Dead Sea Mineral Mud is a natural element yielded by and harvested from the mineral-rich Dead Sea, a small body of water nestled in the Jordan Rift Valley between Israel to the East and Jordan to the West. Known to be the world’s deepest salt lake, it is also commonly referred to by the names Sea of Salt, Stinking Sea, Sea of Sodom and Gomorrah, the Devil's Sea, and Lake Asphaltites.
Nearly 10 times saltier than the ocean, the name of this salt lake is derived from the fact that its hyper salinity makes it uninhabitable for plants and animals. The Dead Sea does not have any channels for its waters, thus there is nowhere for the water to go but up – that is to say it evaporates. Millions of years of hot, dry desert air combined with a high rate of evaporation have been partly responsible for the Dead Sea’s profuse cumulation of salt and minerals that are essential for skin health. The mud at the bottom of the sea absorbs these natural resources, and this mud is then harvested. After being filtered and purified, it is packaged.
According to legends, the first historical figure to acknowledge the healing powers of the Dead Sea was the Queen of Sheba. Eventually, Cleopatra came to learn of its alleged mystical efficacy and travelled there from Egypt in order to build the world’s first spa. It is also believed that, in the time of King David, the Dead Sea became an early natural spa due to its high contents of salt and other minerals as well as its low pollen content, factors that allured the King himself. According to historical sources, the Dead Sea also became a location for Herod the Great to build fortresses as well as a health resort for himself, which would be one of the world's first. According to anecdotal evidence, throughout the years there has been a common belief that bathing in the tranquil and restful backdrop of the Dead Sea accelerates the healing process faster than it would progress in a sterile hospital setting.
Historically, the Dead Sea was a contributor for the resinous bitumen or "asphalt" required in Egyptian mummification. Hence, the Egyptian word for "mummy" – mūmiyā – is the same as the Egyptian word for asphalt. In more recent times, the Dead Sea has come to be a supplier of potash required for fertilizers, and the salt and minerals found within have traditionally been used to manufacture cosmetics and herbal pouches, further establishing this body of water as a lasting beauty aid. At present, this region continues to be known as a "fountain of youth" for not only having water that is exceptionally saline and abounding with valuable organic matter but also for yielding a nourishing, mineral-rich, therapeutic mud with restorative and rejuvenating properties. This "Brine Mud" or "Silt" is better known as Dead Sea Mineral Mud.
Since ancient and medieval times, it was a common practice to apply earths, clays, peat, and muds to the body for their remedial properties, thus the term Mud Therapy was coined. The practice was further established by the “Clay Pastor” Emanuel Felke, a German therapist. Furthermore, Adolph Just, a German naturopath and proponent of returning to nature in order to cure diseases organically also underscored the advantages of Mud Therapy as an agent for enhancing overall well-being. For hundreds of years, Dead Sea Mud has been known to exhibit therapeutic benefits and general well-being. In 1959, treatments that used its benefits became popular applications, and from the 17th to the 19th centuries Mud Therapy was commonly practiced in Europe, where chronic illnesses were treated with mineral water and mudpacks of varying compositions and varying degrees of warmth. Despite multiple experiments to determine the ideal regularity, duration, and temperatures of mudpack application, the remedial processes of Mud Therapy remained unknown; it was simply understood that mud was effective in promoting faster healing.
Alongside its hydrating and beautifying properties, Dead Sea Mineral Mud maintains its reputation for having cleansing and purgative properties. These are known to relieve various symptoms of health issues ranging from skin ailments such as psoriasis to musculoskeletal ailments such as arthritis. This article highlights various benefits and safe uses for this classic, timeless cosmetic and health product.
The main chemical constituents of Dead Sea Mineral Mud are: Dead Sea Water, Organic Matter, and Minerals (expressed in Oxides: Silicon Dioxide, Calcium Oxide, Magnesium Oxide, Sodium Oxide, Potassium Oxide, Iron (III) Oxide, Aluminum Oxide, Phosphorous Pentoxide, Titanium (IV) Oxide, Sulfur Trioxide, Manganese(II) Oxide, Zirconium Dioxide, Chromium(III) Oxide, Zinc Oxide, Nickel(II) Oxide, Copper Oxide, Indium (III) Oxide, Chloride, and Bromide).
Used cosmetically or topically in general, Dead Sea Mineral Mud is beneficial for dry, oily, and normal skin types. It removes dead cells from the skin's surface, purges the pores of impurities, and balances the skin's oil production and pH level. While it remains warm and moist, usually for approximately an hour, Dead Sea Mud produces internal heat and stimulates circulation, which reduces the appearance of cellulite. Additionally, it accelerates the skin's detoxification process on the surface and in the tissues by gently drawing out visible and invisible impurities such as air pollution, allergens, dust, and dirt. As the mud dries, it exhibits gentle pulling action that draws out excess oil, tightens, and exfoliates to remove dead skin, which reveals a healthier layer of skin.
With hydrating and firming properties, Dead Sea Mud soothes itchiness and inflammation as well as symptoms of skin ailments such as dryness, acne, eczema, and psoriasis. Furthermore, it enhances skin elasticity, reduces the appearance of pores, and smooths the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
A layer of Dead Sea Mineral Mud on the skin not only promotes softness but also prevents the body from losing moisture, and in turn increases internal moisture levels. This results in an upsurge of blood flow and energy for the skin. The duration of the mask’s application and the heat that it produces both have the added benefit of increasing and facilitating the skin’s absorption of nutrients. This leaves the skin with a rosy glow. The minerals have anti-oxidant behaviour that cleanses the body to reestablish its natural equilibrium. The anti-microbiocidal action of the salt and sulfide helps to prevent the harmful effects that pathogens have on skin, which contributes to the mud’s ability to reduce the onset and appearance of acne.
Used in hair, Dead Sea Mineral Mud hydrates and nourishes the scalp and roots by boosting circulation. This reduces the chances of hair loss by strengthening and enhancing the health of hair follicles, which shrink and become narrower with age. Shrinkage prevents hair from receiving nourishment and oxygen, thereby negatively impacting the hair protein necessary for growth. This in turn leads to hair fall. Accordingly, Dead Sea Mud works to cleanse and moisturize the scalp to reduce or eliminate dryness and dandruff, thus preventing thinning, repairing damage, and leaving dull hair with increased luster. Dead Sea Mineral Mud is also reputed to effectively remove airborne environmental toxins that are absorbed by the hair.
Used medicinally, Dead Sea Mineral Mud works as a cleansing agent that provides soothing relief for skin afflicted with dryness, itchiness, redness, and cracking, especially when associated with dermatological ailments such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis. While healthful essential minerals penetrate the skin, they promote the release of muscle aches caused by stress, relieve the body of congestion and toxins, boost circulation, soothe sores and breakouts, reduce inflammation and tenderness in sore joints, facilitate the regeneration of new skin, restore elasticity, and balance skin tone as well as pH levels. With its ability to relax the muscles and boost circulation to reduce inflammation, Dead Sea Mud is reputed to be advantageous for relieving the discomforts associated with osteoarthritis, sports injuries, recovery from orthopedic surgeries, bursitis, tendonitis, and fibromyalgia. Applied in physiotherapy, medical massages, or therapeutic wraps, Dead Sea Mineral Mud is known to ease muscle pain, tone the body, illuminate the skin, and strengthen skin’s elasticity.
As illustrated, Dead Sea Mineral Mud is reputed to have many therapeutic properties. The following highlights its many benefits and the kinds of activity it is believed to show:
Dead Sea Mineral Mud is formed when fine-grained sediment consisting of mountain silt and sand flows down from natural springs that pass through the northern mountains, then through the Sea of Galilee, and finally down the Jordan River Valley before being deposited to the shores of this inland sea, where it settles. Over centuries, these deposits of fine sedimentary matter have accumulated in several layers, resulting in a natural raw material that is rich in essential minerals and organic matter.
The Dead Sea Basin's desert climate - characterized by high temperatures, low levels of humidity, and scarce rainfall - causes the Dead Sea water to evaporate quickly, while high concentrations of salts and minerals remain. The northern region of the Dead Sea has especially experienced the unfortunate overuse and vaporization of its water, both commercially and naturally. This has caused the sea to be divided in 2 parts that are connected by a small water way.
In Israel, the southern part of the sea is known to have the highest concentration of minerals, thus Dead Sea Mud is harvested from small, shallow, manmade pools in this section. After the raw material is collected into large barrels with the aid of shovels, the containers are transported to the lab for analysis and processing.
The therapeutic mud is kept in natural mineral water in order to allow it to mature further. Generally, the maturation process involves the mud's oxidation and reduction over the course of one year. This process may vary slightly for each mud.
The hues of harvested Organic Dead Sea Mud range between various shades of grey, which are dependent on the weather and season of harvest; the summer months yield a light gray mud and the winter months yield a dark gray mud.
Its characteristic scent is naturally sharp due to a rich Sulfur content. The finished product is free from sand and grit, resulting in a soft, smooth, fine, and viscous clay-like paste. The pH of Dead Sea Mineral Mud is between 7.5 and 8.9.
The uses of Dead Sea Mineral Mud are abundant, ranging from medicinal to cosmetic. Its many forms include mud baths, cleansing face and body masks, anti-dandruff shampoos and hair masks, treatments for oily and acne-prone skin, body deodorants, hand and body lotions, cosmetic mineral peels, body butters, eye creams, soaps, exfoliants, collagen-firming creams, lightening creams, lotions, and sunscreens.
Used in cosmetic applications, Dead Sea Mud can be applied directly onto the face after it has been gently cleansed to remove makeup, oil, and perspiration. Washing the face before application will also open the pores to allow the mud to deeply penetrate the skin. Alternatively, the pores can be opened with the aid of a washcloth that has been soaked in ukewarm water then wrung and placed on the face for 30-60 seconds. Next, a thin mask of Dead Sea Mud can be applied evenly to the face with the fingertips, using gentle upward strokes. The eye area should be avoided and to ensure its protection, a few drops of a carrier oil can be gently applied around the eyes to prevent the mud from crossing this hydrating and nourishing barrier. Applying a mask too thickly will prevent it from drying. To soften the skin and effectively purge impurities, the mask can be left on until it dries. To remove the mask, simply place a soaked and wrung lukewarm towel on the face once more after the mask has dried and allow it to soften the mask until it can be rinsed away with water without the skin having to be scrubbed. The mask should not be kept on the skin if it is uncomfortable, and its use should not be continued if it causes blemishes. This mask can also be applied medicinally to address symptoms of eczema and psoriasis.
To create a mud mask that gives off a pleasant and calming scent, combine 1 tsp. of Dead Sea Mud, 3 drops of an essential oil of personal preference, and 1 drop of Lavender Essential Oil in a container, mixing everything together thoroughly with a spoon. Apply this mix to the face like a mask and leave it on until it dries. Talking, smiling, and laughing are best avoided during this part of the process, as doing so may cause cracks to form in the drying mask. Once the mask has dried, follow the abovementioned soaked-towel method to gently and carefully soften and remove it. After a mask has been removed, it is important to treat the skin with care, as the mask may leave it feeling delicate. Accordingly, it is recommended that the face be patted dry with a soft towel or cloth and that honey, an anti-aging facial serum, a regular face cream, or any other natural moisturizer be applied to the face.
For those with oily or acne-prone skin types, a small strawberry may be mixed in with 1 tsp. of Dead Sea Mud before application to the face. Steps for mask removal and after care are as aforementioned. For those with dry skin, a formula consisting of the following ingredients may be blended together before application to the face: 1 Tbsp. of Dead Sea Mud, ½ tsp. of Organic Oat Flour, and ½ tsp. of Liquid Organic Honey. Steps for mask removal and after care are the same. For sensitive skin, the mud can be mixed with ¼ tsp. of homemade Cucumber Juice and ¼ tsp. of Organic Aloe Vera Gel. After rinsing off the mask, ice cubes made of Rose Water made be applied all over the face to give the face a natural shine.
For a body mud mask that diminishes the appearance of stretch marks and cellulite, blend 2 lbs. (907 g) of Dead Sea Mud with 475 ml (16 oz./1 pint) of water in a large mixing bowl or pot until the combination becomes glue-like in consistency. More water may be added as required to achieve this texture. The body mud mask may be applied with the fingers, a plastic spatula, or a wooden spoon. Beginning from the neck and applying it downward in even strokes, it can be used to cover the entire body, including the back, all the way to the feet. The hands may also be coated with the mud and covered with a cloth. Next, plastic wrap, thin cotton sheets, or warm towels should be used to firmly wrap the body without causing it to feel restricted in movement or circulation. In a warm room, lie down to rest on a bed or a couch for 1 hour, ensuring that the body is further covered with a robe or a blanket. In order to remain hydrated during this time, easy access to drinking water is highly recommended. After 1 hour, slowly remove all the layers of wrapping. To fully rinse off the body mask, shower as usual. This may be followed by a salt water bath, if desired. When finished, retain the body's moisture by applying lotion.
To create a cleansing blend of muds for a mask, combine ½ cup Dead Sea Mud, ½ cup Australian Black Clay, and 2 drops of Carrot Seed Essential Oil in a mixing bowl, gently stirring the mixture. To this, add 4 drops of Lavender Essential Oil and 2 drops of Sandalwood Essential Oil. Combine all the ingredients thoroughly to ensure complete synthesis with the clay and mud. Store this in a glass bowl or jar. Before application to the face, wash the skin with a preferred cleanser, then pat it dry using a soft towel. In order to prevent the mud from irritating the eye area, first apply a thin layer of carrier oil, moisturizer, or honey under the eyes down to the cheekbones. Next, spread a thin layer of the clay-mud mixture over the face starting from the middle of the face and using light finger strokes to smooth it outward. Leave the mask on for 5-15 minutes until it dries. To remove the mask, apply the lukewarm damp washcloth method until the mask is no longer stiff, then gently rinse the mask off with warm water. Wait 1 hour before applying moisturizer to the face. This mask may be applied to other areas of skin that require nourishment or that are afflicted with blemishes.
Used in hair, Dead Sea Mud can be applied directly to wet strands and the scalp. Simply part the hair with a comb, then apply the mask to exposed areas of the scalp and smooth it over the hair. Keep this mask on for 10-20 minutes, thoroughly rinsing it out with a gentle shampoo without rigorously washing it out or massaging it in. Rinsing may need to be repeated to remove all mud residue from the hair and scalp. Pat the hair dry with a towel, then apply a conditioner or a carrier oil such as Coconut.
Used in medicinal applications, Dead Sea Mud can be applied directly to joints, such as the knees or elbows, that are afflicted with pain, stiffness, tenderness, or soreness. To begin, the body must first be cleansed, thus a shower is recommended. Next, blend ¼ cup of Dead Sea Mineral Mud with 5 drops of Lavender Essential Oil or any other essential oil of personal preference. To this, add 2 drops of Rosemary Essential Oil and 1 drop of Peppermint Essential Oil. Once the oils are thoroughly combined into the mud, gently heat the mud in a pot of steaming hot water until its temperature is slightly above body temperature. After the mud has been applied and has dried, wash it off with warm water as usual.
DEAD SEA MINERAL MUD
INCI Name: Silt
Country of Origin: Israel
As with all other New Directions Aromatics products, cosmetic muds are for external use only. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using Dead Sea Mineral Mud for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women and those taking prescription drugs are especially advised not to use Dead Sea Mineral Mud without the medical advice of a physician. The mud should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, especially those under the age of 7. Those with allergies or sensitivities to metals, such as nickel and chrome, should avoid the use of Dead Sea Mineral Mud, as there may be trace elements of these metals in the mud.
Prior to using Dead Sea Mineral Mud, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by applying a small amount of the mud to a small area of skin that is not sensitive. Dead Sea Mineral Mud must never be used near the eyes, inner nose and ears, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin. In the event of an allergic reaction, discontinue use of the product and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action. To prevent side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use. Those seeking medical care to manage moods, behaviors, or disorders should treat this natural mud as a complementary remedy rather than a replacement for any medicinal treatments or prescriptions.
When applying the mud as a face or body mask, it should not be allowed to dry completely, as the mud continues to draw moisture out of the skin the longer it is kept on. This may lead to the formation of wrinkles and fine lines. While many individuals may notice immediate results after their use of the mud, it may take longer for others to see any improvements in health and appearance, thus patience and consistent application are required in tandem with a healthy skin care regimen.