No Joke: Volcanic Ash Is a Magical Skin-Clearing Ingredient

Updated 04/21/19
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Volcanic ash for skin

The latest need-to-know skincare ingredient hails from the fires of a volcano. Volcanic ash—yes, like actually from a real volcano—is popping up in our creams, masks, and cleansers for good reason. It boasts a bevy of skin benefits. Think of volcanic ash as the gentler but just as effective cousin to clay and mud.

"Volcanic ash is extremely rich in minerals and has antiseptic, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties," says Sonya Dakar, celebrity esthetician and founder and CEO of Sonya Dakar Skincare and Skin Clinic. "So it works really well to not only clear blemishes but heal the inflamed, irritated skin."

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

Irish Moor Mud Purifying Black Mask 5 oz
Peter Thomas Roth Irish Moor Mud Purifying Black Mask $58

If your skin needs a serious detox, look to this mask. It's got all the heavy-hitting skin purifiers: volcanic ash, Irish moor mud, and activated charcoal. For balance, it also contains nourishing hijiki seaweed. 

Cherry Lava Purify Mask
Pacifica Cherry Lava Purify Mask $14

This volcanic ash and charcoal mask is super easy to rinse off. After 10 minutes, you can massage it into a cleansing foam that leaves skin feeling soft and refreshed. 

Innisfree Pore Clearing Clay Mousse Mask $18

Clay masks have a tendency to be both messy and drying. This one bypasses both of these negatives. The foamy texture—that comes out of a pump—is easy to apply, and because it's formulated with volcanic ash it's gentle while it sucks the gunk out of your pores.

Egg White Pore Hot Steam Pack
Skinfood Egg White Pore Hot Steam Pack $10

Designed to knock out blackheads and excess oil, this volcanic ash–infused steam pack warms upon application and leaves skin looking clearer and feeling smoother. 

The Face Shop Jeju Volcanic Lava Volcanic Ash Nose Strips $2

Your regular nose strips get an upgrade with volcanic ash, which helps draw out impurities. 

VOLCASMIC™ Matte Glow Moisturizer 1.7 oz/ 50 mL
GlamGlow Volcasmic Matte Glow Moisturizer $49

Because it's water-based, this moisturizer is super lightweight. The volcanic ash helps keep skin shine-free all day long without drying it out.

MAC Mineralize Volcanic Ash Exfoliator
MAC Cosmetics Mineralize Volcanic Ash Exfoliator $32

Sugar crystals and volcanic ash are a powerful exfoliating duo in this foamy cleanser. It whisks away dead skin cells and pulls impurities out of pores.

Alba Botanica Hawaiian Detox Cleanser Volcanic Clay $9

We love what this cleanser contains—purifying volcanic ash and yerba mate—as much as we love what it doesn't—things like artificial colors, synthetic fragrances, parabens, and phthalates. 

Saturn Sulfur Acne Treatment Mask 2 oz/ 60 mL
Sunday Riley Saturn Sulfur Acne Treatment Mask $55

First off, yes, this mask contains sulfur, so it does stink a tiny bit. But when combined with bentonite clay—aka volcanic ash—sulfur is an even more effective acne fighter. It also has tea tree to clarify the skin and kill acne bacteria.

Volcano Mask, 1.7 oz
Sonya Dakar Volcano Mask $85

This mask is made with volcanic ash from the Mediterranean and infused with probiotics for maximum skin glow. You'll notice clearer, brighter skin after the first use. 

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