What it is: Volcanic ash clay (also known as sodium bentonite clay) is created when volcanic ash mixes with water. The resulting clay contains a combination of minerals that can provide numerous health and skin benefits. It is often referred to as “living clay” because of its rich, natural mineral content.

Where it comes from: Many years ago, a chain of volcanoes stretched from Mexico to southern Canada. Their powerful eruptions produced dust-sized particles. As this volcanic “ash” descended back to the ground, the minerals in the volcanic ash reacted with elements of salt water, forming a substance commonly known today as sodium bentonite clay. Over the years, sodium bentonite clay beds became buried by deep, dense layers of silica and mud. In time, however, natural erosion caused the bentonite layers to be re-exposed, allowing volcanic ash clay to be discovered.

Properties: Volcanic ash clay is highly absorptive (it can absorb seven to 10 times its own weight in water) and calming (it’s a natural anti-inflammatory). It is thought to help visually improve the look of blemishes, cellulite, sun damage, stretch marks, wrinkles, age spots, and more.

What it’s good for: The minerals in volcanic ash clay are known to exfoliate the skin, lifting dead cells and revitalizing the skin. It is also believed that volcanic ash clay helps to draw out toxins from the body. It can help reduce cellulite, stretch marks, and fine lines and wrinkles. It improves the appearance of crow’s feet, under-eye puffiness, scars, and blemishes. Volcanic ash clay helps replenish dry, dull skin and helps hide an uneven skin tone. For teens, the clay can help improve skin acne.

Where you’ll find it: Volcanic ash clay used to be the best-kept secret of most elite health and beauty spas in the world. But now, it’s more affordable and it can be found in facial masks or eye and lip masks. These masks help to hydrate the skin, tighten upper skin layers, and draw out toxins to create soft, clean skin.

Other uses: Due to its all-natural nature and the fact that it is a “living clay,” it’s actually safe enough to be ingested, sometimes in the form of a supplement to repair and rebuild tissues.

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