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Health and Fitness

Whiter Teeth And Radiant Skin? The Health And Beauty Benefits of Clay

by Vivian KELLY Published on 12 May 2014

Clay is not just for making pretty pottery people! Its external benefits can help clean, brighten, tighten and exfoliate your skin, all while internally helping to ward off ailments AND keep our tummy troubles at bay. What's more - it's affordable, DIY friendly and all-natural! Impressed yet?

While some might think of clay as nothing more than DIRT, we've got a totally different perception. Clay is actually super nourishing, healing, and totally skin-loving. There's nothing better than feeding our skin with something as natural as clay. (You know it's pure when it comes from the earth!)

​The most popular clay nowadays is Bentonite - a grayish-green clay that derives from volcanic ash that's fallen into water. When the bodies of water evaporate, a mineral-rich mass of clay is left behind, perfect for us folks to come in and use it to our advantage!

​Clay contains many minerals including magnesium, potassium, iron and approximately 65 other trace minerals. With that amount of goodness it's time to kick start your clay obsession.

Use it externally or internally and mix it into a water, cream or a thick paste. The choice is yours. Alternatively, there's a wide range of clay products that you can purchase in-store for health and beauty purposes. It may be nothing more than mud to you now, but after learning these amazing benefits we promise you'll be as hooked as Divergent star Shailene Woodley is. And if it's good enough for a Hollywood star...

1. It nourishes the skin

The natural minerals in clay help nourish the skin naturally and effectively. So why not smooth on a homemade mask and let the minerals work their magic? No need to worry about harmful chemical nasties here!

Spa manager of Fivelements Healing Resort, Stefanie Jencquel says, “Clay is rich in mineral salts such as calcium, silica, zinc and magnesium, and also contains essential nutrients and phyto-nutrients, all of which play an important role in treating several skin conditions.”

From cleansing, to toning, nourishing and detoxing, clay knows how to make your skin sing. A it's an all round must-have!

2. It's a natural exfoliant

Ever feel like those annoying blackheads are never going away? Try a natural clay treatment.

“Clay has innate absorbency abilities and is therefore highly effective in drawing out impurities from the pores and absorbing loose skin cells. It's ideal to deeply cleanse congested and oily skin, and for treating acne," says Stefanie.

Clay's ability to draw out toxins will leave you feeling refreshed, gorgeous and ready to go! We're on it.

3. It helps to heal and disinfect

Clay isn't just used for its beauty boosting capabilities - it's infamous for its amazing medicinal properties too.

Stefanie says, “Clay is effective in killing bacteria and therefore helps to treat blemishes, skin inflammations and conditions such as eczema, hives, itching and psoriasis.

"​Even animals search for clay to cover wounds and reverse the effects of intestinal problems.” Wow, we learn something new everyday!

To use for healing, add a layer of clay onto the infected area and cover it with a wet gauze. Just make sure to change it every couple of hours and you'll be treated in no time!

4. It detoxifies your skin and body

Clay can help pamper your skin while getting rid of all the hidden gunk. Its detoxifying benefits will help exfoliate dead skin cells while encouraging circulatory activity within the dermis. Only then leaving you with a clearer, irresistible complexion. Hey, what more can you want?

Vice President of Product Development for Murad, Jeff Murad agrees. He says, "Clays have been used for centuries to remove impurities while delivering skin nourishing minerals, making it great for detoxifying or as an anti-blemish mask for the body and skin.”

Try Murad Clarifying Mask for its unique combination of earthy clays, Kaolinite and Bentonite and say good-bye to dull skin!

5. Soothes scrapes and burns

If you happen to scrape your knee or cut your finger, applying clay is a fantastic way to promote healing. It helps suck out dirt and pore-clogging toxins making it the first aid rescue everybody needs. Stat.

Stefanie says, “It is placid in nature and gentle to the skin, which makes it safe for sensitive skin. Its cooling effect helps calm insect bites, stings and burns of all types."

The cool thing about clay is that you can shape it into whatever you like - whether it's a creamy mask, mineral-rich water or a sturdy poultice - the choice is yours. Try this powdered form of pure Indian Healing Clay. The all natural powder gives you the freedom to use it in all its forms.

6. It's leaves you with younger looking skin

As we age our complexions can suffer. But with a weekly refining face mask and at-home body wrap there's no need to worry about the effects of ageing on your skin (including that orange peel effect most of us get too i.e. dreaded cellulite!)

Stefanie says, “When clay is used as a mask it has an astringent effect on the skin. As the moisture evaporates, the mask contracts and tightens the skin beneath. It is therefore rejuvenating and ideal for diminishing wrinkles and fine lines.”

Its superpower minerals also help regenerate skin cells and restore collagen. Result!

7. It's all natural

Don't compromise your health and beauty with harsh additives. One of clay's greatest (and most overlooked) perks is that it's an all-natural, non manmade ingredient and CAN be used in its original form without the use of nasty chemicals. So much so, that children can even use it!

So if you're running low on baby powder, clay can make a pretty good alternative to talc and baby rash formulas. ​Your baby's tush will thank you for it.

8. It makes a great foundation!

Using clay as a mask is one thing, but makeup? We had no idea. But with the amount of chemical laden cosmetics on the shelves we think everyone should give it a try!

If you have sensitive skin that’s prone to redness or breakouts this may be your answer! Some of the best forms of home-made mineral foundations and blushes are made using Bentonite clay as a base.

For true coverage and long-lasting power we recommend Tarte's Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Foundation. The nutrient-rich Amazonian clay (with added natural pigment) will help neutralise your complexion and balance the skin leaving you FLAWLESS.

We know what’s in our handbags! Try it for yourself...

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9. It's edible

It might seem pretty crazy at first, but eating clay can actually benefit your body (in more ways than one). According to the book Toxemia, physician, John Tilden M.D. states, “Clay contains the minerals and energy that the defense mechanism needs; it improves bowel function and detoxifies the body of pollutants.”

Other cultures have been consuming clay for thousands of years, not to mention animals too. In short, consuming clay can help ward off a load of health problems such as constipation, diarrhea, chronic infections, arthritis and even heavy-metal poisoning. Yup, we're pretty speechless too...

Divergent star Shailene Woodley is a fellow clay eater. She has a teaspoonful a day to help ​rid her body of toxins and to improve her immune system and if her radiant complexion is anything to go by, it seems to be working.

Note: Make sure you're well hydrated when you consume clay as dehydration can actually cause constipation!

10. It improves your oral health

Much like oral pulling, clay brushing is equally as cleansing for your gnashers. Because of its powerful abilities to deeply clean and diminish toxins, the benefits of making an 'earth paste' are just as great as your bog standard toothpaste (and we're not joking by the way). It's also remineralising for your teeth too. Use it as a toothpaste or make it into an alkalising mouth wash. The results may surprise you...

11. It can settle an upset tummy

Today, some indigenous cultures still frequently eat clay (a practice known as geophagy). In Haiti people make small 'clay cookies' to help them avoid illnesses from poisonous foods and help nourish their body.

Eating or drinking small amounts of clay​ will coat the gastrointestinal tract, which will help ease stomach problems such as ulcers, acid reflux, nausea and morning sickness. Who knew?

Some say it's nature's best natural cleanser and we couldn't agree more!

If you don't have time to whip up your own DIY clay facial or make your own home-made make-up, here's a few of our favourite clay beautifiers on the market now.

Bomb Cosmetics, French Kiss Clay Mask £7.99 © Bomb Cosmetics

Are you obsessed with clay? Share the love and tweet us @sofeminineUK!

by Vivian KELLY

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