Volcanic Ash For Skin: Benefits, How To Use, And Side Effects

Written by Arshiya Syeda

Of all the ingredients you have come across in skin care products, volcanic ash may surely catch your attention. It has been creating a buzz lately – with various products using volcanic ash in their formulations. Volcanic ash is also getting popular as an ingredient in spa treatments.

Here, we further explore volcanic ash, its benefits, and how you can use it to enjoy its benefits.

What Is Volcanic Ash?

The ash produced along with molten lava and gases when a volcano erupts is volcanic ash. It is made of tiny particles of rocks, minerals, and glass. It is known to contain calcium sulfate, kaolin, potassium, etc. When used in certain quantities, volcanic ask may benefit your skin and your overall health.

The most popular byproduct of volcanic ash is bentonite clay. This ingredient is common in volcanic ash face masks and other topical products. Bentonite is not a mineral, but rather a generic word used for rocks taken from volcanic ash beds. It has been used as an ingredient for medicinal preparations for a long time.

Before exploring the many benefits of using volcanic ash for skin, it is important to see what experts have to say.

Dermatologist’s Opinion On Volcanic Ash

Some dermatologists approve of volcanic ash due to its antioxidant properties and its ability to promote collagen synthesis. Its mineral-rich content may also help heal wounds.

Certain skin care experts also believe that volcanic ash serves as an antibacterial exfoliant to clarify skin. It could be ideal for those who need a drying effect on their skin.

While dermatologists seem to praise volcanic ash for its ability to cleanse skin, they also caution about the ash’s potential to strip away the skin’s natural oils. Hence, it is important to maintain balance and choose the right type of formulation. In the following section, we discuss the important benefits of volcanic ash for skin.

Benefits Of Volcanic Ash For Skin

Research on the benefits of volcanic ash (or bentonite clay) is limited. Also, note that volcanic ash is used in skin care products only in small percentages. It is mixed with other moisturizing and nourishing ingredients. Using raw volcanic ash can be harmful.

The volcanic ash in skin care products may have the following benefits.

1. May Help Exfoliate Skin

Volcanic ash may absorb and attract substances. It is made of fine porous particles that enable it to remove dirt, impurities, and excess oils from the skin. The ingredient also may help prevent any dirt remnants that may cause inflammation and trigger acne.

2. May Offer Antimicrobial Benefits

Volcanic ash is said to possess antibacterial properties thanks to its sulfur content. It may help fight infections that may occur due to blocked pores.

3. May Fight Inflammation

It is thought volcanic ash may also fight skin inflammation. Inflamed skin is more likely to age sooner as collagen, the protein needed to keep skin healthy, diminishes.

The above benefits are claims made by various sources. They are not clinically proven yet. However, bentonite clay has certain proven benefits.

1. May Help Treat Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is usually caused by poison oak and poison ivy. When used as a lotion, bentonite clay may help treat this type of dermatitis.

Bentonite was also observed to help those with chronic hand dermatitis when used in a moisturizing cream. Infants with diaper dermatitis were found to have a quicker and better response to bentonite.

2. May Protect The Skin Barrier

Bentonite clay may help protect the skin barrier from toxic compounds. It may keep such contaminants from getting transferred to the deeper skin layers. Also, sun lotions with certain portions of bentonite clay are more powerful in absorbing the highest levels of UV light than their commercially available counterparts.

3. May Help Heal Skin

Studies have found that montmorillonite (a major constituent of bentonite clay) may help heal skin lesions and ulcers. This may be attributed to its antimicrobial properties.
While more research is warranted, including volcanic ash in your skin care regimen seems to offer certain advantages. Here’s how you can make use of it.

How To Use Volcanic Ash For Skin

Products containing volcanic ash come in interesting formulations, allowing you to incorporate the ingredient into your beauty regimen in many ways.

1. Facewashes

If a regular cleanse is what you are looking for, choose a facewash that contains volcanic ash. Be sure that it has other hydrating ingredients like glycerin or hyaluronic acid to ensure your skin does not dry out over time. This is probably best for those with extremely oily skin.

2. Exfoliators

You should use exfoliators with volcanic ash 2 to 3 times a week. Choosing an exfoliating formulation will thoroughly cleanse your face by removing dead skin cells. It leaves you with fresh, smoother skin.

3. Face Masks

Go for a volcanic ash clay mask that is hydrating as well. Leave it on for a while and use it no more than twice a week, as you may risk drying your skin out.
If you are more inclined towards a DIY formula, try the homemade volcanic ash face mask.

You Will Need

  • Bentonite clay powder
  •  Water

How To Make

1. Mix bentonite clay powder with some water to get a thick paste-like consistency.
2. Apply it evenly over your face.
3. Leave it on for about 20 minutes and rinse.

But before you use this skin care ingredient, it is important to be aware of its potential side effects.

Side Effects Of Volcanic Ash

Unprocessed volcanic ash can be extremely dangerous as it may lead to respiratory and skin complications. Moreover, some products can be contaminated by unwanted metals and deposits and may harm your skin.
Do not and use volcanic ash deposits directly from the ground. Rather, you should always purchase the ingredient from a reputed skin care company. You are unlikely to experience any serious side effects when used in the recommended quantities.

Volcanic ash is often compared with activated charcoal. But which of the two is preferable?

Volcanic Ash Vs. Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal is produced by superheating natural carbon sources. The ash left behind has toxin-absorbing properties that allow it to be used for detoxification. Activated charcoal does not get absorbed by the body. Similar to volcanic ash, it too has antibacterial and deep-cleansing properties.

However, volcanic ash has additional mineral properties that activated charcoal doesn’t. Hence, volcanic ash could be a better choice.

Can Volcanic Ash Clear Your Skin?

Volcanic ash clay may help treat certain skin conditions due to its antimicrobial, soothing, and exfoliation properties.

But it takes a combination of ingredients to help clear your skin. Hence, you must first understand the cause of your skin condition and treat it appropriately. Volcanic ash could be an addition to this treatment.

How Often Can You Use Volcanic Ash?

Follow the instructions on the product when using it topically. A DIY formula must not be used more than twice a week. Refrain from using multiple skin care products with volcanic ash as you may end up stripping your skin’s natural oils.

Consult your doctor prior if you are to ingest any product containing volcanic ash.

To Conclude

Volcanic ash could be a great option for those in search of natural exfoliators and masks that treat skin conditions and soak up excess oils. Though research is limited, its benefits are worth exploring without breaking the bank. Just be sure to use it in moderation. Choose the right product from a reputed brand and use it as advised – we are sure you will be glad with the results.


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Check out our editorial policy for further details.

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Arshiya Syeda is an editor and certified counselor. Ever the lover of the written word, she served on the editorial boards of her school and college newsletters. Writing articles on hairstyles, hair care, and nutrition helped her combine her love for reading, writing, and research. As an editor, she helps her team members deliver polished and meticulously researched content. Arshiya is fluent in English, Urdu, and Hindi and aims to become a multilinguist by learning German and teaching herself American Sign Language (ASL).