Acne is probably the most annoying skin issue you can ever have. Things turn even more frustrating when they finally go away after a long struggle but leave ugly scars behind. However, sea salt can eliminate this common yet pesky skin problem. Since prehistoric times, this natural kitchen ingredient has been loved by people worldwide for its skincare benefits. If you are unaware of it, this article will provide an overview. Learn how to use sea salt for acne and scars and its potential benefits and downsides.
What Causes Adult Acne?
Before discussing the goodness of sea salt, let us closely examine adult acne and its causes. Adults can get acne in their 30s, 40s, and even 50s, which is dermatologically termed ‘adult-onset acne.’ The most common factor responsible for these flare-ups is fluctuating levels of hormones in the body. Women experience hormonal imbalance during menstrual cycles, perimenopause, menopause, pregnancy, and post-discontinuation of birth control pills. Some other reasons behind the issue include heredity, extreme stress, use of comedogenic or acnegenic skin and hair care products, side effects of a few specific prescription drugs, and certain underlying medical conditions. (1)
Adult acne usually do not respond to regular acne treatments that work for us during the teen years. Sometimes, regular treatments can even make these blemishes worse.
What is Sea Salt?
As the name suggests, sea salt is a type of salt (composed of sodium chloride) prepared from seawater. While many types of sea salt are available on the market, Dead Sea salt (sourced directly from the Dead Sea) is known to be the best. Aside from culinary uses, it is commonly added to body scrubs, baths, beverages, etc. However, sea salt is pretty different from regular salt or table salt in terms of processing, texture, nutritional profile, and taste. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), sea salt is obtained through direct evaporation of seawater, which involves zero processing or minimal processing, unlike table salt (2). While the latter loses its mineral content due to heavy processing, sea salt contains minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, etc. in trace amounts (3). In addition, the granules of sea salt are bigger and coarser than those of table salt due to a lack of processing.
If compared with table salt, the same quantity of sea salt carries fewer granules because of the larger size. A teaspoon of table salt (6.1 gm.) packs almost 2,300 mg of sodium while a teaspoon of sea salt contains only 2,000 mg. (4). This makes it nutritionally superior to its regular counterpart as too much intake of sodium can increase the risk of heart disease by raising blood pressure levels (5).
Potential Health Benefits of Sea Salt
Though most of the health benefits of sea salt are yet to be backed by intense scientific research, studies are being conducted to prove the claims. Following are some of the potential benefits of sea salt that may benefit our health:
- Being rich in sodium, sea salt may help prevent dehydration by balancing fluid levels in the body (6).
- Maintaining proper fluid balance helps stabilize blood pressure levels and keeps hypertension away (7).
- It may effectively fulfill the sodium needs of people sensitive to dietary salt, thus keeping them healthy (8).
- Sea salt ensures optimal digestive health by stimulating stomach acid secretion, facilitating nutrient absorption, and easing transportation in the intestines (9).
- When mixed with lukewarm water, it may aid digestion by improving bowel movement through the digestive tract (10).
- Taking sea salt baths may relieve rheumatic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, knee osteoarthritis, etc. (11).
- It also soothes overworked, achy muscles in the legs and feet by boosting blood circulation.
Why Use Sea Salt for Skincare?
Apart from healthcare, sea salt helps in skincare, too. Here is how the simple ingredient takes excellent care of our skin:
- Being rich in magnesium, sea salt provides intense hydration to dry and flaky skin (12).
- Indulging in a sea salt bath reduces roughness and improves the skin’s texture to make it look healthy.
- When added to bathwater, sea salt helps calm and relieve redness, irritation, and itchiness caused by certain dry skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, etc. (13).
- It also increases the number of immune cells in the body to avoid the inflammatory reactions of acne and atopic dermatitis (14).
8 Methods to Use Sea Salt for Acne and Scars
Sea salt acne therapy is an age-long practice that reduces acne and the marks and scars it leaves. Sea salt is one of the best natural skin-friendly ingredients that destroys acne-causing bacteria, restores skin’s pH balance, controls sebum production, boosts blood circulation, detoxifies the skin, and nourishes it deeply. While treating acne, you can mix it with water or combine it with other healing components. Following are the best ways to use it for acne and its scars:
1. Sea Salt Solution
Wash your face with lukewarm water so that the pores become open. Take the required amount of sea salt and mix it with equal water. Massage your acne-affected skin with this paste by following a gentle circular motion. Let it sit for 15 minutes, then rinse with lukewarm water. Finally, close your pores by splashing cold water. Sea salt solution is one of the easiest and most common ways to treat acne and its scars.
2. Sea Salt Spray
You can use sea salt spray instead of applying the water solution directly to your skin. Prepare the solution just like the previous way. Make sure that it is in a semi-liquid state and not too thick. Pour it into a plastic spray bottle and spritz over your acne. Massage gently for a few minutes with your fingertips, and rinse off with tepid water.
3. Sea Salt-Honey Mask
When mixed with sea salt, honey can increase its efficacy in treating acne scars with its natural anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and healing properties. Mix one teaspoonful of pure, raw organic honey with one teaspoon of sea salt and turn it into a paste by adding three teaspoons of warm water. Apply it to your skin as a mask or the troubled parts as a spot treatment. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then wash off with lukewarm water.
4. Sea Salt-Almond Oil Mask
If you have dry and dull skin full of acne or its marks, you need this nourishing and rejuvenating mask. You will need around 2 cups of sea salt to prepare this mask. Pour 1 cup of sweet almond oil (extra virgin olive oil / organic coconut oil/jojoba oil/grape seed oil as alternatives) and 15 drops of essential oil (of your choice) into it. Combine everything and apply the mask all over your face. Massage with fingertips for 3 to 5 minutes, then leave it on for five more minutes. Finally, rinse with lukewarm water.
5. Sea Salt-Aloe Vera Mask
Combine the renowned healing properties of aloe vera with sea salt to eliminate acne and its scars effectively. Mix two tablespoons of freshly extracted aloe vera gel with one tablespoon of sea salt in a bowl, ensuring a smooth paste without lumps. Gently massage the mixture into the skin and leave it on for 5 minutes. After the mask dries completely, rinse it with plain water for optimal results.
6. Sea Salt-Green Tea Mask
Add (1/2) tablespoon of freshly brewed organic green tea to one tablespoon of sea salt. Blend well to form a fine paste and spread it over your skin. Let it dry completely. Then, rinse off with tepid water. The antioxidants in green tea reduce the appearance of acne and help get rid of old scars through faster cell renewal.
7. Sea Salt-Grapefruit Peel Scrub
Start with taking (1/2) cup of sea salt and 1 cup of granulated sugar in a mixing bowl. Pour three tablespoons of organic coconut oil into it. Also, add grated grapefruit peel and the juice of the fruit one tablespoon each. Lastly, puncture a vitamin E capsule and pour its content into the bowl. Blend everything well and prepare a fine paste of medium consistency. Massage it into your skin in a small circular motion followed by a set time of 5 minutes. Then, wash off with plain cold water. It works like magic for people with oily, acne-prone skin.
8. Sea Salt Bath
A sea salt bath is the most effective natural remedy for treating body acne (chest, back, hands, legs, etc.). However, there are two different ways to try it. The more straightforward method instructs us to mix 2 cups of sea salt in a hot bath. On the other hand, you can prepare a blend by combining sea salt, white clay, borax, and a few drops of your favorite essential oil and then adding 5 to 6 tablespoons of it to warm bathwater. Once you are done with the preparation, you must get in the mixture and soak yourself for 20-30 minutes. Follow it with a shower with plain tepid water and rinse away all the salt gradually. Repeat the process thrice every week to see the best results.
Massaging or scrubbing the skin too hard with sea salt can be damaging. Moreover, it can dry out and irritate the skin if left on for a considerably longer time. Hence, be gentle with your application and always seal in the natural moisture of your skin by applying an oil-free moisturizer afterward.
Downsides of Sea Salt Usage
Too much consumption of sea salt will cause you to intake more than the recommended amount of sodium, which usually leads to high blood pressure, heart failure, osteoporosis, kidney stones, and several other health issues (15). A sea salt bath can also cause rashes, hives, allergic reactions, and infections. Hence, it is always advised to consult a doctor before using sea salt for health or skin.
Sea salt is a type of salt that is prepared by evaporating seawater directly. It contains a number of minerals like sodium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, etc. in trace amounts, which make it nutritionally more powerful than regular salt or table salt. Sea salt is believed to offer numerous health as well as skin benefits. It may also be used effectively for reducing acne and its ugly scars.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is Sea Salt Soap Good for Your Skin?
If you have troubled skin suffering from acne, breakouts, eczema, psoriasis, etc., a sea salt soap can help exfoliate and clear it up effectively.
Can Saltwater Cause Pimples?
Saltwater never causes pimples. Instead, it expands the pores and eliminates toxins from the skin through them, thereby reducing the chances of developing pimples in the future.
Does Saltwater Cause Sunburn?
If you take a saltwater bath and expose your skin to UV radiation right after that, you may experience a minor to moderate sunburn.
- “Adult Acne,” AAD.org
- “Sea Salt vs. Table Salt,” Heart.org
- “Comparison of Salty Taste and Time Intensity of Sea and Land Salts from Around the World,” ResearchGate.net
- “Sea Salt,” fdc.nal.usda.gov
- “Dietary Sodium and Health: More Than Just Blood Pressure,” ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
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- “Fluid Balance Concepts in Medicine: Principles and Practice,” ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
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- “Efficacy of Bolus Lukewarm Saline and Yoga Postures as Colonoscopy Preparation: A Pilot Study,” ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Scientific Evidence of the Therapeutic Effects of Dead Sea Treatments: A Systematic Review,” ScienceDirect.com
- “Bathing in a Magnesium-Rich Dead Sea Salt Solution Improves Skin Barrier Function, Enhances Skin Hydration, and Reduces Inflammation in Atopic Dry Skin,” ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- “Eczema and Bathing,” NationalEczema.org
- “Sodium Chloride is an Ionic Checkpoint for Human TH2 Cells and Shapes the Atopic Skin Microenvironment“, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
- “Cardiovascular and Other Effects of Salt Consumption,” ncbi.nlm.nih.gov