If you’re a skincare junkie, then chances are you’ve heard of bentonite clay. It’s a healing clay that you can supposedly use for various purposes and on different parts of your body. Also known as montmorillonite clay, it’s has grown into a health trend aimed at people who want to cleanse and detoxify their bodies.

And the thing is, it’s not just a trend – there really is a lot to like about bentonite clay. It’s made of minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and sodium.

Bentonite clay is characterized by its grey or cream color and its very fine consistency. It can remove toxins, heavy metals, chemicals, and impurities, which explains why it’s a common ingredient in cleansing and detox products.

It’s used in a skincare regimen, detox baths, and even as healing poultices. Some people mix it with water to drink because of its alkalizing effect that maintains gut health.

Here are six benefits and uses of bentonite clay:

Skin Purifier

This healing clay is often mixed with water or apple cider vinegar. If you have sensitive skin, it’s recommended that you make your bentonite clay mask with just water. If you’re after the health benefits of apple cider vinegar, however, you can take ACV pills as an alternative.

Using bentonite clay mask will draw out the impurities of the skin by targeting bacteria and toxins from the pores. In the first two or three days after using the bentonite clay mask, expect some breakout as your skin goes through a purge. Afterward, you’ll notice how your skin is softer, your breakouts happen less, and your redness has subsided.

Poultice and wound healing

Bentonite clay is also used to treat skin conditions, like allergic reactions and contact dermatitis. Did you know that bentonite clay is great for healing poison ivy and can speed up wound healing?

When applied topically, bentonite clay can target Buruli ulcer, a flesh-eating infection that comes from the mycobacterium ulcerans bacteria. Additionally, it can heal the damaged skin since it’s also capable of helping the body speed up tissue regeneration.

Detox bath

Yes, it’s a thing, and it can benefit you better than bath bombs. Simply add ¼ cup of bentonite clay to your bath and let your body soak in it for half an hour. Towel off and remove any pieces that stick to your skin, and voila – your skin feels like a baby’s bum!

Promotes weight loss

Shailene Woodley swears by it! It sounds weird, but it’s actually a more common practice than you may think. Most natural detox weight loss drinks and diets actually make use of bentonite clay by mixing it with their drinks.

A trial in 2016 found that bentonite clay does have an impact not just on weight loss, but also in decreasing your body’s cholesterol levels.

Healthy digestion and internal cleansing

Its ability to remove toxins from the body promotes better digestion, and animal studies have shown that bentonite clay binds to aflatoxins, which are toxins commonly found in our diets and thrive on food products that aren’t stored properly.

When ingested, it’s also been known to promote better bowel movements and relieve constipation. If you’re suffering from digestive problems, mix a half teaspoon of bentonite clay in your glass of water and drink. If you’re after its detoxification effects, mix one whole teaspoon in a cup of water and shake well before drinking.

Remember not to mix bentonite clay with any type of metal though, because it’s very counterintuitive. The clay produces a negative electric charge when activated, and it’s for this reason that it’s able to pull heavy metals from the body – if you mix your bentonite clay with a metal spoon, the clay will just absorb the ions from the metal and lose its effect. You’ll basically be ingesting even more heavy metals.

Teeth and gum health

The mouth is probably one of the most bacteria-ridden parts of our body. It’s susceptible to so much virus and bacteria, especially since it’s the entry point for everything we eat and drink. When you drink bentonite clay, it’s going to stick to the unhealthy substances in your mouth, your gums, in and around your teeth, and your tongue. Additionally, its antibacterial properties have also made it a natural toothpaste and mouthwash!