Ingredient: Kaolin (China Clay)

INCI: Kaolin

Sources: First mined in China, now available around the world

Our rating: GOOD

What is Kaolin?

Kaolin or China Clay is a soft, white, natural occurring clay with kaolinite as its key mineral. It is known for its absorbent and non-comedogenic properties. This ingredient has multiple uses in the cosmetic industry but its main function is to control oil production and reduce shine by lowering the production of sebum.

Benefits of Kaolin:

Commercial cleansers contain harsh surfactants that stripe natural moisture and oils off the skin. Kaolin clay mask is natural and recommended for sensitive oily skin. The high levels of silica in kaolin help to gently cleanse and exfoliate dead skin cells and debris from the stratum corneum. When used in masks, it can hydrate, purify and detox the skin. It also has unique minerals and phytonutrients which help in eliminating toxins. According to the US Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University researchers found that phytonutrients act as an antioxidant and can protect the skin from UV rays.

Kaolin is excellent for acne and breakout-prone skin as it restores the skin’s balance and decreases the level of sebum pore-clogging oil, dirt and toxins. According to dermatologists, acne lesions are caused by hormonal imbalance and inflammation. Hormonal imbalance causes excess production of sebum, which then clogs skin pores and dead cells. P.acnes bacteria feed on the dead cells, worsening the acne condition. Kaolin clay mask purges dead cells and removes excess oil from the skin. Kaolin is excellent for acne and breakout-prone skin as it restores the skin’s balance and decreases the level of sebum pore-clogging oil, dirt and toxins Its anti-inflammatory properties reduce acne inflammation, resulting in clean and smooth skin.

As a self-preservative mineral that absorbs moisture into itself, kaolin draws excess water that is active in a formula, leaving less or no water in the product for microorganisms to grow and reproduce. This enables skincare products to have a longer shelf life.

Side Effects & Toxicity:

An extremely safe ingredient, kaolin has no known toxicity in general use and is shown to be non-irritating and suitable for sensitive skin.

Editor’s Note:

Look out for cleansers that contain kaolin as they can help the makeup look matte, fresh and last longer! Using mineral/foundation powders containing kaolin can reduce the cakiness of the base by not inducing the skin to produce more oil.


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