We take a look at the ancient ‘mud-that-heals’ and its benefits
What is Bentonite Clay?
To answer that, we need to go back in time (tens of millions of years!) to the Cretaceous Period.
After huge surges in volcanic activity, leading to a series of eruptions, most of North America was covered in volcanic ash.
A great deal of the ash fell into the Upper Cretaceous shallow sea and covered most of North America, including Wyoming, USA.
The alteration of the volcanic ash in the seawater produced a substance called Montmorillonite clay, which Bentonite is predominately made up of.
Bentonite was given its name by the pioneer geologist Wilbur C Knight in the 1800’s, in part due to the location of where it was first mined – the Benton Shale in Montana, Wyoming.
The production of the clay in Wyoming comprises 90% of all Bentonite processed in the USA and almost half of the worlds’ total production.
The use of clay has been observed throughout the ages, going back further than history records even begin.
There are some indications that suggest early Neanderthals and another species of long extinct human (Homo – Erectus) would mix plants, water, and mud in order to make a clay to use on wounds or to clean the skin.
It’s believed that this practise may have started as a result of the archaic species of humans observing and then copying wild animals, who instinctively ingest and roll in minerals such as clay to rid themselves of poisons or toxins and heal wounds.
While we don’t know the exact specifics of how clay was used, it is clear that animals and humans alike, seem to instinctively know on an unconscious level the amazing healing benefits that clay can have!
It has been suggested that the first peoples to have used specifically Bentonite clay for a medicinal purpose was the Indigenous Americans, who called it ‘Ee-wah-Kee’ also known as ‘Mud-that-heals’.
Not only was this used by Indigenous Americans, it is also used by many tribes in Nigeria, Mexico and other South American countries.
The ingestion of Bentonite is said to target specific areas where there are internal ailments and heal from the ‘inside out’.
Fast forward to the 1860s, during the American Civil war, the cavalrymen at Rock Creek were reported to have used Bentonite as a replacement for soap and to help soothe their horses’ painful hooves!
How can Bentonite Clay benefit the skin?
Bentonite clay is comprised of many different minerals including magnesium, sodium, and calcium.
These minerals are essential to our bodies internal functioning but also has remarkable benefits for external organs such as the skin.
Read on to find out the top reasons why you should add this miracle clay to your skincare routine.
Toxin sucker: It has been reported that the clay has negatively charged Ions, which gives it the remarkable ability to absorb positively charged toxins from our bodies such as dirt, dust, and grime, which helps to unblock the skins pores.
Acne buster: Acne is mainly caused by the sebaceous glands enlarging and the over production of what is called Sebum (ever touched the T-Zone after a day of work and your hand is glistening? That oily residue is sebum)
Sebum gets a bad rap but it does have its uses! The body produces it to make sure our skin and hair doesn’t get too dry.
However, when our bodies are subject to hormonal changes (puberty, pregnancy and contraceptive pills) it can cause our glands to start over producing sebum.
When the excess sebum mixes with your dead skin cells, it forms a blockage in the follicle, which leads to white heads, black heads, and pimples.
Bentonite clay absorbs any excess sebum without leaving your skin deprived of natural oils, making it extremely effective in the fight against spots.
Healing, brightening, cleansing, softening, and exfoliating: As we’ve seen above, Bentonite has some pretty powerful abilities, but it doesn’t stop there.
Bentonite has been known to be a great aid to the healing of broken skin, even making it seem brighter and softer if used in a face mask once a week.
Not only that, it can also be used as a gentle exfoliator.
It has enough abrasive qualities to banish any dead skin cells lying about but is not as harsh as many high street scrubs, which can cause micro abrasions in the skin, leaving it open to marauding bacteria.
How to include Bentonite Clay in your skincare routine
The simplest and easiest way to start working Bentonite clay into your usual routine would be a face mask, once a week.
Sweet Cecily’s, a female-lead natural skincare company from the picturesque town of Whitby, North Yorkshire, have created a ‘Make Your Own Face Mask Kit’ which combines the powerful healing properties of Bentonite Clay, with soothing oatmeal and hydrating rose water.
In the kit you will find individual pouches of each ingredient along with an environmentally friendly wooden spoon and a pot to mix up your clay mask, to have on hand whenever your skin needs a bit of love.
With Valentine’s day just around the corner, the kit also makes for a wonderful gift idea for a special someone who would enjoy the creativity and fun involved in making your own skincare.
The Make Your Own Face Mask kit can also be personalised with a name or short message, to make it that extra bit special.
Bentonite Clay is also used in certain skincare creams and ointments, including Propolis Cream, made by BeeVital, a sister company of Sweet Cecily’s.
Combining Propolis and Bentonite for topical application can have powerful effects on the skin, especially for troublesome conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
Fun fact: Even Cleopatra is said to have used clay collected from the Nile as part of her skincare regime, so treat your skin like a real Queen would and add some Bentonite into your life!
Shop the full range of Sweet Cecily’s Natural Skincare Here.