It might not sound like the sexiest ingredient to slather on your precious mug, but there’s no denying that mud can be incredibly beneficial when used on skin for a myriad of reasons. In fact, it’s been used in the beauty world for thousands of years. Even Cleopatra was known to don a face full of clay (from the Dead Sea no less) twice a week.
But it wasn’t only used to enhance beauty. Since ancient times it has been used as a treatment for a slew of skin disorders, including psoriasis, eczema, rosacea and even acne. And still today, it’s used for such treatment. One study published in the journal Clinical Therapeutics, noted the benefit of mud bath therapy for those plagued with psoriasis flare ups.
Interestingly, patients with psoriasis have found benefit to bathing themselves in the salts and the mud in the Dead Sea in the Middle East to rejuvenate and regenerate new skin and sloughing of thickened, dead skin.
One of the best things about using mud as an ingredient in a face mask is the fact that it is, after all, completely natural. It’s a mere mixture of water and soil and can be found pretty much anywhere, so you don’t have to worry about what kind of unknown chemicals (and unknown side effects that come along with them) you might be using on your face.
When looking closely at the biggest benefit of using mud in your skin care routine, and especially as a face mask, it’s without a doubt its impressive oil-absorbing abilities. Since it’s able to draw out and essentially expel impurities from the skin, it also has the additional side effect of tightening the skin and even smoothing out previously formed lines and wrinkles.
Mud masks are hydrating and soothing, and let’s not forget provide some degree of exfoliation–promoting turnover of new skin.
All the while, mud replenishes the skin with its impressively high concentration of salts and minerals, most notably magnesium, potassium, calcium and sodium.
Mud Mask Benefits
Here’s a look at some of the other ways mud can benefit the skin when used as a face mask:
Decreases pore size: As another side effect of drawing out the oil, dirt and grime in your pores is that it makes them appear smaller as a result. You’ll also feel significantly less oily, which is always a plus!
Reduces look of cellulite: Thanks to its large concentration of nutrients, which help increase blood circulation, you can expect to see a reduction in the appearance of cellulite—all without the use of heavy creams loaded with a ton of chemicals you can hardly pronounce.
Cuts back on arthritic pain: It’s true! Research published in the journal Rheumatology International has found that the use of mud compress therapy (applying mud directly to areas of pain) was shown to be particularly beneficial in reducing the discomfort associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
6 Mud Masks Recipes to Try
Need we say more? Since mud is as natural as it gets, you don’t need to head to your local beauty store or drugstore to reap the skin-saving benefits. Here are some homemade masks recipes for you to try on the comfort of your own couch!
This mud mask not only leaves your face feeling soft and smooth, but it also leaves skin aglow thanks to the increase in blood supply.
Antioxidant-rich cacao powder is mixed with exfoliating, energizing coffee, and detoxifying clay for a combination that’s a power-packed anti-aging treat for your skin.
This DIY carbonated bubble mask uses citric acid to get the same fizzy tingle you’d get from store bought masks containing carbonic acid. And while looks may be deceiving (i.e., your face may not puff up like a cloud) you’ll still benefit from the delightfully effervescent effect and walk away with fresh, clear skin.
The next time you whip up a batch of cranberry sauce, you might want to set a few berries aside for this brightening facial mask.
Ideal for oily and acne prone skin, Moroccan red clay comes from the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. If you’re battling blackheads and clogged pores, this is the clay for you.
This mask is a copycat version of Dr. Jart+’s Shake & Shot Rubber Masks. In addition to the agar agar, there’s clay, rice flour, and oatmeal in it to help absorb oil and clean out your pores.
This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Rina Mary Allawh, M.D., a dermatologist who performs adult and pediatric medical dermatology, skin cancer treatment and cosmetic dermatology. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical review board here. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.101