Beauty and the Beast: A Tale of “Mud-Luscious” Skin Care
If you’ve seen the incredible film Pan’s Labyrinth—in which a young girl visits a gothic underworld teeming with grotesque mud-covered creatures—then you have some idea of what women in my native Romania look like in the throes of their favorite beauty ritual. Every summer as a child I’d see them on the shores of the Black Sea —these dark, gooey “monsters” caked with glistening mud and seaweed. My eyes would pop—especially after they’d shed their “Swamp Thing” skin beneath the waves and bobbed up looking like the mermaids in my fairytale books. From Monsters to Mermaids The “magic” in Black Sea mud comes from its high concentration of organic matter and mineral salts. In addition to the essential minerals such magnesium, potassium, bromine, zinc, copper, and calcium that also enrich the highly restorative salts of the Dead Sea, Romania’s volcanic mud contains the antioxidant vitamin B12—a vital player in the formation of red blood cells and our circulatory health. Famed since ancient times, these therapeutic muds and sea salts remain under investigation by today’s scientists. But evidence from international dermatologic studies confirming their antibacterial properties and positive effects on roughness and inflammation suggest that Cleopatra and the Queen of Sheba were definitely on to something. Mud Packs and Beyond I highly recommend incorporating the nutrients found in traditional Romanian mud baths into your skin care regime. Luckily, their benefits are now available in more convenient forms. Thanks to hydrating seaweed masks and organic serums and other products that contain marine botanicals and Dead Sea salts, we don’t have to spend our beach time looking like the Beast from 20,000 Fathoms to refresh and rejuvenate our skin!