How to Use Mud and Clay Masks for Spot Treatment of Acne and Dry Skin

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Face masks can be relaxing and the perfect way to take the edge off of a long day of work. However, they can also be time-consuming, and if you’re short on time, putting on a full mask can sometimes be more trouble than you have the time for. 

The challenge with a full face mask is simple – if it’s a sheet mask, you need to take a break until it’s done working on you. If it’s a spreadable mask, you need to wait until it’s dried and can be washed off before you can return to work. These challenges are further compounded if you use glasses, as it’s extremely difficult to use spectacles when you’re wearing a mask. 

So what happens if you find yourself faced with acne and dry skin – but don’t have the time to put on a full face mask to help treat it?

If you don’t have the time (or simply don’t enjoy) for a full mask, don’t worry – there’s a simple solution.

Spot treatments.


What is Spot Treatment?

A spot treatment is precisely what it sounds like. You need to identify the area of your skin with the issue (usually a pimple or a dry patch of skin) and apply the relevant spot treatment product directly to that spot. 

You do not, however, need to apply the product to the rest of your face. Depending on the product in question, it may be completely safe for you to do so. However, by only applying it to the affected area, you’re delivering beneficial ingredients right to the source of the issue while also ensuring that you’re not distracted by having to apply a face full of product.


What Skin Issues Do Spot Treatments Work On?

Spot treatments are most commonly used to treat acne and pimples, though – depending on the product being used – they can also be used to treat other concerns, such as dry skin. 

However, it’s essential to keep in mind that these treatments only work to treat minor, surface-level issues. If you’re looking for help with more complex skin concerns such as cystic acne and acne nodules, you’ll need to contact a dermatologist for help. 

Additionally, these treatments are most effective if used sparingly and for occasional breakouts. While spot treatments can be effective if used properly, if you overuse them, you soon find that they’re not as effective as they once were. This means that if you deal with frequent acne breakouts, you’ll have to contact a doctor for help.


Spot Treatment Choices

Generally, spot treatments involve the application of topical chemicals. The most common spot treatments include:


Benzoyl Peroxide

One of the most effective acne treatments around, this ingredient is found in numerous acne medications, including common names such as Proactiv and Clearasil. It reduces inflammation and makes your pores inhospitable for acne-causing bacteria. However, it can dry out your skin and should never be applied in conjunction with tretinoin.



This ingredient helps reduce inflammation and dries out any pimples you may have developed. However, it’s similar to benzoyl peroxide in that it can also be extremely drying to your skin.


Salicylic Acid

Perhaps the most popular OTC acne spot treatment product, salicylic acid is a beta hydroxyl acid that helps remove all the dirt and pollution from your pores. It also helps dry out pustules (whiteheads), making them easy to get rid of.



Adapalene is the main ingredient in the retinoid gel Differin. This gel is the only OTC topical retinoid available in many places.

Adapalene works by, essentially, turning your cell turnover into high gear. It basically acts as a “super exfoliator” and ensures you don’t have to worry about dead skin cells and oil clogging up your pores and causing acne, bumps, and blackheads. 


Mud and Clay Masks for Acne and Dry Skin

The options mentioned above are all strong chemicals. While they’re undoubtedly effective, most people usually think twice before applying such strong products to their skin – especially their face.

If you’re looking for a gentler, more natural alternative, consider using a mud or a clay mask. 

Mud masks:

  • Help remove impurities from your skin.
  • Unclog your pores
  • Absorb excess oil from your skin
  • Reduce inflammation, and improve the performance of your skin barrier (that is, help it be more effective at keeping out impurities from your skin)
  • Inhibit the growth of certain types of acne-causing bacteria


All of these properties also help inhibit the growth of acne and aid with the treatment of existing acne and pimples that you may already be dealing with. 

Clay masks can:

  • Absorb excess oil from your skin
  • Prevent and treat milder forms of acne, including pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads
  • Unclog your pores
  • Bentonite clay has been shown to be effective in reducing the symptoms of skin conditions like rash and dermatitis and treat issues such as cuts and ulcers

Like mud masks, clay masks are also an effective option for treating and preventing acne. 

So, mud and clay masks are effective at treating acne – but what about dry skin?

There are numerous people who note that mud and clay masks can be drying, which means they may not be a great option for people with dry skin.

However, it’s essential to remember that this property only applies to the mud/clay in its purest form. So, if you use pure bentonite clay on your face as a mask, there’s a good chance that it will, in fact, dry out your skin.

That said, mud and clay masks are rarely mud with only mud/clay and water. Most masks – especially those available commercially – are made with a combination of ingredients to ensure that they are as effective as possible. 

If you’re worried about mud and clay masks drying out your skin or are looking for a mask that can double as a spot treatment for your dry skin, all you need to do is check the product and make sure it has hydrating properties as well as acne-treating ones.


How to Use Mud and Clay Masks for Spot Treatment

With conventional spot treatments, the general advice is to apply the product to your skin and leave them to dry and seep into your skin naturally. 

But what about when you’re using a clay or mud mask as a spot treatment method?

Most people use face masks before the regular skincare routine. However, with spot treatments, the method is a little different. 

Go through your regular nightly skincare routine first, including cleansing, toning, and moisturizing your skin. Once that’s done, you can move on to the spot treatment portion. 

Apply a dab of the mask to the area of your face you’re trying to treat. Don’t rub it in or spread it around the rest of your face – allow it to dry completely. Once it’s dried, you can hit the hay and let the mask work its magic all night long. 

In the morning, you can rinse out the dried mask like you normally would.


Malibu Mud’s Dark Sea Face + Body Mask

If you’re looking for a mud and clay mask that you can use for spot treatment for acne and dry skin, Malibu Mud’s Dark Sea Face + Body Mask is what you’ve been looking for. 

This product has been formulated to ensure your skin stays hydrated, making it great for people looking for help with dry skin. This property also means that, unlike other mud and clay masks, you can use it daily if you want to. 

Additionally, it contains both kaolin and bentonite clay, which help absorb acne-producing sebum, and Dead Sea mud, which inhibits the growth of acne-causing bacteria, making it ideal for people dealing with pimples and acne. 

Aside from the three ingredients, Malibu Mud only contains 7 other ingredients, all of which are transparently listed on the packing. It’s completely vegan, non-GMO, cruelty-free, and paraben- and phthalate-free, so you know you’re getting a quality product. Additionally, all products are natural or certified organic, so you don’t have to worry about putting harmful chemicals on your skin. 

This mask is pre-mixed and dries within minutes, so you don’t have to spend too much extra time on your nightly skincare routine – just apply a dab, wait for five minutes, and you can go to sleep!

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