For those who don’t know, Ildi Pekar, my long-time esthetician and founder of the I Pekar skincare line, hails from Hungary, where there is a long tradition of superlative skincare (probably the most advanced in Europe) harnessing new technologies, quality raw botanicals and local minerals. So it is particularly apt that that newest addition to the I Pekar line is a Hungarian mud and mineral face mask.
I Pekar Hungarian Thermal Mud Mask ($98 in the shop) is an ebony, creamy-textured face mask that is instantly cooling and refreshing. It is also very healing as I can testify having tried it out for the first time when I had a rash or some kind of allergic reaction and the mask took down my symptoms within 15 minutes. During my tests I have found that around 15 minutes seems the optimal time to leave on before rinsing to reveal really clear, hydrated and bright looking skin.
The thermal water and mud minerals are really imported by I Pekar from Hungary. The country and especially its capital Budapest is renowned for its thermal springs. No visit (including my own many years ago) is complete without a dip into the warm, sulfurous waters. Hungary's thermal water is said to relieve stress and anxiety and accelerate the body's own healing processes.
Although some ginger milk has been added to the ingredients, this mask does have the muddy, slight sour smell. For me, it isn’t unpleasant and I found that brought back vivid memories.
The attributes of the key minerals are worth touching on. Sulfur contains an amino acid that is also present in keratin, the stuff that’s important to hair, skin and nails. Sulfur is also present in two B vitamins, thiamine and biotin. Interestingly, thiamine is important to skin and biotin to hair. Sulfur is important to cellular respiration, as it is needed in the oxidation-reduction reactions that help the cells utilize oxygen. The University of Maryland notes that mud baths containing sulfur, often called balneotherapy, can help treat skin disorders, especially acne and rosacea.
Kalium is also present. This is actually potassium, which is an electrolyte and responsible for communication throughout the body. You can get potassium by eating bananas and, interestingly, a deficiency can result in dehydration and dry skin. In fact, it can be one of the main causes of dry skin.
Magnesium also improves skin hydration, as well as the skin’s barrier function, while reducing skin roughness and hydration. It is the fourth most prevalent mineral found in cells, after calcium, phosphorous and potassium. Low cellular magnesium results in free radical damage and inflammation.
Calcium is also essential. The skin’s calcium content regulates cell differentiation (and cell division) and controls the thickness of the epidermis. The National Cancer Research Institute once published a study linking calcium to the regulation of cell turnover. And according to the Mayo Clinic, skin that doesn’t have enough calcium stored in it may appear “fragile, thin and dry” since dead cells accumulate and cell production isn’t regulated as well.
In short, this simple mud mask is black gold as far as the skin is concerned. Recommended for all ages and especially for those with troubled or dry skin that has lost its glow.