The Beauty Of Bentonite
What is Bentonite Clay?
Bentonite clay is absorbent phyllosilicate clay derived from naturally occurring volcanic ash sediment. It has been used for therapeutic and cosmetic purposes since approximately 2500BC. Also known as montmorillonite, bentonite clay is named after Fort Benton in Wyoming, where the largest known deposit of bentonite was found.
Bentonite clay has displayed strong detoxifying properties in clinical trials and is rich in nutrients like calcium, magnesium, silica, sodium, iron and potassium. The molecular structure of bentonite clay is responsible for its detoxification properties; when the clay becomes hydrated, electrical and molecular components of the clay rapidly enlarge and produce an electrical charge.
This allows the clay to ‘swell’ like a porous sponge and then work to draw out toxins from the skin and body.
What are the benefits of Bentonite clay?
Studies show bentonite clay displays a unique ability to gather and eliminate bacteria, fungus, mycotoxins, pollutants, environmental chemicals and heavy metals from both skin and the gastrointestinal system (1). Based on this, it can be used for both internal and external detoxification.
Used topically, bentonite clay is a powerful cleanser excellent at removing blackheads and excess sebum from the skin. By limiting the amount of natural oil left on the skin, bentonite clay lessens the impact of acne-causing bacteria, and therefore is the perfect antidote to oily skin.
Traditionally, it has also been used as a poultice for tendonitis, bruises, cuts, wounds and sore muscles to restore circulation, and new clinical trials have shown bentonite’s ability to speed up healing time in cases of dermatitis, wounds and rashes (1). A study in the Indian Journal of Medical Research tested bentonite clay against soothing calendula in the treatment of infantile diaper dermatitis and found that in 86% of cases, bentonite clay completely improved symptoms within 3 days of treatment (compared to 52% improvement in the calendula group). Furthermore, bentonite has shown great potential in treatment of ulcers and skin lesions (2).
Taken orally in water, bentonite clay cleanses the colon, detoxifies the body of heavy metals and fights pathogens responsible for disease like E.coli (3). In fact, one study showed that bentonite clay reduced the amounts of lead, cadmium, and zinc in test subjects by up to 51%, and does not appear to affect mineral metabolism nor absorption (4).
Bentonite clay vs. Activated Charcoal – Which one should I use?
The main difference between bentonite clay and activated charcoal is that when bentonite clay absorbs toxins, it releases minerals for the body to use, and thus is more nutritive to both body and skin. Activated charcoal does not release nutrients as it detoxifies, and also has the ability to bind to nutrients and remove them from the body; bentonite clay is discriminatory in its approach to detoxification and therefore more suitable for sensitive skins.
Bentonite clay also aids oxygenation of cells, due to its ability to pull excess hydrogen from cells, thereby leaving room for oxygen to take its place. A higher level of oxygen in each cell affects mitochondrial energy and repair, making this an important consideration.
Lastly, bentonite clay exhibits the ability to act as a topical antibiotic when applied topically – ridding the skin of inflammatory bacteria.
Topical Preparations using Bentonite Clay:
Bentonite Body Scrub:
Mix in glass bowl with wooden spoon (no metal) and store in jar. Use in shower 2-3 times per week to clear away dead skin cells, unclog congested pores, and moisturize the body.
Clay Detox Bath:
- ¾ cup bentonite clay
- 3 drops of an essential oil of your choice (dropped into bath water)
- warm water
Fill bathtub with warm water. Mix clay in a small bowl with a little warm water, and then pour the solution into the tub, swirling as you add it to prevent clumping. Soak for 20 mins.
Spirulina Bentonite Mask:
Stir all ingredients together (except for water). Add water ½ tb at a time until you have a thick, creamy paste. Apply a thin layer over the face, avoiding eye area. Let it sit for 20 min or until dry. Rinse face with water and moisturize.
Apple Cider Vinegar exhibits powerful antimicrobial properties and contains alpha-hydroxy acids to rid the skin of dead skin cells, keeping skin smooth and clear (5).
Spirulina aids in moisture retention, helps to eliminate harmful acne-causing bacteria, and is packed with chlorophyll to strengthen tissues.
- Moosari M. Bentonite clay as a natural remedy: a brief review. Iranian Journal of Public Health. 2017 Sept; 46 (9) 1176-83
- Mahmaoudi M, Adib-Hajbaghery M, Mashaiekhi M. Comparing effects of bentonite and calendula on the improvement of infantile diaper dermatitis: a randomized controlled trial. Indian Journal of Medical Research. 2015, Dec; 142 (6) 742-6
- Haydel S, Remenih C, Williams L. Broad-spectrum in vitro antibacterial activites of clay minerals against antibiotic-susceptible and antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. 2008 Feb; 61 (2) 353-61
- Fuller M, Smith JA et al. Simultaneous sorption of benzene and heavy metals by two organoclays. Journal of Colloidal Interface Science. 2007 May 15; 309 (2) 485-92
- Yagnik D, Serafin V, Shah A. Antimicrobial activity of apple cider vinegar against E.Coli, Staph and Candida: downregulating cytokine and microbial protein expression. Science Res. 2018; 8: 1732