A natural sediment, zeolite clay is great for cleansing the skin and has the unusual ability to release warmth when in contact with water.
Where do we get it?
Lush UK purchases this ingredient from Turkey. The country counts many ancient volcanic sites, which often means that zeolite deposits are present in the ground.
With seven manufacturing sites across the globe, this information may vary depending on where your Lush products were made.
What are the benefits of zeolite clay for the skin?
Zeolite is an umbrella name for several types of aluminosilicate minerals. They occur where, millions of years ago, lava and volcanic ashes met water. The one used in Lush products is the clinoptilolite type, favoured in cosmetics for its two main effects. These are a bit dry to explain, but let’s give it a try!
Firstly, it’s a toxin trap. Every day, all the time, we are surrounded by particles, in the air, in and on our bodies. Some of them can be harmful to health in case of prolonged exposure - they’re commonly called toxins. Toxins can be heavy metals (like mercury, nickel or arsenic), pollutants (like fuel combustion or cigarette smoke) or chemicals (like pesticides). These particles are generally positively charged, and this is where zeolite plays an important role: the clay is negatively charged. As positive and negative attract, the clay attracts toxins, which are sitting on our skin and clogging our pores, and traps them so they can be washed away. Hence the recurring use of zeolite clay in so-called ‘detox’ products.
Secondly, it's self-heating. As said previously, zeolite catches and holds certain particles from its surroundings. This process is called ‘ion exchange’, but it is also related to adsorption. Adsorption is the ability of a material to grab and hold a molecule on its surface, causing a slight swelling. Zeolite captures not only toxins but also water (e.g. from the air or from the skin). When it does, it releases heat. This heating effect is called an 'exothermic' reaction and, although very mild, it may help relax muscles when applied to the skin.