We talked about the function of our skin in the last post. Since it is the largest organ in our bodies it is most worthy of being taken care of for certain. Our skin is covered in little holes called pores. Some are larger than others. Our pores serve the purpose of allowing the skin to breathe as well as release toxins from the body.
Something to keep in mind with our skin is if you are topically experiencing irritation like acne, rashes, bumps, etc then understand it goes deeper than your skin. Our skin is like a window into what is going on in the other areas internally in our bodies. We tend to think topical applications will solve our issues. In most cases an internal regimen is needed like dietary changes and certain supplements.
All than being said topical regimens are not to be discredited. They are certainly needed. Also topical regimens become internal through the absorption of whatever we apply into the bloodstream as well.
The most powerful form of topical applications are detoxifiers and antimicrobials. Today's topic of detoxification for skincare are masks. Due to air pollution, dirt, make-up, particular skincare products, and internal issues our pores can become clogged. In a perfect world our skin would cleanse and detox itself perfectly. Truth be told that just isn't the case.
Using masks 1-2 times a week for detoxification of the skin is a wonderful practice. It allows impurities to be brought to the service and washed away. The use of natural clays for masks also softens the skin. Clays are typically mineral deposits from either rock quarries, volcanic ash, or extracted from mountains. There are different types of clays. My three favorite are: French Green, Rhassoul, and Bentonite.
French Green Clay: It is pale green in color, rich in minerals such as manganese, phosphorus, silicon, copper, and selenium. It also contains decomposed plant matter, which gives it the green shade. If its not green, its not French green clay. It should never be gray or white. Even though the names indicates that it comes from France, that is not always the case. It can also be found in the USA, other European countries, and Asia. It promotes blood flow in the skin and soaks up excess oil. While being gentle and great for all skin types, it deeply cleanses the pores.
Rhassoul Clay: It is reddish brown in color. It is the high iron count that makes it red. It also contains silicon, magnesium, potassium, lithium, and trace elements. It is wonderful for removing dead skin cells. It reduces dryness and makes the pores smaller. Egyptians have used it for at least 2000 years as a shampoo and cleanser. It comes from the Atlas Mountains in Moracco.
Bentonite Clay: I am such a huge fan of this clay. It is a grayish/cream color. If it is pure white, it is not pure bentonite. It is from volcanic ash. There are three types of bentonite clay: calcium bentonite, sodium bentonite, and potassium bentonite. Calcium and sodium varieties are used for skincare. Potassium bentonite is used for medical treatment, engineering, and farming. Bentonite is a drawer of toxins, especially heavy metals. Calcium bentonite can actually be ingested. It pulls the toxins from the colon. I often suggest liquid bentonite for my health counseling clients. Topically it draws toxins, and is good to calm skin irritations.
Any of these clays can be used for facial or full body masks. Masks can be done 1-2 times a week. Much more than that can be too drying to the skin. Feel free to alternate the clay types weekly or monthly. All of these clays should be able to be found in most natural health food stores. Ask if the clays are available in bulk so they can be purchased by the ounce that way you don't have to invest a lot to try them. Clays should be stored in glass since they soak up toxins. Do use a plastic lid though. Clays, Bentonite, in particular, doesn't do well with metal. You can make additions to your masks by adding essential oils and flower petals. I usually do one facial mask and one facial scrub per week.It's like a spa at home...well, sort of anyway. During your mask, if it is possible, do it in the evening then sit and soak your feet in epsom salts with lavender essential oil. Drink a cup of sweet rose tulsi tea and read a good book for 20 minutes.
Here is a simple mask recipe that you can make in advance. Keep dry ingredients in a nice glass jar with a plastic lid. Mix with liquid at time of use.
Rhassoul Rose Mask Recipe
4 oz Rhassoul (Red) Clay
1 Tbsp Dried Rose Petals
*Use 1/2-1Tbsp of dry mix in glass or ceramic bowl
Mix with 1-2 Tsp rosewater with a small bamboo or plastic spoon
Apply to face, allow to dry completely
Wet cotton washcloth with warm water
Open washcloth and let sit on face for 15-20 seconds
Gently wipe away mask, wet washcloth again if needed
Use a little rosewater on a cotton ball to remove residual clay
If desired apply organic unrefined virgin coconut oil to skin afterwards