Mud masks don't look very pretty when they're on your face, but they may offer some desirable benefits to your skin. This probably seems counterintuitive, especially if you're used to trying to keep pore-clogging dirt off of your face to avoid acne. But the mud used in mud masks is different from the dirt you encounter on a daily basis.
Most mud masks use mud or clay specifically mined from areas that have few, if any, contaminants. That's why they're generally not considered harmful or pore-clogging. On the contrary, many experts believe that mud masks may actually remove dirt and oil from your pores, though there aren't any scientific studies to back that up yet. Some people also use these masks to help exfoliate skin and remove dead skin cells. Since oil and dead skin cells clog your pores and cause acne, a mask may actually help prevent acne, rather than leading to breakouts [sources: Bouchez, Sorgen].
When combined with other ingredients, mud and clay masks may provide some additional benefits to your skin. For example, masks with honey in them can help increase the moisture content of your skin, without making it oily [source: Sorgen]. If you have especially sensitive skin, you can look for mud masks that contain ingredients like aloe vera, witch hazel and jojoba oil -- these may help soothe and heal the skin. Some masks also contain salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, which are antibacterial ingredients that help prevent acne breakouts. To find out if one of these mud masks would work well for you, you may want to consult a dermatologist.
For more information on caring for your skin, follow the links on the next page.