Are Clay Masks good for Dark Spots and Hyperpigmentation? (2023)

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by Nadine Shemilt, Miss Facial Clay Masks | Last updated Apr 21, 2020 | Published on Apr 16, 2020 | FAQ | 0 comments

Skin, our largest organ, is also that part of our body which takes the most damage every day. Constant exposure to intense sunlight and pollution does not help at all.

Our skin is constantly working to protect itself from harmful damage but also working to repair damage that has been done.

For example, our body has to work to repair damage done by popping a huge acne volcano and leaving a scar in it’s wake.

These are often referred to as “dark spots” or “acne scars”.

So today, let’s dig a little deeper into what they are and if clay can help fade acne scars.

At a glance,

What are dark spots?

Dark spots are areas on your skin with higher pigment concentration. This pigment is called melanin and it is responsible for imparting color to our skin.

Why do you have these dark spots?

By far the most important cause of dark spots or hyperpigmentation is damage from excessive sun exposure. Other causes include inflammation like acne or rosacea, ageing or hormonal imbalance such as pregnancy or use of contraceptives.

Does clay help with dark spots?

Clay can reduce inflammation of the skin, prevent acne and break outs and over time. The wound healing ability of clay will stop the source of acne caused dark spots, also called hyperpigmentation. Some types of clay also helps in exfoliation which is another important treatment for dark spots.

(Video) Are Clay Mask Good for Dark Spots and Hyperpigmentation? Get Rid of Dark Spots And Hyperpigmentation

What are Dark Spots?

The color of our skin is determined by the amount of melanin in our skin. Melanin is a pigment produced by special types of skin cells. These cells are conveniently called melanocytes.

The function of this pigment is to provide protection against harmful UV light damage. We also see increased melanin production on areas of our skin which are most exposed to the sun. Like our forearms and face.

A dark spot is a localized area of high melanin concentration. This is also termed as “hyperpigmentation”. Which as you can guess is mostly a result of sun damage.

Dark spots often take 6 to 12 months to fade. If the color lies deep within your skin, it can take years.

But there are also other reasons of hyperpigmentation, which we will discuss.

What is the cause of Dark Spots?

There are many causes and diseases associated with hyperpigmentation. It is one of the most prominent issues people take to a dermatologist.

Some of these causes include:

  • Ultra-Violet Light
  • Ageing
  • Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (aka acne scars)
  • Melasma

Let us go through the most common causes of dark spots.

(Video) Tips for Dark Spots, Hyperpigmentation, and Melasma

Ultra-Violet (UV) Light

UV Light from the sun is called a “complete carcinogen”. It penetrates the cells and cause structural damage and DNA mutation. This can lead to problems like wrinkles all the way to skin cancer.

Melanin act as a filter and stops UV light from reaching the deeper layers of our skin. This is the reason excessive sun exposure forms areas of intense melanin accumulation.

This is by far the most common cause of hyperpigmentation.

Fun Fact: clays have been studied for it’s efficacy for use in sunscreens to protect your skin from UV damage. Even more potent against sun damage than commercially available sunscreens.


Also called maturational dyschromia mostly effects dark skinned people. This usually occurs on the sides of forehead and cheekbones.

Although hyperpigmentation due to ageing can present in areas not exposed to sun light. The cause can still be traced back to chronic photo-damage of the skin.

Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation AKA acne scars

Any injury or inflammation of the skin such as acne or rosacea can also lead to aggravated discoloration of the affected area.

This is called post inflammatory hyperpigmentationor AKA acne scars.

This condition is again more prominent in people of color. Mainly, because of higher number of active melanocytes.


Melasma is a skin condition affecting mostly women. It presents as dark colored patches mainly on the central areas of face. But can also involve on other parts of the body.

Malasma occurs not only due sun exposure but hormones play an important role. It is sometimes called the “mask of pregnancy”.

Use of contraceptives is also one of the causes.

4 Common Derma Treatments for Dark Spots

Hyperpigmentation is extremely common in both men and women and people of any age. Their existence wont cause harm, but some people prefer to remove them for cosmetic purposes.

There are a variety of therapies developed for treating dark spots. At home products and creams can work. Procedures are more expensive and tend to sometimes work faster. Some of the most popular procedures include:

1. Microdermabrasion

Micodermabrasion is a form of physical exfoliation. Either a device in professional settings or a scrub at home is used. The rough surface is used to exfoliate the surface layer of skin.

This brings new healthy skin cells to the surface. Reducing the appearance of dark spots.

2. Chemical Peel

It is also a form of exfoliation. Chemicals such as acids are used instead of physical scrubs. The acid penetrates into the skin and dislodges the damaged surface layer. In this way new cells can take their place.

3. Laser

Pulse light laser is used to treat dark spots. The laser is targeted onto the affected area of the skin. The light breaks down melanin inside the cells and lightens the skin.

4. Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy uses chemicals like liquid nitrogen. It is applied on the damaged skin (most often lesions orkeratosis) to freeze it. This forms a blister and encourages the skin underneath to renew itself. The damaged surface skin then peels off.

(Video) Gleamin Review: The Best Face Mask for Hyperpigmentation?! Does it REALLY work? (with pictures)

At Home Treatments for Hyperpigmentation

There are many options to help your skin heal with products and treatments you can easily use at home.

The first step to taking in stopping hyperpigmentation.

Drumroll please….

Always wear your sunscreen and stop picking your pimples.

Doing these 2 very simple steps will help with your dark spots, because you won’t get them to begin with.

If only it were that simple. I know how tempting and how hard it is to not pick that pimple.

And some people are quick to reach for the whitening creams, but beware, some of these can contain mercury.

The most popular creams for fading dark spots include:

  • Vitamin C Serum (and it’s also amazing for balancing your complexion)
  • Aloe vera
  • Rosehip seed oil
  • Retinoid (your skin will be super sensitive to the sun with use of this ingredient)
  • Manuka honey
  • Clay Face Masks

Obviously I am a big fan of clay face masks. Except serums and retinoids, all the ingredients listed above can also be added your any of your dry clay face masks.

Does Clay help Dark Spots?

Clay is a natural compound which is full of minerals.

The most important quality of clay is absorption. This is why it is widely used by people with oily skin. Mixing different types of clay with moisturizing agents can bring the benefits of clay to those with all skin types.

Clay masks are most effective with dark spots caused by acne because it focuses on fixing the cause.

Clay helps skin with dark spots and hyperpigmentation mainly in two ways.

Reason #1:

Clay is anti-inflammatory in nature. It calms and soothes the skin. Some clay has anti-bacterial properties as well (our bentonite clay does). Both these qualities help reduce break outs, acne and rosacea which are an important cause of hyperpigmentation.


There are limited studies in regards to clay for hyperpigmentation. But a simple youtube search will find many people who have lightened their acne scars with bentonite clay. This Bentonite clay study with rats found that those receiving a bentonite cream daily improved the rate of wound healing quicker than the control group.

Less breakouts and inflammation over time lightens the appearance of dark spots on the skin.

Reason #2

Regular exfoliation replaces the sun damaged cells. It renews the surface of skin for an even complexion.

Kaolin clay is very popularly used in skincare. The special property of kaolin is that, when mixed into a paste, it does not dissolve entirely. Tiny solid particles are left floating in the mixture. They help to gently exfoliate the surface layer of skin.

All types of clay masks are effective for adsorbing impurities from your skin including dead skin cells and clogged pores.

Here are my favorite complexion balancing face masks:

  • Try exfoliating and masking with our cup of java exfoliation mask
  • Papain is known for it’s natural brightening effects with a papaya clay mask.
  • Turmeric Bentonite Face Mask

Dark spots, uneven skin tone and conditions like Melasma are extremely common and affects our quality of life. I know it has caused me a ton of embarrassement from having dark spots from years of acne.

Among all the professional and expensive treatments for this condition, clay provides a safe, affordable and natural alternative.

The question for if clay is good for dark spots is part of our clay mask FAQ series. We also answer:

  • Are clay masks good for mature skin?
  • Can a clay mask tighten pores?
  • Should I use a clay mask before or after a shower?

Disclaimer: Our content does not constitute a dermatologistor medical advice.

Are Clay Masks good for Dark Spots and Hyperpigmentation? (2)

Hey! Welcome!
My name is Nadine, I’m a yoga teacher, who believes in a wholesome life, that includes skin care, 100% natural products. Suffered from acne ALL my life, until discovering clay masks.

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or find a recipe

Are Clay Masks good for Dark Spots and Hyperpigmentation? (3)



Do clay masks get rid of hyperpigmentation? ›

Clay masks' cleansing properties can reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation or darker skin tones in certain areas.

Which clay is best for hyperpigmentation? ›

However, when it comes to all forms of hyperpigmentation, yellow clay is likely your best bet. It's more absorbent than white clay, and it should help the appearance of fade dark spots like a pro.

What is best for hyperpigmentation and dark spots? ›

Retinoids: These include tretinoin, adapalene, and tazarotene, and people can use them with hydroquinone to treat hyperpigmentation. An older study found that a daily retinoid treatment lightened dark skin patches in most participants.

Do clay masks get rid of spots? ›

To treat blackheads, acne, or other acne spots, it's recommended that you apply a mixture of clay powder and warm water. The heat helps increase perspiration and the amount of oil and dirt your skin releases. For more severe cystic acne, it's a good idea to talk to a doctor about the best treatment option.

Can face masks help with hyperpigmentation? ›

Add a face mask for hyperpigmentation to your routine, and watch as your skin lightens and brightens. It's especially effective if you combine it with other products like serums and moisturizers.

How often should I use a clay mask? ›

While clay masks are ideal zit-busting skin rescuers, too much of it could also lead to skin dryness. As such, clay masks should only be used once a week for those with dry or sensitive skin. For oilier skin types, you may choose to use a clay mask twice a week if your skin agrees with it.

Are clay masks actually good for your skin? ›

Clay helps absorb oils and control shine.

Clay is popular for these skin types for good reason. “It helps draw out the impurities as well as absorb excess oils that are on the surface of the skin,” explains Konish. “Additionally, it helps reduce excess shine.” You can kiss your clogged pores goodbye.

Does Aloe Vera Work For hyperpigmentation? ›

Aloe vera has been found to have many health benefits for the skin, from helping to heal wounds to moisturizing. There's a small amount of scientific evidence suggesting that applying aloe vera to your skin may help reduce the appearance of hyperpigmented areas, though it won't completely get rid of these darker spots.

What removes hyperpigmentation? ›

  • Retinols. Retinols chemically exfoliate your skin and help block the receptors that regulate how much pigment comes out of the skin. ...
  • Chemical peel. Chemical peels can help over time if the hyperpigmentation is related to sun exposure. ...
  • Prescription medications. ...
  • Laser therapies.
19 Jul 2021

How do you fade hyperpigmentation fast? ›

Read on to learn more about how you can fade this form of hyperpigmentation with OTC products, prescription creams, and more.
  1. Vitamin C. ...
  2. Azelaic acid. ...
  3. Mandelic acid. ...
  4. Kojic acid. ...
  5. Niacinamide. ...
  6. Hydroquinone. ...
  7. Retinoids. ...
  8. Chemical peel.

Which product is best for hyperpigmentation? ›

  • Best Overall: Kiehl's Dark Spot Solution at Sephora. ...
  • Runner-Up, Best Overall: SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense at Amazon. ...
  • Best Budget: The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution at Sephora. ...
  • Best Without Hydroquinone: ...
  • Best for Sensitive Skin: ...
  • Best Splurge: ...
  • Best with Retinol: ...
  • Best for Dark Skin:
20 Jun 2022

What should you use after a clay mask? ›

Rinse the clay off with warm water. Use a wet washcloth to finish up, if needed. Follow with a rinse of cool water. If you like, finish with a toner and/or moisturizer.

Should you clay mask morning or night? ›

If it is meant to hydrate your skin and give it a glow, wear it in the morning. But, if it has clarifying and exfoliating ingredients, then wait until night falls to put on the mask.

How can I lighten dark spots on my face? ›

How to remove dark spots
  1. Laser treatment. Different types of lasers are available. ...
  2. Microdermabrasion. During microdermabrasion, a dermatologist uses a special device that has an abrasive surface to remove the outer layer of the skin. ...
  3. Chemical peels. ...
  4. Cryotherapy. ...
  5. Prescription skin-lightening cream.
9 Sept 2020

What increases pigmentation? ›

Hyperpigmentation is caused by an increase in melanin. Melanin is the natural pigment that gives our skin, hair and eyes their color. A number of factors can trigger an increase in melanin production, but the main ones are sun exposure, hormonal influences, age and skin injuries or inflammation.

How can I lighten my pigmentation naturally? ›

Home remedies for hyperpigmentation
  1. Aloe vera. Aloesin, a compound present in aloe vera, may lighten hyperpigmentation. Aloesin works by inhibiting the production of melanin in the skin. ...
  2. Licorice. Licorice extracts may lighten hyperpigmentation. ...
  3. Green tea. Green tea extracts may improve hyperpigmentation.

Should you moisturize after a clay mask? ›

After removing your face mask, you should moisturize your skin while it's still damp. Choose a moisturizer designed for your skin type, and apply a thin layer after removing your face mask. This can help keep your skin hydrated, maximizing the full effects of your mask.

Should I let clay mask dry completely? ›

When you leave a clay mask on too long by letting it dry, harden and contract- the clay ends up absorbing essential water from your skin barrier, which crucially effects hydration levels. We hate to break it to you but, chronically dehydrated skin can actually lead to premature aging.

Why do I get pimples after using clay mask? ›

If you are using a face mask that contains either clay or charcoal, the properties in these ingredients are known for being detoxifying. This means they draw out the toxins and bacteria out of your skin, while working deep down in the skin also means that blemishes may appear.

What brightens dark spots? ›

Now that you know where dark spots come from, keep reading to discover how to get rid of dark spots.
  • Vitamin C. ...
  • Hydroquinone. ...
  • Kojic acid. ...
  • Soy. ...
  • Azelaic acid. ...
  • Lasers. ...
  • Chemical peels. ...
  • Microdermabrasion.
27 Jul 2022

What lightens dark spots? ›

Hydroquinone creams and serums

Perhaps the most popular solution for skin lightening on a spot-by-spot basis is topical solutions containing hydroquinone. A 2013 study found potential benefits for facial melasma, which causes patches of discoloration.

What happens if you leave a clay mask on too long? ›

Especially with clay masks, which are meant to draw out impurities from your skin, if you keep them on too long the clay can start to draw out the goodness from your skin as well as the bad, she explains. "It's going to disrupt the pH balance of your skin, wreaking havoc on your skin," Dr. Shereene says.

Which clay mask is best? ›

Best for Overall: Innisfree Pore Clearing Clay Mask 2X

“This mask is ideal for all skin types,” notes Dr. Graf. It utilizes volcanic clusters and alpha-hydroxy acids to minimize the look of pores, absorb sebum, gently exfoliate, deeply cleanse, even out the skin tone, and cleanse away debris.”

How long should I leave a clay mask on? ›

Clay face masks should ideally be left on for no more than 15 minutes; however, you should read the instructions as each can vary. You are at risk of your skin drying out if you leave your clay mask on for too long.

How long does aloe vera take to fade dark spots? ›

Aloe vera can help to fade dark spots

“A compound called aloesin, found in the aloe vera plant, could help to fade dark spots,” Dr. Frieling says. “According to one study, when applied four times per day for 15 days, aloesin was found to be effective in treating UV-induced and post-acne hyperpigmentation.”

How can I get rid of dark spots in 2 days? ›

Step 1: Soak 50 grams of red lentils overnight in a bowl of water. Step 2: Use a blender or food processor to create a fine paste. Step 3: Apply the paste evenly over your face and leave it on for 20 minutes. Step 4: Rinse with cold water and pat your skin dry with a towel.

Is sleeping with aloe vera on face good? ›

A. Yes, aloe vera gel is completely safe to be kept on your face overnight. You can replace your regular moisturizer with aloe vera gel and wake up to soft, nourished and glowing skin.

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How can I lighten my pigmentation naturally? ›

Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, which research shows may lighten pigmentation.
To use this remedy:
  1. Combine equal parts apple cider vinegar and water in a container.
  2. Apply to your dark patches and leave on two to three minutes.
  3. Rinse using lukewarm water.
  4. Repeat twice daily you achieve the results you desire.

How do you make a face mask for hyperpigmentation? ›

To make this mask, mix one tablespoon of yogurt with 3-4 drops of almond oil and a pinch of turmeric. Mix it well, apply on dark spots. Let it stay for 20 minutes and wash it off with lukewarm water. Apply daily till you achieve desired results.

Does aztec clay lighten skin? ›

Regular use of the Aztec clay mask is also said to lighten skin discolouration caused by acne marks, scars, and blemishes. In order words, it helps your skin glow.

What increases pigmentation? ›

Hyperpigmentation is caused by an increase in melanin. Melanin is the natural pigment that gives our skin, hair and eyes their color. A number of factors can trigger an increase in melanin production, but the main ones are sun exposure, hormonal influences, age and skin injuries or inflammation.

What fades hyperpigmentation? ›

Dermatologists consider products with hydroquinone, alone or combined with other lighteners, to be the gold standard for fading dark spots because it slows the production of pigment.

Does hyperpigmentation get darker before it fades? ›

Yes. Active treatment accelerates cell turnover, pulling pigmented cells to the surface at a faster rate. This increases the concentration of melanin in the epidermis, which can create a temporary darkening of the spots. The darkening means the pigment is coming up and is ready to be shed away.

How do you get rid of hyperpigmentation fast? ›

In this case, turning to dermatological procedures will work as the fastest way to get rid of hyperpigmentation. Chemical peels, laser therapy, microdermabrasion, or dermabrasion are all options that work similarly to rid skin of hyperpigmentation.

Which face pack is best for removing dark spots? ›

In a bowl, add a tablespoon or two of yoghurt along with a tablespoon of rice flour. Next, add a pinch of turmeric and a bit of honey. Mix together and apply all across your neck and face. If you have dry skin type, make sure to add a few drops of coconut or almond oil.

Does Aztec clay remove dark spots? ›

Does clay help with dark spots? Clay can reduce inflammation of the skin, prevent acne and break outs and over time. The wound healing ability of clay will stop the source of acne caused dark spots, also called hyperpigmentation.

Which clay is best for skin whitening? ›

You can use kaolin clay safely on your skin to brighten your skin tone, exfoliate to deep clean your pores, soothe your irritated skin, and soak excess oil from your skin's surface. Depending on your skin needs, include kaolin clay in your skin care regimen to see the results.

Is it okay to use Aztec clay mask everyday? ›

You can use Aztec clay mask daily or every other day. If you have sensitive skin, start with once a week and increase as tolerated. Is Aztec clay good for your face? Aztec clay is a type of bentonite clay that has been used for centuries by the Aztec people for detoxification and healing.


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