As early as the 12th century, even before this, clay has been used as a cosmetic ingredient and therapeutic agent by indigenous people in Europe. The most common use of modern clay is in the form of a mask, but other applications such as body wraps, baths and plasters are also common. The term associated with the use of clay is Pelotherapy, which is defined as the application of peliods such as mud, peat or clay to all parts of the body for healing or rejuvenation purposes. Many types of clays are used depending on their different healing or beneficial qualities.
Clay is composed of various mineral compounds rich in silica and aluminum, and sometimes contains trace minerals such as iron, copper, zinc and magnesium. The aluminum found in clay is completely different from the toxic inorganic substances used in commercial deodorants and therefore has nothing to do with the same risks. These two key compounds form a flat layer of tiny particles because rocks such as shale and mudstone are weathered by these elements. The clay layer produces a large surface area which is highly reactive, and due to the bonding between silica and aluminum, the clay particles contain negatively charged ions. This forms the basis of the clay properties, including 1:
o Adsorption – This is the ability of clay to attract compounds to the outside of the molecule and keep it there. Negatively charged ions in the clay attract positively charged ions in the contaminant, similar to magnets. This property binds clay to toxic substances and microorganisms.
o Absorption – This is the ability of clay to attract compounds within the molecular structure of clay. Once in the clay, the expansion captures the toxins, ensuring that they cannot be released again. The larger the surface area of the clay, the more it attracts positively charged particles or toxins. Because of this property, clay can be used to extract toxins from the skin, reducing pus and inflammation caused by swelling, abscesses and cysts.
o Ion exchange – This is the ability to change the surface charge of the clay in contact with it. This effect is very unique and contributes to the balance of clay on the skin.
Individual clays are classified according to their layer structure and different mineral compounds. The different minerals contained in the clay contribute significantly to the therapeutic effect. Minerals stimulate many local skin reactions, such as promoting healing and tissue regeneration, enhancing local skin immune responses, helping to destroy bacteria and expel toxins. Mixing the clay with water allows the mineral to be easily supplied to the skin.
The skin is an organ elimination, so many toxins are excreted in this way. Externally applied clay can be used to help extract and eliminate these toxins. This has the added benefit of reducing the overall toxicity of the body. Especially clay baths help to reduce overall toxicity. The warmth of the bath water improves the circulation of the skin and opens the pores, allowing the clay to work more efficiently. Facial care is beneficial for localized toxic accumulation such as skin congestion, cysts and acne.
In addition to its cleansing effect, clay can also help improve skin circulation, which will help clear internal toxins as well as improve the blood supply to nutrition. Improving blood circulation helps to improve the appearance of the skin. Clay can have an antibacterial effect and destroy bacteria on the surface of the skin, so it can be used for acne that can cause disease overgrowth. High levels of minerals such as zinc and silica in the clay will help provide the skin with the necessary nutrients to promote healing and skin regeneration.
Clay has been used to effectively reduce local skin inflammation and swelling. This effect is useful in masks because it helps reduce skin irritation and first absorbs impurities that cause inflammation. The ion exchange effect of clay also rebalances skin tissue and promotes cell health.
There are three main types of clay; kaolin, montmorillonite and illite:
Kaolin – Mild clay is ideal for sensitive skin. It is rich in silica and helps to cure scars and damaged tissues.
Montmorillonite – Contains high levels of magnesium, a three-layer structure and a weak silica-aluminum bond with a strong absorption capacity. Therefore, smectite clay is ideal for detoxification and cleaning.
Illite Clay – The presence of potassium ions and high levels of calcium carbonate make this clay an ideal choice for liquid extraction, decontamination and detoxification.
In terms of beauty, different clays are used for different properties. Clay has greater or lesser absorption, green is the most water-absorptive, and white is the least. More water-absorbing clays are more suitable for cleaning and detoxifying crowded, acne or acne skin. This will help calm the inflammation and heal the skin. Poorly water-absorbing clay is ideal for smoothing, softening and conditioning skin.
Green mud is the most absorbed of all clay types. It is used in masks to remove impurities, cleanse the skin and help normalize sebum secretion. It is suitable for all skin types, but is especially suitable for oily skin types and acne skin. Green Clay will also help organize the repair and calm inflammation.
Yellow mud is rich in minerals. For masks, yellow mud helps to improve tiredness and loss of vitality in the skin.
Red clay is rich in trace elements, especially iron oxide, which makes the clay red. Red clay has oily and mild absorbency that activates and improves skin shine. It is ideal for sensitive skin and skin capillary damage.
Pink clay contains iron oxide, silica and trace elements. It has a soft and conditioning effect on the skin, making it ideal for all skin types, especially for mature skin. Suitable for all skin types Clay is the mildest of all clay types. White clay is ideal for sensitive, dry and mature skin types.
When clay is used on a face or body mask, the thicker the application, the greater the rendering effect. Using a body mask, wrapping the body parts on the clay will increase circulation and make the clay more permeable. After application, the clay is allowed to dry and washed off immediately after drying. If left as soon as it is dried, the clay may absorb the necessary moisture from the skin, which is usually not the desired effect. Alternatively, when the clay begins to dry, the clay is sprayed with ordinary or flower water. Once removed, the clay absorbs toxins from the skin, thus avoiding the temptation to reuse the clay.
The ingredients mixed with the clay can also enhance its action. For example, for dry skin, base oils and essential oils combined with white clay can have a deep moisturizing effect. Enzymes from papaya or kiwi can help break down dead skin cells, making green mud more effective for crowded and acne skin.
Brian skin. 2007. Pelotherapy 101. Joint adventure
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