Umbrian Clay Purifying Mask comes with quite the story. The company waxes poetic about it coming from Italy on the hill tops of Umbria and how it can purify skin and minimize pores. When you pull back the curtain the main ingredient in this jar packaged mask is fuller's earth—an extremely basic clay-like ingredient. It does have impressive absorbent properties, which is why fuller's earth has been used for decades as the primary ingredient in cat litter. Not quite as romantic sounding when you look past the fiction and get down to the facts.
Of course, there's nothing wrong with fuller's earth as it does make for a decent clay facial mask, but in this case, the amount of overpowering skin-aggravating fragrance that lingers even after the mask is rinsed off makes this a problem for all skin types. Fragrance, whether it's natural or synthetic is always a problem for skin and we explain that in the More Info section.
FYI: Although Fresh markets this mask as being multifunctional as a deep cleanser, the clay-like texture and overall formula aren't conducive to that (trust us, we tried it just to be sure).
Due to the influence of the skin-aggravating fragrance, Umbrian Clay Purifying Mask is more likely to make skin worse—not better—especially oily skin (see More Info to learn why). In short, save your hard-earned dollars on this unjustly overpriced mask!
Why Fragrance is a Problem for Skin: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes a chronic sensitizing reaction on skin.
This leads to all kinds of problems, including disruption of skin's healthy appearance, worsening dryness, redness, depletion of vital substances in skin's surface, and generally keeps skin from looking healthy, smooth, and hydrated. Fragrance free is always the best way to go for all skin types.
A surprising fact: Even though you can't always see the negative influence of using products that contain fragrance has on skin, the damage will still be taking place even if it's not evident on the surface. Research has demonstrated that you don't always need to see or feel the effects on your skin for your skin to be suffering. This negative impact and the visible damage may not become apparent for a long time.
References for this information:
Biochimica and Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1,410-1,419
Aging, March 2012, pages 166-175
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77-80
Experimental Dermatology, October 2009, pages 821-832
International Journal of Toxicology, Volume 27, 2008, Supplement pages 1-43
Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446—475
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, issue 11, pages 789-798
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008, issue 4, pages 191-202
Not being gentle to skin can increase oily skin & breakouts: Whether you can see it on the surface of skin or not, using harsh, skin-aggravating ingredients or cleansing brushes with stiff bristles, is a serious problem for all skin types but uniquely so for those with oily, combination, and blemish-prone skin.
Research has clearly established that when skin is aggravated the oil gland is stimulated by nerve endings to make more oil creating a perfect environment for blemishes, breakouts, and clogged pores to get worse.
Using any product that's gentle and completely non-irritating is without question the only approach to taking the best care of your skin; doing otherwise hurts your skin.
It's also vitally important to use appropriate products that research has shown are beneficial for oily skin and blemishes. The two gold standard ingredients are salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide.
References for this information:
Journal of Clinical Aesthetic Dermatology, January 2016, issue 1, pages 25-30
Journal of European Dermatology and Venerology, May 2014, issue 5, pages 527-532
Journal of Dermatology, May 2012, issue 5, pages 433-438
Clinical Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, April 2011, pages 41-53
Dermato-Endocrinology, January-March 2011, issue 1, pages 41–49.
Experimental Dermatology, October 2009, issue 10, pages 821-832
European Journal of Dermatology, September-October 2002, pages 422-427
Journal of the American Medical Association, August 2004, issue 6, page 764
Dermatology, January 2003, issue 1, pages 17-23