In the new world of “Spa” that has taken the grooming world by storm, there are many concoctions, products, and ingredients that are being offered to us to help heal and detoxify the skin and coat of the pet friends that we see every day.

Masks and Oils are used for this purpose to prepare the skin and coat to receive a therapeutic shampoo or treatment.

Clays

Clay is an excellent detoxification substance. With an alkaline PH and a high negative ionic charge, this clay alkalizes the skin and pulls toxins, both pathogenic and environmental, from the skin and coat.

As a substance made of super charged, inert minerals, clay has a magnetic affinity for heavy metals, viruses, and parasites, among other things.  These attributes revitalize and rebuild cells that have been damaged. There are several types of clay that can be used during the masking process. Masks are used to treat any kind of rash, infection, dryness, and inflammation. Clays and combinations of clays and oils can be used anywhere on the body except mucous membranes. Sebaceous zones such as the feet, armpits, groin, and belly all benefit from masking. Here are some examples:

Bentonite – formed of volcanic ash and water over long periods of time, this clay has anti-bacterial properties and is powerfully detoxifying.

Green – Rich in iron and magnesium, it is a quick absorber for oils and toxins.

White – sometimes known as Kaolin or argil, this is a very gentle clay and is used for sensitive, dry, and elderly skin. With exceptional softening properties, it is ideal for crusts and thickened skin, even when infection is present. It has anti-bacterial as well as detoxification properties.

Fuller Earth – This antiseptic clay has a grit-like texture that is used as an exfoliator.

Oils

While any of these clays can be used as a foundation for a Mask, many of them benefit from added oils that provide healing properties as well as help the clay stick to the area being treated.

Argan Oil – Contains a high concentration of vitamin E and fatty acids, is more stable in UV rays and is a strong antioxidant.

Olive Oil – This extra moisturizing oil is rich in polyphenols, squalene, and fatty acids. It can help ageing and extremely dry skin.

Avocado Oil – This nutritious oil is full of vitamins A, D, and E. Along with its powerful antioxidant properties, it is valuable in soothing dry skin.

Emu Oil – This oil promotes wound healing from burns, rashes, and allergic reactions. It is readily recognized by the skin.

Clays and oils as detoxifiers are one of the steps in the therapeutic process that can really make a difference in a skin that is suffering. As always, do your research to make sure the products that you are using are sourced in a responsible way and have full disclosure on their packaging. This keeps you informed about the products that you have on your hands every day, as well as the entire skin of the pet friend you are treating.

Michelle Knowles is the spa director of The Tender Paw Day Spa at Animal Health Services of Cave Creek Surgical and Diagnostic Center in Cave Creek Arizona.