Something about a beach day makes you feel like your best self. Take a dip in the sea and all of a sudden you've got perfectly textured waves and smooth, glowing skin. It's all thanks to salt water, which has natural healing properties. Even at home, in the bath, salt can soften skin and relax tense muscles. Some proponents believe it can even treat pimples, but the evidence is purely anecdotal. The truth is, there's no one-size-fits-all acne cure, but salt water can definitely help keep your skin looking fresh.
Get Glowing With Saltwater Toner
Here's how it works: Salt water exfoliates dead skin cells and soaks up excess oil – two issues that lead to clogged pores. Clear pores equal clear skin. Salt water might not be a miracle worker for everyone, but it helps.
Whipping up your own saltwater face tonic is simple. Mix one teaspoon sea salt with warm water. Apply the mixture just like you would a toner: Soak a cotton ball in the solution and swipe it over the affected area to remove impurities and revitalize your skin.
Watch for Saltwater Side Effects
Even though salt water may be useful in diminishing mild breakouts, it could also break down your skin barrier, interfering with your cleanser and other acne treatments, and potentially drying your skin out. Making sure your pores are super clean is the No. 1 thing you can do to prevent pimples in the first place, so sometimes salt water does more harm than good. And believe it or not, parched skin can actually exacerbate acne. It triggers an uptick in oil production and leads to even more breakouts.
To keep your skin balanced, don't overdo the salt water. Try it as an every-other-day treatment and see how your skin fares. If you can handle it, you might try using a saltwater toner as part of your daily routine, but keep it to once per day. If you do experience dryness, replenish your skin's moisture with a nourishing, yet noncomedogenic, oil like argan or jojoba oil. Contrary to popular belief, oils like these don't break you out.
And finally, if you have sensitive skin, unfortunately, salt water may not be for you. Salt can be very irritating, especially if you tend to break out after going to the beach or being out in the sun (looking at you, fair-skinned beauties). In this case, it's best to enjoy the sea water from the comfort of your beach chair under an umbrella.
Brenda Barron is a writer, editor and researcher based in Southern California. She has worked as a writer since 2004, with work appearing in online and print publications such as BabyZone, "Cat Fancy" and "ePregnancy." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from California State University, Long Beach.