By Hara Bourgani

From volcanic rock to active caldera ingredients, it seems that anything relating with lava has finally become the absolute trend. We can see it in Garnier’s SkinActive and Vichy’s Double Glow Peel Face masks fighting clogged pores, among other things. But what sounds big and does not make news, are volcano’s ingredients in our fight against psoriasis.

Scientific studies have already demonstrated the anti-inflammatory effect of mud bath therapy to patients with psoriasis (eg, Joint, Bone, Spine, 2015). So it comes as to no surprise that due to lack of big brands, a family business from Nisyros volcano island in Greece managed to manufacture Nisyriana volcano mask. According to the label and a few patients’ blog posts, this is said to work wonders for skin conditions such as psoriasis, stretch marks, and scars, not to mention its skin tightening and anti-aging effects. The recipe is based on the synergistic effect of substances found in the volcano: argile clay by 25%, sulfur, bitter almond oil, bentonite, ilmenitis mineral water. The mask received a patent back in 2011 and now sees an increase in requests among its international clients via the company’s e-shop.

As dermatologists and top doctors are starting to recognize the thermal water capacities, one wonders whether a mask like this can treat acute skin conditions.

Professor dermatologist Dr Konstantinos Kouskoukis, lawyer and president of the Academy of Thermal Medicine in Greece, says that, “The volcano in Nisyros has sulfur and the mud contains trace elements, sulfur, silicium, bromine, boron. Furthermore, argile causes skin contraction and bentonite leads to skin peeling, whereas sulfur compounds are ceratolytic as well as ceratoplastic, which means they help skin get rid of dead skin cells and regenerate itself, producing new epithelium.” In this way, a patient gets rid of psoriasis’ white scales and red plaques, too.

However, psoriasis is a chronic condition. Thermal baths and mud baths, either way they are offered—through the application of a mask or via a 20 minutes’ bath—certainly improve the condition, not permanently, though. “Our studies show that if patients adhere to a protocol for 21 days every 6 months, thermalism or mud treatment can be applied as a sole therapy, too,” Kouskoukis says.

To treat your psoriasis, consult your dermatologist.

Hara Bourgani is a journalist based in Athens, Greece. She has been a health editor at the Greek edition of Elle magazine for more than 10 years. Her studies include Communications and Mass Media at Athens Capodistrian University and MA in European Journalism at Cardiff University.