the skin. So, I'm using my gentle facial cleaner and only applying my new astringent on the rest of my face. This bentonite clay mask would probably be a tool to reduce inflammation, but I'm just nervous about skin sensitivities and undermining my skin's effort to fight it. (Is that a thing?)
In case you aren't already familiar with bentonite clay (I wasn't until recently), it seems to be a wildly popular natural remedy for those looking to use less chemicals in their skincare routine, as well as detox or aid mild medical issues. My discovery is attributed to a search on Thrive Market for a less expensive face mask to help my skin enter a new phase of life (a.k.a. clearer and more vibrant...would LOVE to accomplish that before 40). Two brands are available on Thrive: (1) Redmond Bentonite Clay - $8.99 for a 10 oz. jar and (2) Aztec Secret - $4.99 for a 16 oz. jar. Both brands appear to be quite popular and Aztec Secret has been sold out for the last several weeks. I decided to give Redmond Bentonite Clay a spin, primarily because the reviews made it sound like not only an effective face mask, but also a household staple for other skin irritations. Here are just a few examples:
Use of Bentonite Clay for Almost Anything
Super important disclaimer: Most of the studies conducted on the use of bentonite clay have shown promising results in animals. Human impacts are still considered unconfirmed, but optimistic. Never use a skincare product without testing it on a small patch of skin first, understand your body's possible allergic reactions, and speak with a medical professional before ingesting or using a new product as a form of treatment. The uses listed below are intended to relay my research and my experience with the mask is unique to me. Soapbox moment over. 😉
- Detox, detox, detox. The ability to remove toxins is why people love using it as a facial mask AND in an edible form. Studies show promise in reducing mold-related aflatoxin B1 and cyanide. It can interact with other medications, which is why it is important to speak with a medical professional.
- A gentle option to remove oil and impurities from skin's top layer. It is often used as an active ingredient in commercial face mask.
- Poison ivy - a cause close to Cliff's heart (poor guy) - contains urushiol, which is what triggers allergic reactions in so many of us. Bentonite clay can help reduce the inflammation and effects of this compound.
- It works as both an anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory product.
- Clay can be dangerous if ingested, which is why it should never be done without researching your specific needs, first. Some have found success using it to detox armpits, feet, teeth, and more. Enjoy a comprehensive overview here.
My Experience with a Bentonite Clay Face Mask
Note the bags under my eyes and no eyebrow showing...my face is having a time of it right now! 😉
I decided to follow the basic instructions and keep ingredients as minimal as possible - for a "first timer." The basic ratio for a mask is 1 part clay to 2 parts water. Ultimately, I estimated the amount and ended up mixing about 1.5 tablespoon clay to 3 tablespoon water...and made way too much. But, that's ok! I shared a bit with my husband, who had a few bug bites of his own.
- Wash and dry your face before starting the mask procedure. Sounds so official, doesn't it?
- Don't expect the clay and water to mix perfectly. There will be a few, small clumps visible. Expect to even those out a bit when you use your fingers to apply the face mask to your skin.
- I tested a small portion of the mixture on the back of my hand before adding coverage to my face.
- I went very manual and applied to my face using my fingers, which was easier than I expected. Real talk, I felt like a kid again - instead of playing in the red Georgia clay, though, I was using the grown up version! With small strokes, you can smooth the clay a little better.
- I layered the clay and started with my forehead, then working my way down. As the original started to dry, I added another layer (remember, I made too much anyway) and filled in any thin areas.
- As per the instructions on the container, I let it dry for about 20 minutes and rinsed with a warm washcloth.
- If you suffer from dry skin, or sensitive skin, I recommend adding a little moisturizer once you are done removing the mask and drying your face.
Final verdict - I liked it, even a little more than the honey + cinnamon mask a few weeks ago (mostly because of the first bullet point below). Here's why I will add this to my regular rotation:
- The bentonite clay didn't run once it was on my skin, so I could move about and complete a few tasks before taking it off.
- It does tighten as it dries (shocker - it is clay), so I felt like my skin was benefiting from a little extra firmness. Regardless of whether or not that lasts, I like to feel as if a mask is doing something.
- A warm washcloth was all that was needed for removal and it was gentle enough to avoid the sensation of something pulling on your face. Don't you hate that?
- My skin was a little pink in areas, but I could tell it was just adjusting to something new...and it really isn't used to much of an exfoliant.
- The top layer of my skin (the only layer of skin I can feel) was softer and a bit brighter. As I mentioned earlier, just a hint of moisturizer was the perfect way to top off the skincare treatment.
Bentonite clay is named after Fort Benton, WY which has a large supply of this old clay formed when volcanic ash takes many, many trips around the sun. It is not limited to Fort Benton; rather, it is found all around the world.
The Plan Moving Forward...
I will try this mask at least once a week to see if I can get more consistency with my skin. I can't wait for the spider bite to subside, so I can see how the bentonite clay works on my T-zone, which might be the truest test of all!
Have you ever used bentonite clay? If so, did you just mix with water, or other ingredients? Currently accepting suggestions for another review!
Until Thursday, cheers to your #hearthhealthhappiness!