Saltwater contains nutrients, has antioxidant properties, and also works to exfoliate the skin. All this benefits the skin.
Saltwater is beneficial for skin but has very little scientific evidence supporting it. Sea water is known to contain minerals, such as magnesium, potassium and zinc.(1) It also has anti-bacterial properties. Soaking in mineral water can be helpful in relieving skin conditions such as psoriasis.
Benefits of Saltwater for Skin
Saltwater benefits the skin in several ways:
1. Treats Eczema
Deep-sea water is beneficial for certain skin conditions including eczema. It comes from a depth of 200 meters and this deep water is beneficial due to its purity and high nutrient content.
The nutrients in this water include:
Water present deep in the sea does not get light from the sun and has little or no bacteria. It has less plant plankton and retains many nutrients.
- Skin cracking
- Itchy skin
- Dry skin
- Reduction in thickness of the epidermis
- Water evaporation from the skin
There is a mineral imbalance in these people and toxic materials such as mercury and lead. Deep-sea water help in restoring the balance of the essential minerals and reducing the toxic material present in the body.
2. Reduces Allergic Skin Reaction
Research shows that deep-sea water reduces allergic responses in the body by reducing antibodies called immunoglobulin E, which are responsible for causing an allergic reaction in the body.
A study also shows that deep-sea water helps in slowing down and blocking the response of IgE, histamine, and proinflammatory cytokines, which cause an allergic reaction in the body.
It should be noted that the manufacturers remove salt before. This means the beneficial properties of salt water are due to other properties rather than salt.
3. Helps in Treating Psoriasis
Balneotherapy treats many medical conditions by making a person bathe in thermal mineral water. It includes bathing in natural saltwater sites such as the Dead sea or by adding sea salts to the bath.
Balneotherapy helps in treating plaque psoriasis and also benefits people with psoriatic arthritis. It can be beneficial in these conditions due to the following properties:
- Suppresses the immune system
- Widens the blood vessels due to warm temperature
- Releases beta-endorphins and enkephalins
Benefits of mineral salts:
- Sulfur helps in breaking down psoriatic plaques and suppresses the immune system
- Helps in killing bacteria on the skin’s surface
- Magnesium helps in reducing foreign substances
4. Exfoliates the Skin
Salt water acts as a mechanical exfoliant that removes dead skin from the uppermost layer of the skin.
It also prevents further build-up of dead skin cells that is a cause of acne. Salt scrubs may be good for every skin type or for areas where the skin is more delicate. It is good to speak to a dermatologist if having a skin condition and planning to use a salt scrub.
5. Increases Magnesium Levels
Magnesium is an essential mineral for overall health. It benefits the skin and supports cell repair and also activates vitamin D. Topical magnesium can be helpful in relieving inflammatory conditions.(2)
A study found that prolonged soaking in Epson salt can help in raising their magnesium level.(3) In this study, 19 people took an Epsom salt bath for 7 days. The magnesium level was found to be raised in these people.
How to Use Saltwater as a Part of Skin Care Regimen?
- There is very little evidence of incorporating saltwater into the skincare regimen.
- Anecdotal evidence suggests a few methods in which salt water can be used for skin care.
- Start by using saltwater 1-2 times a week, just to see how the skin reacts.
- If salt water dries out the skin or causes irritation, discontinue its usage.
- Choose seas salt over table salt, as it may contain beneficial trace minerals.
- Its fine salt granules can be used instead of coarse salt.
- It can be applied to the face by applying it to a cotton pad and gently wiping the face with it.
- Avoid scrubbing face.
How to Make Salt Water?
Salt water can be made by adding 1 teaspoon of sea salt to 2 cups of boiling water. It should be allowed to cool and then can be stored at room temperature.
American Association of Dermatology recommends following precautions while using salt as an exfoliating scrub.(5)
- Be extremely cautious or avoid exfoliating when using any other product that can make the skin sensitive such as retinol and benzoyl peroxide.
- Mechanical exfoliation can irritate the acne-prone or sensitive skin. It can also lead to dark spots on the skin.
- Apply the salt gently and use a circular motion and gently wash off with lukewarm water.
- Avoid exfoliating if having skin burns.
- Moisturizer should be applied after exfoliating.
- Do not over-exfoliate.
Saltwater benefits the skin as it is rich in magnesium, potassium, and calcium. It also has antibacterial properties. But, if unsure about how to use it, or whether to use it or not, speak with a dermatologist.