The Benefits and uses of Bentonite Clay
What is bentonite clay?
It is also known as montmorillonite clay, is a healing clay which consists of aged volcanic ash. The clay forms over long periods of time from gradual chemical weathering or the rocks. The name bentonite comes from the largest deposit of bentonite clay that is located in Fort Benton, Wyoming while the name montmorillonite comes from Montmorillon, a region in France where the clay was first discovered. The clay is highly concentrated in minerals such as iron, sodium, calcium, potassium, magnesium and silica formed from the volcanic ash. The clay is odourless and has a grey/ cream colour. It also has an almost soft, very fine consistency.
It was used as a traditional healing ingredient for protecting the body from diseases in the ancient times. It was also used by several cultures all over the world like the Andes in central Africa and Australia who have used the clay topically or internally in numerous ways. In Iran, bentonite clay has been used since ancient time to cleanse the hair and make it softer.
There are two main types of industrial bentonite clay:
Sodium bentonite clay which has a high concentration of sodium and has the ability to extensively expand when wet and it is used in drilling mud and used as a sealant to self-seal barriers.
Calcium bentonite clay which has a high concentration of calcium which is a useful absorbent and the main ingredient in fuller’s earth. Popularly used in beauty industries to make skincare products.
How does bentonite clay work?
The clay has the ability to expand whenever it gets into contact with a fluid. It works by absorbing toxins, impurities, chemicals and heavy metals and removing them from the body. This makes it a common ingredient in many cleansing and detox products.
Bentonite clay is a unique healing clay which has the ability to produce electric charges whenever it gets hydrated. The electric components in bentonite clay change when the clay is wet. It works in the same way a s the earthing process. The clay has negative charge which in turn bonds with the toxins positive charge. Upon contact with the toxins, chemicals, heavy metal, the bentonite clay absorbs them and in turn releases minerals useful to the body for the body to use. Apart from absorbing toxins from the body, bentonite clay also gets oxygen to the cells in the body and skin then removes excess hydrogen out of the body.
Heavy metals in this context means the toxins from substances like lead, mercury, benzene and cadmium which are usually found in some skincare products or the food we eat like in some certain types of fish.
The amazing properties of bentonite is the ability to form thixotrophic that gels water, and absorb large quantities of water
The history of bentonite clay use
Since prehistoric times man used clay for therapeutic purposes. There are indications that homo erectus used volcanic ash mixed with water and different types of mud to cure wound ,to soothe irritations, as skin cleansing. Ancient peoples from the Andes and Central Africa and the aborigines of Australia have used bentonite clay as a supplement and for healing aches and pains.
What is the importance and benefits of using bentonite clay?
In our everyday lives, we are constantly exposed to toxins like pesticides, some trace metals etc. these toxins can accumulate in the body and cause the body to not function well. People all over the world use bentonite clay to draw out toxins from the body by consuming it internally to act as a detox and even applying topically on then skin to draw out impurities and toxins from the skin. Bentonite clay has been added to lotions, creams, face masks and also sunscreen. Actually, bentonite clay as an ingredient in sunscreen has been proven to be more effective than those without. Bentonite has been approved for use as a “Generally regarded as safe” food additive in the USA (FDA, 2004).
Bentonite clay for Skin.
- Bentonite clay is actually safe for all skin types.
- It controls the production of sebum
- Good for acne prone skin
- Makes the skin softer
- Adds glow to the skin
- Draws toxins from the skin
- It exfoliates the skin
- It reduces the appearance of scars
- It regenerates the tissues of the skin
- It helps you achieve an even skin tone
- It unclogs the pores of the skin and also shrinks them
- Helps heal dermatitis, wounds and also poison ivy
- Bentonite clay can be used as a baby powder and face powder alternative.
Scientific papers on bentonite clay
Bentonite clay for Hair.
- It exfoliates the scalp
- It promotes healthy looking hair
- It makes the hair softer
- Draws out toxins from the scalp and also hair
- It controls the overproduction of hair oils
How to use bentonite clay.
Bentonite clay can be used either topically or internally.
You will need bentonite clay, an essential oil of your choice, carrier oil of your choice and rose water or aloe Vera juice. Mix the ingredients together to make a paste of a semi thick consistency. On freshly washed hair, apply he mask on the hair making sure you coat every strand and your scalp and then leave for about 20-30 minutes then rinse off with lukewarm water.
You will need bentonite clay, an essential oil of your choice, rose water or aloe Vera jell. Mix the ingredients together to make a paste of a semi thick consistency. On freshly cleansed face, apply the mask on the face then leave for about 10-20 minutes then rinse off with lukewarm water.
Bentonite clay is amazing in helping reduce black spots and it gently exfoliates.
Best Bentonite clay mask for skin types
3 tea spoon of Bentonite clay + 1 tablespoon of Turmeric + two drops of Frankincense essential oil. + two drops of tea tree essential oil
Normal and dry skin
As a facial cleanser
Mix bentonite clay with water or rose water then use it to wash your face after cleansing off the dirt with a facial wash. Then rinse off with lukewarm water
Mix bentonite clay with water to make a paste then apply on your armpit and let it sit for about 30 minutes then wipe it off with a warm washcloth.
For oral health as toothpaste and oral rinse
Mix bentonite clay with water then gargle it in your mouth for 30 seconds to a minute then rinse off with water.
Mix bentonite clay with your regular toothpaste and brush normally. This will draw out toxins from your teeth and mouth.
As baby powder/ face powder
Bentonite clay can be used in place of baby powder to treat nappy rash. As a face powder to control oil production in the skin
For scrapes or bug bites
Apply a concentrated amount of bentonite clay directly on the affected area and cover with a band aid and let it sit for about 2 hours or more and then rinse.
Add ¼ cup of bentonite clay to your bath water alongside an essential oil of your choice for a relaxing bath. This will leave you feeling relaxed, your skin smooth and refreshed.
Bentonite clay should not be consumed/ ingested in massive quantities because of its expanding abilities.
Some bentonite clay products contain traces of heavy metals in them like lead and are definitely not appropriate for consumption especially by pregnant and lactating mothers and also children.
Test the clay first before using it on your face to find out if you are allergic to some substances in the clay.
By Eila Oketch.