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Is Redness after a Clay Mask normal?

by | Last updated Apr 23, 2020 | Published on Apr 21, 2020 | FAQ | 0 comments

How many times has a clay mask left your face red like a tomato?

It can actually look scary when you wash the mask off and reveal inflamed scarlet skin underneath.

If you’re pale or have extra sensitive skin this effect will be exaggerated. But don’t be alarmed. Facial redness after using a powerful clay mask can be normal under some limits.

At a glance,

Is Redness after a clay mask normal? 

Redness after using a powerful clay mask is normal. It should not get painful and improve within half an hour. This draws blood to the surface of skin and provide oxygen and nutrients.

What causes Redness after a face mask? 

Increased blood supply of skin also flushes out any toxins or irritating substances in the cells. It helps in cell renewal and improves skin texture.

Is redness after a clay mask harmful to my skin?

Extreme redness with painful burning sensation and itching might be harmful. It can be an alarming sign of something like an allergic reaction. Or it can simply mean that you are incorrectly using your face mask.  

Redness is also called “cutaneous vasodilation”.

There are several causes of cutaneous vasodilation. So here’s what to look for when to be concerned, if it’s normal or even beneficial.  

Is Redness after a Clay Mask normal? 1

What causes Facial Redness?

Vasodilation simply means dilation of blood vessels.

Arteries in our body are responsible for providing oxygen and nutrients to vital tissues. While veins take away carbon dioxide and other waste matter from these tissues.

This circulation is essential to maintain organ viability. Any disruption will result in cells death. These blood vessels are also responsible in giving the red tinge to healthy skin.

The blood vessels on your skin can widen from time to time in response to any stimulus. This will draw extra blood along with oxygen and nutrients to the skin. While also removing any irritating substances, waste material and carbon dioxide.

Some common causes of increased facial redness include:


  • Contact Dermatitis:  Your skin might react to certain irritant products coming in contact with the skin.
  • Acne or Rosacea: Causes inflammation of the skin which results in redness.
  • Medications: Some drugs increase skin’s photosensitivity. The skin reacts more readily to UV light, higher tendency of sunburns.
  • Temperature: Both extremes of temperature can increase redness. While heat is a well-known cause of vasodilation. Chilly winds can also irritate the skin and turn your cheeks red.

Is it normal to get Redness after Clay Masks?

There is a reason why we’re always told to a patch test before using any new skincare.

I used to experiment a lot with my skin. Being a fan of natural skincare I have probably tried everything in my kitchen. But just because something is safe to eat it’s not okay to skip a patch test.

I learned that the hard way.

I once applied an egg yolk to my face, possibly after watching some youtuber do it. It was the first time I have seen my skin react so badly to literally anything. My skin is not very sensitive so this caught me by surprise. It was hot and red and I learned my lesson.

Now coming to clays, especially bentonite. This type of clay is even marketed as “making your face pulsate” with the Aztec clay brand. The pulsation is the extra blood being drawn to the face.

Inflammation in our body is basically a useful process under strict limits. It helps fight off any harmful invasions and protects our tissues by gathering white blood cells.

By making your skin “pulsate” the clay induces a small amount of inflammation in our skin. This helps in providing extra nutrients and oxygen to the outer layer of the skin. The extra rush of blood will also flush away any toxins and dead cells improving new cell growth.

This will help improve skin texture and give it a youthful healthy glow. Ideally this redness will last around 30 minutes and then go back to normal.

I have Extreme Redness, is this normal?

When we say inflammation is a protective mechanism this is only under very strict control. After that, this inflammation starts to damage our own healthy cells.

Clay masks do cause tingling and redness but any form of skincare should not be painful.

If your skin is extremely red, hot and tender. And if this condition stays more the 30 minutes then you might have a problem.

The reason your clay mask can be causing more the normal redness may be either of the following:

  • You’re leaving the mask on for too long and letting it dry on your face. Here’s when to remove your mask. It’s the most common mistake people make when using a face mask.
  • The pH of your mask is either too high or too low. Giving you a caustic burn.
  • Make your mask using an acidic medium like ACV or rosewater. This will neutralize the high alkalinity of clay.
  • Any ingredient in your recipe like turmeric in many cases, might be reacting with your skin.
  • You’re allergic to the particular type of clay.

Clay is alkaline in nature which contradicts with the skin’s pH which is around 4.7-5.7.

If we mix clay with water the high alkalinity might be too much for your skin to handle.  I keep PH strips on hand to test the PH of my skincare products and mask recipes.

This is also why we prefer mixing bentonite clay with apple cider vinegar which has acidic pH of 2-3. This will neutralize the alkalinity of clay and will be gentler on the skin.

What to do if your face is red after a clay mask: 

Some amount of redness is expected and is not a reason for concern. Especially with bentonite clay because of it’s strong expansion capabilities. It usually goes down in half an hour.

You can continue with your regular after mask routine

If your skin feels irritated and you don’t see any improvements after 30 minutes then something needs to be done.

To calm your skin and bring down the redness try the following: 

  • Splash your face with cool water, not freezing water. Very cold temperature might exacerbate the redness. Or use a cool compress to help the blood vessels go back to normal.
  • Use a Tea toner. Polyphenols in tea are naturally anti-inflammatory. It will help calm and soothe the skin down.
  • Avoid direct sun light. Your skin maybe extra photosensitive after the clay mask and direct exposure may cause a sun burn.

So if you skipped to the end to find the answer, in conclusion. 

It is normal for clay mask to cause some redness in the skin. The extra blood drawing to surface makes our cells healthier and more nourished.

But extreme inflammation can hurt our skin cells. This is why it is important to use the correct method of mixing, applying and taking off our mask.

Some products might also cause allergic reaction since everybody’s skin is different. Always do a patch test to be safe.

Disclaimer: Our content does not constitute a dermatologist or medical advice.


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