Is Volcanic Ash Good for Skin?

Have you experienced the excellent skin benefits from volcanic clay? We are super excited to be introducing the fantastic services of volcanic clay to help you improve your skin! While volcanic ash and clays have been around for millions of years, in modern society, we are only just becoming aware of all the excellent benefits for skin these natural compounds have!

To bring these skin-enhancing benefits directly to you, we have formulated a new range of face masks created with premium quality volcanic clay. What's better is that we have sourced the pure and nutrient-rich Balinese volcanic clay, which has outstanding properties for skin care, providing your skin with an impressive range of benefits to kick your complexion up to an entirely new level. 

If you're yet to know about this increasingly popular natural skincare ingredient, here's everything you need to know - including what it is, where it comes from, the skin benefits, and how it can nourish your skin.

What is volcanic ash?

Volcanic clay forms when volcanic ash is combined with water - creating a paste with a rich blend of skin-nourishing minerals for our body to embrace. It's acclaimed for its wide array of purposes, with the ability to exfoliate, detoxify, clear impurities, and brighten skin - and that's only the beginning. 

If you're thinking back to history class when you learned about Mount Vesuvius' eruption burying Pompeii in volcanic ash, you're on the right track. That's the same type of volcanic ash we're talking about, but with a happier ending.

According to the Volcanic Ashfall Impacts Working Group, volcanic ash consists of fragments of rocks, minerals, and volcanic glass that forms during explosive volcanic eruptions. In the beauty world, these particles serve as nature's exfoliator.

"Volcanic ash is a combination of natural ingredients including bentonite clay and sulphur," says Peterson Pierre, MD, a board-certified specialist in dermatology and cosmetic dermatology at the Pierre Skin Care Institute in Thousand Oaks, California. "Its high mineral content gives it antimicrobial and antioxidant properties."

According to National Geographic, volcanic ash is a mixture of rock, mineral, and glass particles expelled from a volcanic eruption in simplest terms. Volcanic ash is a combination of sulphur and bentonite clay. As opposed to lava or volcanic rock, however, volcanic ash isn't something that flows from volcanoes. Instead, it's expelled across large distances along with water and gas. Volcanic ash has created plenty of problems for people over the years—from killing crops to delaying and cancelling flights.

However, its unique structure makes it a fantastic ingredient for skincare.

volcanic ash cream

Volcanic ash particles are tiny, porous, and absorbent. This works very well for cleaning up liquids; in the beauty market, this means they may be particularly significant for clearing off the stubborn oil and sebum that sit on your face during the day. It also means the ash may help clear up any less-than-natural things that may be residing on your face, like pollution and extra makeup.

Benefits of Volcanic Ash for Skin

Volcanic ash is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, as it has been known for many years to help soothe inflamed skin in eczema and psoriasis.

In other words, it soaks up all the bad stuff like a sponge. Volcanic ash works like clay to soak up sebum, making it especially helpful for those with oily, acne-prone skin.

Sonya Dakar, celebrity esthetician and founder and CEO of Sonya Dakar Skincare and Skin Clinic, says, "Volcanic ash is extremely rich in minerals and has antiseptic, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties. So it works well to not only clear blemishes but heals the inflamed, irritated skin." If your skin feels polluted—for whatever reason—volcanic ash is a pretty good ingredient to turn to.

"Volcanic ash is a rich mineral, an antioxidant and antibacterial exfoliant that helps to clarify the skin and make it more beautiful," explains Anna Guanche, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in Calabasas and Beverly Hills, California, whose celebrity clientele includes Rebecca Romijn, Alyssa Milano, and Brandi Glanville.

"It can be a wonderful ingredient for people with oily, irritated, acne-prone skin because it has a drying effect," Guanche says. She says it can also help calm inflammatory skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis and even deter dandruff. Because its fine particles are highly absorbent (bentonite is the ingredient that makes kitty litter clump), volcanic ash helps remove excess oil from your skin and scalp.

"Combine that with its antimicrobial and antioxidant effect, and you have a product that can be effective against acne," says Pierre. "Additionally, volcanic ash removes impurities and delivers a gentle exfoliation, which can leave your skin feeling soft and smooth."

Volcanic Clay Fights Off Acne

For those suffering from oily or acne-prone skin - volcanic ash and clay have shown to be an excellent tool for fighting off pimples. By unclogging pores, volcanic clay can prevent breakouts from occurring in the first place. And for those hoping to treat acne and pimples already there, volcanic clay masks have been gaining a reputation as an excellent treatment for helping to eliminate the spots already there!

Volcanic Clay Can Help Treat Acne Scars

Acne scarring is a common consequence of breakouts – and volcanic clay skincare may be able to assist. One of the many widespread benefits includes its ability to reduce the appearance of acne scarring. By using the volcanic clay masks regularly on the affected area, acne scarring is likely to be smoothed and minimized.

Volcanic Clay Can Delay Signs Of Aging 

With a unique cocktail of active enzymes, volcanic ash skincare can help to lessen the appearance of aging - specifically by reducing wrinkles and fine lines. On top of this, these enzymes can also restore elasticity by boosting circulation in the skin, leaving behind a supple complexion.

Volcanic Clay Exfoliates The Skin

Volcanic clay works as an effective natural exfoliator, helping to deliver us with a shining complexion by scrubbing away dead skin cells while nourishing our skin. Not only can this process unclog pores and prevent acne, but this can help our other skincare products work much more effectively, penetrating deeper into the skin.

Volcanic Clay As A Deep Cleanser For All Skin Types

Since volcanic ash is known for being very gentle on most skin types, it works well as a cleanser for both oily and dry skin. Plus, with its detoxifying powers, volcanic clay can also improve the texture of the skin while drawing out the toxins - a winning combination!

Volcanic Clay Softens The Skin 

By unclogging pores, getting rid of dead skin cells, and clearing impurities, volcanic ash offers another noticeable benefit - softer skin. Try moisturizing your face after rinsing your volcanic clay mask off to take full advantage of this effect.

Volcanic Clay Detoxifies The Skin 

Volcanic clay is excellent for detoxifying the skin, drawing out excess oil, dirt, and other toxins. It's believed to achieve these effects by absorbing these components, leaving behind clearer and softer skin. Leave your volcanic clay mask on for 10-15 minutes, followed by a rinse with warm water.

volcanic ash mask

The benefits of Volcanic Ash on the skin extend to the treatment of a wide variety of infections due to its antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-yeast and overall disinfectant qualities. Volcanic Ash is high in Sulphur, an active mineral ingredient that helps the body resist bacteria and destroy it. Sulphur exists in your haemoglobin and connective body tissue:

  • to disinfect the blood;
  • stimulate bile secretion;
  • aid the oxidation reactions in the body
  • protect the protoplasm of cells; and
  • for the synthesis of Collagen (one of the main proteins needed for the structural integrity of your skin).

Sulphur slows down the aging process because of its ability to protect against the toxic effects of pollution and radiation. It is part of the amino acid glutathione, taurine, cysteine, and methionine chemical structure.

Volcanic Ash is truly Mother Nature's natural skin purifier. Not only is it rich in minerals, its exfoliating properties mean that it is ideal for removing the dead outer layers of skin as it cleanses the skin in the process. Volcanic ash particles are finely crushed and may be as small as 1/1,000th of an inch (or 0.025mm). The ash does not dissolve in water and so makes for a fantastic, mild exfoliant. We also use volcanic ash in our foot scrubs and body scrubs because of its purification and cleaning qualities.

Volcanic ash is quite similar to fine sand (silicon), and the mineral particles are tiny (easily (under 2 mm across). The ash is ejected from the mouth of the volcano, along with quite big volcanic rocks. This plume of ash, rock and pumice also contains superheated steam. This violet volcanic activity (known as phreatic eruptions) shatters some of these rocks, and the volcanic magma divides into tiny particles. This plume erupting out of the volcano vent or vents results in these beautiful particles of ash being scattered for long distances giving the appearance of a moonscape.

Volcanic ash mixed into the earth will bond to water under pressure. Pure ash, mixed with spring or mineral water, is used to create mud baths (like in a spa) and facial mud masks.


Volcanic Ash is used to helping address skin rashes, cellulite, blemishes, damaged skin, wrinkles, eczema, psoriasis, acne and even stretch marks. It is also EXCELLENT in exfoliating SOAPS, especially if you have oily skin.

Note: While Volcanic Ash can be very beneficial for your skin, it is essential to realize that where you have an erupting volcano, the plumes of volcanic ash cloud can cause extensive damage even if you live quite a long distance away. Combined with water, this ash turns to mud and often results in mudslides and the consequent loss of life and property.

Suppose you live anywhere near an active volcano. In that case, you may be susceptible to the hazards of volcanic ash - anything from substantial interference with the operations of mechanical devices or motors to collapsing roofs due to the weight of falling ash.

How to use volcanic ash

Thankfully, there's no need to go sifting around volcanoes to try this beauty trend at home. You can reach for a face mask, cleanser, shampoo, or cream that contains volcanic ash or bentonite clay.

This ingredient is sourced from any number of volcanic eruption sites around the world. (Fun fact: Wyoming has 70 per cent of the world's known deposits.) For the best results, follow the instructions on the product you choose.

"Volcanic ash has antioxidant and antibacterial properties," Mudgil reiterates. However, he suggests a way to use them: "These are best used as a mask, to help give the skin some 'pop.'" Because of its drying properties, volcanic ash isn't an ingredient you necessarily want to leave on your face for an extended period unless your skin is exceptionally oily. However, it makes for a fantastic treatment. "I can say that my skin always looks radiant after a sulphur spring mud bath in St. Lucia," quips Hayag.

Volcanic ash face mask

Does your face start to glisten with beads of oil mere minutes after a careful cleansing?

"Patients with oily, acne-prone skin can benefit from incorporating volcanic ash into their skincare routine," says Pierre. "You'll experience decreased inflammation, decreased bacteria, decreased oil, and softer, smoother skin."

Of course, there's a fine line between reducing oil and turning your skin into the Sahara, so limit your use of products containing volcanic ash to no more than three times per week. You can experiment to see what gives you the most significant benefit while minimizing any drying side effects.

Volcanic ash soap

Rough elbows? Scaly shins? Dull complexion? Get your glow back with volcanic ash soap. Its exfoliating properties can help clarify and smooth the skin on your body and face.

But you'll need to balance out its effects by using humectants (moisturizing agents), either within the same product or separately. "You should look for additional humectants such as ceramides and hyaluronic acid to replenish the moisture in your skin," says Pierre.

Volcanic ash shampoo

Few things are more annoying than an itchy, flaky scalp — except maybe an ultra-greasy one. If either of these scenarios sounds familiar, reach for a volcanic ash shampoo during your next shower.

"In shampoo, volcanic ash can be helpful to an extremely oily scalp," says Guanche. "This also can be great for those with dandruff, also known as seborrheic dermatitis."

Risks to using volcanic ash

The most significant risk of using volcanic ash topically is dry skin and irritation. "That's why it should be mixed with or followed by the right hydrating ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid," says Guanche.

Beyond using skincare and beauty products that contain bentonite clay, some people also ingest it, claiming that it can reduce toxins, aid digestion, or relieve specific gastrointestinal issues. But more research is needed to determine how safe and effective this is, so it's wise to stick with topical applications only.

Case in point: In 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that one specific product — Best Bentonite Clay, made in Guthrie, Oklahoma — contained elevated lead levels. Concerned about the risk of lead poisoning associated with this product, the FDA warned consumers not to ingest it.

volcanic ash face mask

Ready to incorporate volcanic ash into your skincare routine? Here are our product recommendations.

The Best Products with Volcanic Ash

OVI Deep Cleansing Face Mask

Our mineral-rich, age-defying Volcanic Ash facial mask gently absorbs oil, helping to reduce large-sized pores and eliminate built-up impurities leaving tired and stressed skin feeling energetic, vibrant and whole again. OVI is a powerful raw detoxifier & cleanser made for stressed and sensitive skin with natural oils and rich nutrients found from volcanic islands worldwide.


Now that you know all there is to know about Volcanic Masks, we recommend incorporating a simple 10-15 mindful meditation into your mask routine while your mask is working its magic!

Volcanic ash will likely have the same significant side effect as pretty much any volcanic or mud-based product: it's drying. As in, if it's not mixed with the right ingredients, it can cause some seriously intense facial irritation. Skin isn't meant to be oil-free—that's why oil cleansers exist, and some people with oily skin find it helps when they add more oil instead of trying to dry it off. Try to ensure the volcanic ash-based product you're using has many hydrating ingredients to balance it out.

Ranging from cleansing properties to its famous acne clearing powers, volcanic clay skincare can take the health of our skin to an entirely new level - giving us a more transparent, softer, brighter, and more supple complexion in return. The best part? It's effortless to incorporate the volcanic clay masks into a mindful skincare routine.

Volcanic ash, aka bentonite clay, is an antibacterial and mineral-rich natural material made from the remnants of explosive volcanic eruptions.

When you apply it to your skin or scalp, its exfoliating and oil-absorbing properties may help reduce acne, inflammation, dandruff, and the symptoms of dermatological conditions like eczema and psoriasis.

Look for this ingredient in face masks, shampoos, and cleansers, but don't overdo it. Start slowly with weekly usage and follow up each application with moisturizer to prevent dryness.