Clay has scientifically proven benefits for acne treatment, but like all skin care products not all clay preparations are created equal. I wanted to find the best mud masks for treating acne on the market for every possible need and preference.

I narrowed down the mud masks targeted at acne treatment by reading existing reviews. I consulted existing reviews on popular beauty sites. More importantly, I weeded out the not so great masks by researching every single ingredient in every single mask.

1. Best for Most People

Majestic Pure Dead Sea Mud Mask

This mask has excellent reviews but what really sets it apart are the ingredients.

majestic pure dead sea mud mask ingredients

Almost every single ingredient in this mask has proven acne fighting properties.

  • Dead sea mud shown in this study to exhibit antibacterial and antimicrobial properties on cosmetic preparations using dead sea mud.
  • Kaolin clay has small particles that effectively draw out oils, toxins and bacteria.
  • Shea butter was shown to have anti-inflammatory, emollient (moisturizing) and humectant (draws moisture in) properties in this study. Shea butter also makes a great moisturizer on it’s own, especially in it’s raw form.
  • Glycerin is a known humectant that naturally draws moisture into the skin.
  •  Jojoba oil has proven antibacterial activity as shown in this study and it also makes a very good moisturizer on its own. It was also found to enhance the penetration of skin cream by up to 32% in this clinical trial.
  • Hickory Bark was used traditionally as medicine by First Nations people and this study suggests antibacterial and antimicrobial activity.
  • Calendula oil, or marigold, is a skin care superstar that has been shown in this study to have anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and anti-genotoxic properties. Given that it’s one of the last ingredients in this mask it might be in a low concentration but it’s also available on its own in oil or salve form, both of which make great additions to an acne fighting skin care routine.
  •  Xanthan gum is a natural plant derived food grade thickener that prevents oil separation. it hasn’t been found to have any negative effects with topical application.

See…amazing ingredients, amazing reviews, and super duper easy to use.

Short of mixing your own amazing concoction (which is not that difficult BTW) this mask is your best, most user-friendly bet.

2. Blogosphere Fav

Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay

Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay is a perennial favourite among beauty blog writers and readers alike. There are literally dozens of posts and videos out there of people raving about this product..

BEST MASK EVER!

Flawless skin

GlamGlow Dupe?” (our personal fav)

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say this mask has a cult like following.

So, does it stand up to all the hype? Why yes, yes it does.

The ingredients are “100% natural calcium bentonite (green) clay”. Bentonite and montmorillonite (green) clays are proven to have antibacterial activity which makes them perfect for the treatment of acne.

The Indian Healing Clay people recommend mixing their clay with apple cider vinegar but otherwise it makes for a super simple no fuss acne fighting clay mask that’s ready right out of the jar. It doesn’t have all the magic ingredients of the Majestic Pure mask, but you could also add your own if you really wanted to (though I’ve heard it might not mix well with oils so that might be an issue if you want to mix those in.)

3. Probiotic & Anti-Aging

Eminence Clear Skin Probiotic Masque

My policy is that it’s never too early for anti-aging skin care – that’s why it’s called anti-aging!

So then what’s the deal with the probiotics, you ask? Well, it works! I’m a huge fans of probiotics internally and topically. We know from this study and others like it that consumption of probiotic rich foods has a significant effect on skin health, but did you know it also works when applied to the skin?

Probiotics applied to the skin have been shown to reduce inflammation and promote healing as a result. It’s the perfect addition to an already powerful acne fighting clay mask. This Eminence Clear Skin Probiotic Mask also has some other amazing ingredients including:

  • Corn Germ Oil was found to enhance the penetration of skin cream by up to 30% in this clinical trial.
  • Shea Butter was shown to have anti-inflammatory, emollient (moisturizing) and humectant (draws moisture in) properties in this study. Shea butter also makes a great moisturizer on it’s own, especially in it’s raw form.
  • Marigold Oil is a skin care superstar that has been shown in this study to have anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and anti-genotoxic properties. Given that it’s one of the last ingredients in this mask it might be in a low concentration but it’s also available on its own in oil or salve form, both of which make great additions to an acne fighting skin care routine.
  • Yogurt is the ultimate source of anti-inflammatory probiotics.
  • Xanthan gum is a natural plant derived food grade thickener that prevents oil separation. it hasn’t been found to have any negative effects with topical application.

What’s not to love when there are so many effective and sophisticated ingredients packed into one mask.

Also, for those of you wondering what the heck cyclodextrin is: it’s just sugar molecules that form a ring and enhance the absorption of other ingredients in cosmetic preparations.  From what we can gather, a glycine derivative is an amino acid that’s used frequently in cosmetics to adjust the pH.

4. Small Business Love

Lava Love Vegan and Organic Face and Body Mask, made with Volcanic Ash (Bentonite, Zeolite & Charcoal) From Oregon

First, this company is amazing.

It was started by two beauties in Oregon who discovered the healing power of clay and wanted to share it with the world. This mask is the real deal. Just as advertised, it’s a mix of bentonite, zeolite, and charcoal – nothing else.

It’s in powder form so this is a DIY project but it’s premixed so you won’t have to source 3 different types of clay for it. Plus, the best part is that you get to support small business. The big guys may have extensive R&D and marketing budgets…but the little guys have heart.

5. DIY Superstar

A. Vogel Green Clay

It might not look like much but this A Vogel Green Clay is the original clay. A Vogel is a reputable and long established company that sells clay that’s been extracted from ancient sea floors and is super fine in texture. If you want an easy to work with DIY starter clay, this is it.

Of course, you could also try French green clayMoroccan Red Ghassoul clayBentoniteKaolinMidnight Black Australian clay or a premixed blend like the small business concoction above. Each and every one of them has their own special properties, and they can all be mixed into your own personalized mask with some of the amazing ingredients listed in this post like marigoldjojoba oil, cucumber juice or vitamin E.

Featured image credit @treehut

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