Have you ever applied a clay mask to your face- let it dry for half an episode of your favourite show- and as the mask starts to dry, crack and flake off- your realize all you've achieved is white hot and tomato red skin?
If you've ever asked yourself "Why is my face so red and itchy after a clay mask?"- then this blog post is for you!
Keep reading if you want to know why you should never let your clay mask fully dry- along with our one tip to avoid a flushed face!
Why Is My Face Red After Using A Clay Face Mask?
For your clay mask to work- without damaging your skin- you want to avoid what's called "cutaneous vasodilation". This is the scientific phrase for the red and flushed appearance (on lighter skin tones) and potentially "hot" sensation you get when you remove a harsh mask that you've let completely dry on your face!
Is cutaneous vasodilation good or bad for my skin?
You may be thinking- so what is "Cutaneous Vasodilation" and is it good or bad for my skin? What about all the clay masks that actually promote the hot, dry and inflamed sensation as being "good" for your skin?
Well- we tried to find out whether or not this temporary "flushing" is good or bad for you- but scientific research on the benefits of cutaneous vasodilation is actually sparse. We couldn't find much evidence for or against inducing this. BUT, nothing is stopping us from using a bit of common sense!
In scientific terms, cutaneous vasodilation occurs when a clay mask has dried and contracted your skin, causing blood to rush to the surface of your skin. When blood flow increases so quickly to an area, it tends to make the skin feel "hot".
Now- although this "blood rush" in and of itself has no long term consequences that we can find in research, we do have to ask ourselves WHY the skin developed this measure. Historically, cutaneous vasodilation is actually an emergency mechanism your skin uses to protect itself against things like hypothermia. And I don't know about you but... I'm pretty sure inducing your skin's emergency measures against hypothermia is not the secret to great skin!
Blood rushing to one area of your body so rapidly, can also cause your blood pressure to drop. Again, we can't categorically say whether this is good or bad for you but... we're just trying to get a dewy "glow"- not redirect our blood flow when doing a clay mask!
So- the jury is out on whether it's beneficial to cause your face to become red hot, but we will say that there are other issues at play. An allergic reaction could present in the exact same way, which means you may actually be allergic to an ingredient in the mask, and instead thinking the mask is "working".
So, we like to stay on the safe side and only stick to Clay Mask formula's that have taken "flushing" into account and reduced it by adding de-sensitizing agents (like allantoin or aloe vera), as well as ensuring the Clay content is well balanced. Our Clay Mask formula's contain both of these ingredients for these exact reasons!
So- How Do I Use A Clay Mask Properly?
After dropping the bomb about hypothermia- you may be wondering why you should use a clay mask at all?
Well, clays are extremely good at binding to excess oils- and for those of us with oily skin, we know the feeling of just wanting to wipe off the oil and see a smooth, even skin tone! You can also add other beneficial ingredients to a clay mask, and simply use the mask as a delivery system for these.
All of our clay mask formula's take advantage of this, and contain highly beneficial extracts such as Licorice Root, Green Tea extract and more!
This is where clay masks really shine: by getting rid of the shine! So, let's chat about how to use a clay mask properly- by embracing clay's benefits, while avoiding how harsh clay can be.
PRO TIP: ALWAYS REMOVE YOUR MASK BEFORE IT FULLY DRIES
It comes down to this: always remove your clay mask before it fully dries
While we want the clay to stay in contact with the skin in order to absorb excess oil and sebum (while delivering other beneficial ingredients like plant extracts)- we also don't want to impact the basic functionality of your skin barrier function.
As you may have learnt from our previous blog posts about Understanding Your Skin- it's extremely important for your skin health to maintain your skin's natural oils and moisture. Protecting and maintaining the water content in your skin- a.k.a keeping it well hydrated- is key to achieving that "glowy", smooth look!
When you leave a clay mask on too long by letting it dry, harden and contract- the clay ends up absorbing essential water from your skin barrier, which crucially effects hydration levels.
We hate to break it to you but, chronically dehydrated skin can actually lead to premature aging. This is the opposite of what you want from your Clay face mask experience!
So, how do you prevent your clay mask from drawing out natural oils and moisture, and compromising your precious skin barrier function- WITHOUT ending up with cutaneous vasodilation? You take off your mask as it's drying, but not before it fully hardens!*
How do I make a DIY CLAY face MASK non-drying?
With all this new information, you may be wondering: what the secret is to a non-drying clay mask?
The key is Humectants! Humectant is just a scientific word for a substance that attracts and binds to water molecules! It's the friendly opposite of a clay when it comes to skincare: just as Clay removes excess sebum and moisture- humectants actually attract and replace missing moisture!
That's why, in our DIY Clay Face Mask kit, we have included a vial of Glycerin in each kit- so that each time you apply your custom formulated mask, you're protecting your skin against the possibility of the clay drying out too much on the surface of your skin!
With it's honey-like texture, Glycerin also makes a Clay Mask formula creamier, easier to apply, less clumpy AND prevents the clay formula from drying, hardening or cracking.
With our glycerin-focused Clay Mask formula, you'll feel the sensation of the mask drying out around 25%, but it will remain tacky and "wet" looking, no matter how long you leave it on your face.
That being said- we recommend never leaving your Clay Mask on for longer than 15 minutes- as it's already worked it's magic by then, removing excess sebum, oils and impurities from the surface of your skin, while delivering beneficial molecules found in extracts and clays!
pro tip: always add glycerin to your DIY CLay Face mask!
The main takeaway from this blog post is: when doing your own DIY Clay Face mask at home- never let your clay fully dry on your skin... OR, simply add glycerin!
You can get skin-safe glycerin at most drug stores, BUT be sure to buy "USP" Glycerin. This determines the quality and source of the ingredient. When figuring out how much glycerin to add to prevent cuteanous vasodilation- our suggestion is to start by adding as much glycerin as water.*
If using our DIY Clay Face Mask Kit- always follow the recipe we provide for a perfect, tomato-face-free mask every time. To figure out which DIY Clay Face Mask formula is best for you- browse our masks by clicking the image below.
*PSA: ALWAYS patch testing before using a new product, and follow the manufacturer's instructions before a random blog post on the internet! This is a long way of saying we- in no way- accept responsibility for the information contained in this post. Any instructions you receive with your product should be followed to ensure safe use of your cosmetics.