Many commercial products capitalize on sea salts to help with skin problems. Salt water helps certain skin illnesses and irritations, but also has damaging side effects due to bacteria. If planning to use salt water to help with skin issues, consult a dermatologist to clarify what side effects to consider.
Dry, Itchy Skin
Salt helps with skin suffering from itchiness or eczema. Salt water also helps with psoriasis. As salt tends to open pores and remove toxins, the properties of salt relieve skin irritations. In the winter, when dry skin increases because of cold and icy winds, salt helps reduce the inflammation. If you rub salt with water onto your skin with a gentle abrasive surface like a loofah or buffer pad, you actually remove the dead skin that causes the itchiness.
If you have acne, salt water has a side effect that actually heals and improves the look of acne scars. Salt water removes the excess oil from skin. One of the most important parts of using salt water as an acne treatment is rinsing off any salt water afterwards. However, other side effects of salt water increase acne, especially if you increase your duration in salt water, or do not wash after treatment.
As salt draws out toxins from the body and heals, salt water has the capability to fight skin infections due to its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Salt water exfoliates, stimulates circulation, hydrates and increases moisture retention. In addition, salt water side effects lead to skin cell regeneration. Dead Sea salts and Himalayan crystal salts are two well-known products that depend upon salt to produce skin cures.
Mycobacteria and Vibrio
In addition to all good side effects, salt water has potentially bad side effects, such as mycobacteria. When salt water comes into contact with cuts or open sores, such as when swimming in oceans, the bacteria gets into the skin. Mycobacteria leads to tuberculosis in some cases. Another bacteria known as vibrio is also found in salt water that causes cholera when digested, but also causes skin infections.
- National Skin Care Institute: Salt Can Help Fight Skin Infections and Dryness
- Sensible Acne Advice: Sea Water Heals Acne
- Green Organic Skin Care and Beauty Products: The Beautifying Effects of Salt Water on the Skin
- Numaderm: Salt Water and Skin: Pros and Cons
- SaltWorks: Bath & Salt Water Therapy
- Virginia Department of Health: Skin Infections Caused by Mycobacteria and Vibrio
Karen Adams has been writing professionally since 2003. At the University of Florida, she worked on the school's newspaper while earning her Bachelor of Arts in English. She contributes to many different publications regularly. Currently she lives and works in Florida and is a member of Florida University's Fiction Collective and "Tea Magazine."