This mud mask from Peter Thomas Roth has quite the story behind it, with tales of 9,000 year old mud hand-harvested from the moors of Ireland. There's definitely a bit of romance to it, but anecdotal, folkloric history does not equal powerhouse modern-day benefits for your skin.
The brand's pitch is that this mud has the highest level of organic content in the world, full of essential nutrients. While that might be true, it's unlikely much of this organic content that's present in the mud itself remains once it's been processed for cosmetic use. Even if it did survive, there isn't an abundance of research showing it can have a benefit for skin when applied topically. Besides, organic matter from the ground can contain all sorts of things you wouldn't want to put on your skin, from heavy metals like lead to insect parts and animal manure.
Then there's the issue of "detoxifying." There are more products than we can count that claim to draw toxins out of the skin, but that isn't possible. The only way for toxins to exit the body (regardless of where in the body those toxins might be) is for them to be processed through the liver and then excreted via urine or feces, which this product certainly can't do!
With those expectations aside, this can definitely serve as a good fragrance-free oil-absorbing mask, since it contains charcoal powder, kaolin, and bentonite, which all have absorbent properties. Though there is seaweed present here as well, you won't get much of its antioxidant benefit since this mask is packaged in a jar (see More Info for details on why jar packaging is not the best for antioxidant ingredients).
On balance, considering the inflated claims and the jar packaging, this mask – while it has potential – is ultimately not worth it, especially considering its price. You will find much better options on our list of Best Facial Masks.
The fact that it's packaged in a jar means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable once it is opened. All plant extracts, almost all vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients break down in the presence of air. Therefore, once a jar is opened and lets the air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate. Jars also are unsanitary because you're dipping your fingers into them with each use, adding bacteria that further deteriorate the beneficial ingredients.
The vast majority of ingredients that are most beneficial for your skin are not stable in the presence of light and air, which is exactly what happens when you take the lid off a jar (Pharmacology Review, 2013 & Journal of Biophotonics, 2010).
One of the critical factors in any anti-aging or skin-healing formula is the amount and variety of antioxidants, cell-communicating ingredients, and skin-repairing ingredients, and the more the better. These function in a variety of ways to reduce the effects of the constant environmental stresses your skin experiences (Dermatology Research and Practice, 2012 & The Journal of Pathology, 2007).
Antioxidants, cell-communicating ingredients, and skin-repairing ingredients not only can help prevent free-radical damage, but also, to a fairly impressive extent, help repair that damage. Surprisingly, almost all of these ingredients are just as vulnerable to sun exposure, pollution, and cigarette smoke as your skin (Pharmacognosy Review, 2013 & Journal of Biophotonics, 2010).
Once you open that jar you bought, you immediately compromise the stability of the anti-aging superstars it contains. (You can visualize their benefits disappearing like puffs of air each time you open up that lid!)
Peter Thomas Roth At-A-Glance
Peter Thomas Roth is a large but straightforward line with mostly uncomplicated formulations that, for the most part, are quite good and state-of-the-art. Unlike many product lines, most of the acne, AHA, BHA, sunscreen, and moisturizing products contain what they should to be effective and helpful for skin.
Even more impressive are the well-formulated cleansers, sunscreens, AHA products, and skin lighteners. The moisturizers have improved somewhat, and most are now packaged so that the light- and air-sensitive ingredients remain stable. In fact, Roth's packaging deserves special mention because it is exceptionally utilitarian.
After all that glowing praise, what you should be aware of are the instances of products containing potential irritants (noted in their respective reviews) as well as the products in jar packaging that contain ingredients which are sensitive to air and light.
For more information about Peter Thomas Roth, call (800) PTR-SKIN or visit www.peterthomasroth.com.
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