Is Mud Good For Your Skin?

No, we’re not talking about the mud that you might find in the garden. In skincare terms, ‘mud’ typically refers to Deep Sea Mud, taken from the Dead Sea in the middle east. 

This type of mud is thought to contain several nourishing benefits for the skin, and is typically used in clay masks and DIY face masks. So, is mud good for the skin? Let’s find out.

What Does Mud Do For Your Skin?

While I’ve always been a fan of natural acne treatments, I do still take care to consider any claims of skincare “superpowers” with a pinch of salt, especially when they’re used frequently in skincare marketing. However, high-quality mud (aka mud that has been sourced from the Dead Sea) does actually contain veritable benefits for the skin:

Nourishes The Skin

Mud is infused with lots of different minerals, making it ideal for nourishing the skin and making it super soft and smooth. Most mud products will contain up to around 21 unique minerals, so a mud mask is a little bit like a facial-at-home when used correctly.

Offers Excellent Exfoliating Properties

Due to its abrasive texture, mud skincare products are also great natural exfoliators. Exfoliating the skin – especially acne-prone skin – is super important when it comes to keeping the pores free of sebum, oil and other bacteria or dead skin cells that might be lingering on the skin’s surface. 

Mud Deep Cleanses Skin

The great thing about mud is that it offers a really deep cleanse, in a way that traditional cleansing products simply can’t. The mud is a detoxificant, meaning that it rids the skin and pores of any lingering impurities, bacteria, sebum or oil on the skin. Once the mud mask (and all the impurities) has been removed, your skin feels fresher, softer and much cleaner than before. 

Mud Absorbs Oil and Sebum

Perhaps the most interesting point about mud: when applied to the skin in the form of a mask, mud absorbs all oil on the surface of the skin. If you’re an acne sufferer and have oily skin, a mud mask can help keep your pores free from excess sebum by effectively sweeping away all excess oil on the surface of the skin itself. The result? Fewer angry breakouts and a less oily complexion.

Mud Helps Treat Dry Skin

For acne sufferers, this point might not be particularly interesting. However, if you have combination acne-prone skin and often suffer from both breakouts and dry patches, mud masks can help alleviate dry skin. The minerals in the mud can combat even severe dry skin and psoriasis, or at least make it easier to treat. 

Is Mud Good For Acne?

Obviously, it’s important to point out that mud itself isn’t just one skincare product – it’s an active ingredient. That means that while yes, mud can be great at alleviating the symptoms of acne and reducing breakouts, not all mud products will be good for acne.

For example, a cheaply-made mud treatment that is highly abrasive might end up drying out your skin, leading to an overproduction of oil and increased breakouts. When it comes to any skincare ingredient that helps acne, it’s still important to consider the quality of each individual product, as well as any other ingredients used in the formula.

That being said, mud’s absorptive properties and minerals make it a great natural skincare ingredient, and anyone with acne-prone skin could benefit from adding a mud mask into their skincare routine. 

Benefits Of Mud Masks

One of the most common mud skincare products is a mud mask, often referred to as a “clay mask.” In my view, if you’re going to be using a mud product, a mud mask is your best bet. Here’s why:

More Time For The Product To Work Its Magic

The main reason I’d recommend using a mud mask over, say, a mud-based cleanser, is that you want to give the mud time to sit on your skin. If you want the full spectrum of mud benefits, the mud needs to be able to penetrate into the skin. This allows the mud to clear out the pores, rid the skin of any excess, sebum, bacteria and dead skin, and fully absorb any excess oil. For this to occur, the mud needs the time to work its magic. 

Immediate Effects

Another reason I’d recommend using a mud mask is because you will see immediate effects once you’ve rinsed the product off. Most mud masks will leave your skin feeling firmer, smoother, softer and refreshed, ideal if your skin needs a pick-me-up. 

Will Help Absorption of Other Skincare Products 

Using a deep-cleanse mud mask will not only help the absorption of other skincare products, but will make your skin a much cleaner canvas for things like make-up or tinted moisturizers. 

Best Mud Mask Products For Acne

When it comes to picking the best mud products for acne, I’d recommend two products that work well to deep-cleanse the pores while smoothing and purifying the skin:

Glamglow Supermud Treatment

My personal go-to when my skin is feeling congested, Glamglow’s Supermud Clearing Treatment does incredible work at deep-cleaning the pores. The mask uses activated charcoal to purify the skin, and I can personally attest that your skin will feel squeaky-clean after use. 

When using this product, be aware that it will tingle while it sits on the skin. This is totally normal, and simply means that the product is getting to work cleansing the pores. This mask also hardens during application, so it’s best to rinse off in the shower to avoid a mess in the sink. 

New York Biology Dead Sea Mud Mask
A more budget-friendly option, New York Biology’s Dead Sea Mud Mask is great for acne anywhere on the body. Enriched with, this mud mask draws out toxins, purifies, and even helps reduce the size of your pores. I actually used this mud mask on some shoulder acne that I developed a while ago (note: always make sure to change your pillowcases!) and it really helped reduce the inflammation and the pimples. 

This mask is a great budget-friendly investment, as you’re getting a hefty 8oz worth of product. With 2-3 weekly uses, it could last the whole year. 

Other Types Of Face Masks

Depending on your skin type and the type of acne you have, mud may not be the best type of face mask to soothe and nourish your skin. For example, if are trying to clear acne scars or fungal the type of face mask you should use will be different from the type of face mask you should use for clogged pores. Our team spent several weeks researching dozens of face masks and compiled a list of the best face masks for every type of acne. I highly recommend checking this out if you are interested in using a face mask as part of your skincare routine.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Often Should You Use Mud Masks?

Because they can be quite abrasive on the skin (even when made from high-quality mud) I’d recommend using a mud mask no more than 2-3 times a week. If you have dry skin or any skin condition that causes dryness, you might prefer to use a mud mask just once a week.
I’d also recommend avoiding using a mud mask if you have any open acne on your face. Wait until the wound has healed (or at least covered over) before using a mud mask. Using a mud mask on an open pimple or wound can cause pain and irritation. 

How Do I Use A Mud Mask?

Most mud masks will differ when it comes to application instructions, so there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to using them. Typically, you don’t want to keep a mud mask on for longer than 25 minutes (although most will be less than this.) 
Once you’ve used a mud mask, make sure to re-hydrate the skin with a moisturizer that is suitable for your skin type. After using a mud mask, most products will absorb better into the skin, so it’s the ideal time to use your fancier creams or serums.

Originally Published: May 30, 2022

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sam wood is GoodGlow's Chief Editor
Analyzed by Sam Wood
Hi I’m Sam Wood. I’m the chief editor, lead acne expert, and health coach behind GoodGlow. I’m also an author of one of the top selling acne books on Amazon, a husband, father of two, and a pretty good cook!

I’m so glad you found GoodGlow and hope the information I have spent the last 10 years cultivating will help you clear your skin and improve your overall health.

I began experiencing acne breakotus as a sophomore in high school, but unlike most of my friends, my acne actually got worse as I got into my 20s. I exercised regularly, ate healthy (or so I thought) and spent hundreds of dollars a month on high end skincare products and supplements to help clear my skin. Despite these measures my acne breakouts and scarring only got worse as the years wore on.

This greatly wore on my self confidence and mental health. Simple things like taking pictures or going out with a large group made me feel self conscious. So I avoided these situations whenever I could help it.

As a last ditch effort I decided to try an extremely restrictive diet recommended by a close friend with an autoimmune disease. After following this diet for about two months my skin started to clear for the first time in over 8 years. The good news is that this restrictive diet is not actually necessary for 99% of people to permanently clear their skin, and over the course of a few months I was able to add back about 90% of my “normal diet”.

After clearing my skin I spent the next 4 years self experimenting on myself with different diets, supplements, skincare products to try and find a pattern for what was triggering my acne breakouts. I even tried different meditation, ice baths, and accupuncture to try and isolate the root cause of the breakouts.

In the end I realized that an extremely restrictive diet was not necessary for clear skin. The most important thing to do is to avoid inflammatory foods in your diet. Some common examples of this are fried foods, alcohol, sugar, and dairy.

Most impoirtantly I stopped reading trendy websites for skincare advice and began reading medical journals authored by dermatologists and nutritionists. Although the information in the articles was great the information was not easily understandable to most readers (including me). I spent hours dissecting individual posts and looking up terms I did not understand. Over the next 6 months I gradually began to understand these journals and started self experiemting some of the research on myself.

After experiencing quite a bit of success personally, I started sharing my research on forums and with close friends struggling with acne. When I shared the research it was in easy to understand, plain English. Everyone I talked to loved what I had to say and kept asking more and more questions. So I decided to start a blog so I could just send someone a link when they asked a question instead of rewriting something I had sent 100 times before 😅

While the same directional principles apply to everyone, acne is very personal and should be treated on an individual basis. That’s ultimately why I created GoodGlow. To help everyone reverse engineer the root cause of their acne and clear their skin permanently.

To date I’ve helped over 2,500 people clear their skin using a natural, holistic approach. If you are unable to find an answer to your question in any of the articles my team has written please reach out and I will do my best to guide you to the proper information and resources so you can make a thoughtful, informed decision. Read more of Sam's articles.

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