My battle with acne has been a long, painful, and difficult topic to muster up and talk about. My battle has had ups, downs, and is still ongoing as an adult. Yes, my battle is part of my physical appearance but the worst part of my battle is emotional.
Physically, I knew it didn't look good. My face hurt and I was uncomfortable. Makeup? I wear them but I don't like to cake it on. Besides, no amount of makeup would cover it up. My face was so red and inflamed. Embarrassing? Absolutely.
Here comes the emotional battle that comes with being inflamed. This is the skin on my face that we are talking about... the first thing people see. The first thing people look at. The first thing most people judge. I felt like everyone was looking at it instead of looking at me. There were times that I was so self-conscious about it that I struggled to go to work. There were times I didn't want to see my friends because of it. There were times I didn't want to go to family parties or holidays because of it. I would go to these outings anyways but never had a good time because I was too busy keeping to myself and trying every which way to not draw any attention to myself.
This was mentally exhausting. I felt discouraged. Why am I still getting acne as an adult? I shouldn't have to deal with this anymore is what I kept telling myself.
Some people think it is a sign of how healthy you are, too. I am in the industry of wellness and I don't want people thinking I am not a healthy person.
This has lead to frustration and almost a sense of disappointment. I put a lot of work into my own wellness, habits, and self-care. I am actually pretty nerdy about it. I've made my healthy habits into a lifestyle. But yet, I still get acne. The frustration is practicing these habits and my skin on the outside not matching how I feel on the inside. Almost a disconnect.
Yes, I still get acne and yes there are times I feel like I explained above. But I have learned how to heal my acne quicker and manage it better to where I am not getting flare-ups as often.
I have a very strict routine when it comes to taking care of my face. Having "problem skin" is difficult and it takes a lot of work to manage it. One part of my strict routine is using a bentonite clay mask.
What is Bentonite Clay?
A bentonite clay mask is exactly what it sounds like. It is a clay powder that you get wet to put on your face. It is a type of mask anyone can use whether you have problem skin, oily skin, or normal skin. This type of clay has many benefits and it is used for detoxification and impurities.
Benefits of Using A Clay Mask
The first benefit of this mask is it purifies your pores. Let's face it, the air around us is dirty. Pollution, free radicals, and chemicals have made it this way. Your skin is your number one largest organ of your body and it is also very absorbent. Your skin is soaking up dirty air, the air that is going to create havoc for your skin. And it's soaking up that air every. single. day. Bentonite clay powder mixed with liquid can help pull those impurities, such as bacteria from the dirty air, out of your skin.
The second benefit is the clay helps absorb any excess oil that your skin may be making. Many professionals tell you to use these harsh chemicals to dry up excess oil. This is probably the worst advice they could give you. That might work for a little while but over time those chemicals will start to strip away natural oils. Our skin naturally needs a little bit of oil. When you take those natural oils away, your skin is going to overcompensate. It ends up making the oil worse. Instead of using harsh chemicals, the clay mask helps to balance out sebum levels. Balancing sebum levels will help your skin create the oil it needs without causing an excess of it.
A clay mask can help detoxify your skin. That dirty air I talked about early, you need to get it out of your skin. You don't want to leave it there. A clay mask reduces swelling and soothes inflammation because it pulls out positively charged impurities such as pollutants and bacteria. Inflammation can be caused by bacteria and pollutants that are left on your skin. A clay mask can take them out!
It gently exfoliates your skin. Using harsh exfoliants over time can damage your skin. I just picture someone rubbing and rubbing until their face is red. That's one of the worst things to do for acne. Yes, you need to get rid of dry, flaky skin but rubbing it like that can irritate your skin. Use a clay mask instead. It is an all-natural way that GENTLY exfoliates skin to get rid of the dry, flaky skin leaving your skin feeling soft and smooth. Scrubbing like you are trying to get a piece of crusty food off a plate leaves your skin feeling painful and red.
Lastly, and I believe most importantly for those with problem skin, is it clarifies. The top causes of acne are excess oil, clogged pores, bacteria in the air, and dead skin cells that are left on your skin. A clay mask helps with all four of these areas. Because clay has excellent absorbing capabilities, it can pull out the bacteria and the excess oil gently. Because clay has great exfoliation capabilities, it can help with dead skin removal and unclog your pores.
That's five different benefits in a 15-20 minute period. You don't have to sit there and twiddle your thumbs while you have the mask on. You can do whatever you need to do while the mask is on your face. Do the dishes, laundry, clean up the house. 5 benefits+20 minutes= happy skin!
How to Use a Clay Mask
There are different ways to use a clay mask depending on your skin's needs.
For problem skin, use 5-7 days for the first week to kickstart the process. After the first week of applying the mask, do 1-3 times for the rest of the time. Apply the mask after cleansing but before your serum. So cleanse. Mask. Serum. Moisturizer if you need it.
For normal skin (yes, even if you have no skin issues you should still use a clay mask to get rid of pollutants, chemicals and free radicals your skin may have picked up from the air), use 1--3 times per week for maintenance and detoxification. Same routine. Cleanse. Mask. Serum. Moisturizer if you need it.
Specific step-by-step directions to applying a clay mask:
Find a clay powder that doesn't use any fillers. Chemical-free and natural is always best. My favorite is Aztec Indian Healing Clay. It comes in a big tub and it lasts a really long time.
Mix some of the powder with either water or apple cider vinegar until it has a pudding-like consistency. (This step may take a while to perfect. You have to figure out how much powder mixed with how much liquid is right for you.)
Apply the mask all over your face.
Leave on for 15-20 minutes. Feel the tingle because the tingle does happen as the clay hardens!
Rinse with warm water.
Your Certified Brain Health Coach,
Owner of SustainBRAIN