Clay forms from the decomposition of stones and sediments and is found in many regions of the world. It is particularly rich in minerals and has very interesting medicinal and cosmetic applications. Their differing benefits are determined by each clay's original natural source components, being decomposed organic matter from plant life, animals and other minerals found in the vicinity of where it comes from.
Clay has a long history of use by medical doctors for treating both internal and external issues. Egyptians used yellow ochre, a sort of clay, to treat wounds, and used to take baths in the Nile alluvium. Clay was also used by the Chinese, Greeks and Romans, and was generally considered as the "magic earth". Hippocrates recommended earth from Lemnos, an Aegean island. Even animals instinctively use clay when they are sick or hurt.
Clays' extraordinary benefits and detoxifying abilities are also based on its' crystallised structure which, depending on the type of clay, gives it specific properties. Let’s look at some of the known types that are used in the personal care industry.
Bentonite clay. Comes from volcanic ash that has been altered in the presence of water. It draws out toxins and has anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. It has a strong absorption property.
Kaolin clay. Mostly found in tropical rainforest areas, it is also high in alumina. This fine-grained clay has mild absorption properties. It ranges in various colours such as white, pink or green depending on the mixture of minerals found nearby. Other kaolin clays include Brazilian clay and rose clay. With gentle absorption and exfoliant properties, this clay can enhance the tone and clarity of the skin. Brazilian Indians use the white clay to protect themselves against skin problems, insect bites and snake poison.
Rhassoul clay. A magnesium-rich clay found in a valley in Morocco, sometimes called Moroccan red clay. Being one of the gentler clays, Rhassoul clay is more moisturizing and helps soften the skin. It also helps regulate oil, improve clarity and elasticity.
Green clay. Usually found in France, the green colour comes from decomposed plants and iron oxides. Green clay also has anti-aging properties, stimulates circulation and has great absorbability.
Fullers earth clay. A mineral-rich clay, mostly composed of aluminium and magnesium, it is known to be super absorbent. It helps oily and acne-prone skin to draw out excessive oil and impurities.
BOA's smart, natural exfoliant uses a Kaolin clay as one of its' primary ingredient, taking advantage of the natural exfoliating properties as well as its' ability to provide tone and clarity to your skin.
The BOA product development team is hard at work evaluating other clays and we hope to bring you new products in the near future that will introduce the incredible benefits of these magic earths to your skin care routine.
Source: Technical papers, Skin Inc
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