The Dirt on Bentonite Clay: A Natural Marvel for Skin Health

Bentonite clay is a type of absorbent clay derived from the weathering of volcanic ash deposits; it has gained immense popularity due to its remarkable natural properties and numerous benefits for skin health.  

When volcanic ash is exposed to water, it undergoes hydration and chemical reactions, leading to the formation of clay minerals. Over time, this clay undergoes further transformations and becomes the mineral-rich substance commonly known as bentonite clay.

The key minerals found in bentonite clay include:

  • Montmorillonite, which gives bentonite clay its exceptional absorbent and swelling properties. It is responsible for the clay's ability to draw out and absorb toxins, impurities, and excess oil from the skin.
  • Quartz is a common mineral found in bentonite clay. It adds a gentle exfoliating quality to the clay, aiding in the removal of dead skin cells and promoting a smoother complexion.
  • Feldspar is present in bentonite clay and contributes to its soothing and calming effects on the skin. It helps reduce inflammation and can provide relief from skin irritations.

Globally, bentonite clay is most commonly sourced from the United States (particularly Wyoming, Montana, and Utah), China, India, Greece, and Australia. These countries possess rich deposits of bentonite clay due to their geological history and volcanic activity.

The unique properties of the minerals in bentonite clay offer specific skin benefits:

  • Deep Cleansing and Detoxification: Bentonite clay has powerful adsorption properties, allowing it to draw out toxins, impurities, and excess oil from the skin. This deep cleansing action helps detoxify the skin, leaving it refreshed and revitalized.
  • Exfoliation and Skin Renewal: The fine texture of bentonite clay makes it an effective exfoliant, gently removing dead skin cells and promoting a smoother and more radiant complexion.
  • Oil Control and Acne Treatment: Its ability to absorb excess sebum makes bentonite clay beneficial for oily and acne-prone skin. By unclogging pores and reducing inflammation, it can help control breakouts and promote clearer skin.
  • Soothing and Calming: Bentonite clay possesses natural soothing properties, making it useful for alleviating skin irritations, such as rashes, insect bites, and allergic reactions. It can help reduce redness and inflammation, providing a calming effect.

Bentonite clay can be used as a drawing agent to help manage splinters, to drain abscesses and infected sores, and to help deep clean blemished skin and acne sores.  It leaves the skin feeling just gently warm as it promotes circulation, is very gentle to use, and gives no sensation of stinging or burning.

But it’s important to know there are distinct differences between food grade and industrial grade bentonite clay:

  • Purity and Safety: Food grade bentonite clay undergoes rigorous testing to ensure it meets strict purity and safety standards for internal use. It is free from contaminants and toxins, making it suitable for consumption in dietary supplements and personal care products.
  • Processing and Particle Size: Food grade bentonite clay undergoes additional processing steps to remove impurities and achieve a finer particle size. This facilitates its dispersion in liquids and food products. Industrial grade bentonite clay, on the other hand, may have higher impurity levels and a coarser texture.

Industrial grade bentonite clay may contain some nasty contaminants that are removed during the processing of food grade bentonite. These contaminants can include heavy metals, such as lead and arsenic, as well as other impurities that are not suitable for ingestion or direct contact with the skin.  Here at Pure Thai Naturals, we use only food grade bentonite in our popular Face Masks.  If you’re buying bentonite clay for your own use, it is really important that you choose only food grade bentonite clay.  Read the label: if it doesn’t specifically state it’s food grade, then it basically isn’t.

Formed through geological processes literally millennia ago, bentonite clay offers numerous benefits for skin health and natural skin care. The primary minerals - montmorillonite, quartz and feldspar - are what contribute to bentonite’s remarkable skin healing properties. Understanding the differences between food grade and industrial grade bentonite clay allows consumers to make informed choices based on their specific health needs, ensuring safety and effectiveness.

We hope you continue to choose natural and that in some way this article helps you to choose all of your natural products more safely.


Elzein, A. (2015). Bentonite as a natural adsorbent and nanoclay for the removal of Fe, Mn, Zn, and Cd from drinking water. Water Science and Technology, 72(5), 682-690.

Janczak, D., & Nowak, I. (2019). The application of clays as skin protectants. Minerals, 9(7), 437.

Murray, H. H. (2006). Traditional and new applications for kaolin, smectite, and palygorskite: A general overview. Applied Clay Science, 34(3-4), 3-21.

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