5 Benefits Of Salt Water For Skin, How To Use It & Side Effects

Learn how to add salt to your skin care routine and soak in its numerous benefits.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Rinky Kapoor, MBBS, DDV, MD Dr. Rinky Kapoor Dr. Rinky KapoorMBBS, DDV, MD facebook_iconlinkedin_iconyoutube_iconinsta_icon
Written by , BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Arshiya Syeda BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Diploma Experience: 7 years
Edited by , MA (English Literature) Ramona Sinha MA (English Literature) Experience: 11 years
Fact-checked by , MA (English Literature) Swathi E MA (English Literature) Experience: 3 years
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These days, salt water can be found in various products, such as bath soaks and skin care products. It has emerged as a wonderful natural ingredient that people swear by. However, can you use salt water for skin care? Well, there seems to be no harm in applying it on the skin. However, it may dry out your skin, so always follow it up with a moisturizer. We will delve deeper into the benefits of salt water for the skin and how to use it in this article. Keep reading!

Is Salt Water Good For Your Skin?

Dr. Steven Line, MD, says, “Salt water can have both positive and negative effects on the skin. On one hand, salt water can be beneficial for the skin as it can help to remove dead skin cells, clear up acne, and improve overall skin texture. Additionally, the minerals present in salt water, such as magnesium and potassium, can help to soothe and nourish the skin. On the other hand, excessive exposure to salt water can dry out the skin and lead to irritation, sunburn, and other negative effects.”

This mineral-rich sea water offers many benefits for your skin and body. What makes salt water even more popular is the ease with which one can prepare it at home or source it from the sea.  Salt water is a healing substance that can reinvigorate and rejuvenate your skin, hair, and nails.

Dr. Nadir Qazi, a board-certified physician specializing in minimally invasive cosmetic procedures says, “While salt water can do fantastic things for the skin, not all salt is equal in its benefits. Favor sea salt or Himalayan salt for their higher additional mineral content over table salt, which has much of its nutrients removed. Swimming in the open ocean is a large part of my exercise regimen, and I enjoy taking in the healing effects of seawater every time.”

The salt water from the deep sea contains many beneficial minerals, vitamins, and acids. Some commonly found minerals in salt water include potassium, magnesium, and sulfur, among others (1). Due to these nutrients, many ancient civilizations have used salt water to manage skin conditions.

Dr. Qazi adds, “Himalayan salt water is safe for use on the face. Himalayan salt water has various minerals that are good for the face, including magnesium and calcium. Calcium can help regulate sebum production. Sebum is the waxy lipid that causes the skin to appear oily and can contribute to acne. Magnesium is also great for the skin, nourishing it and increasing collagen production.”

Salt water benefits the skin, and its healing properties make it a crucial ingredient in many relaxing, skin care and beauty treatments like balneotherapyi  A traditional method of therapy for various conditions like itchy skin, body pains, or arthritis by immersing the body in mineral water. and thalassotherapyi  A Greek treatment method that uses marine substances like sea water and sand to alleviate stress, body pains, and various skin conditions. (2), (3).

Saltwater from the sea is also said to have a similar chemical composition to the body’s blood plasma. Therefore, it helps the body cells function well and restores cells that are not performing to their potential.

Thus to answer the question, ‘Is salt water good for your skin?’ your skin might benefit from some specific salt water when used in moderation. However, there is not much scientific evidence to prove the same.

Benefits Of Salt Water For Your Skin

According to Dr. Qazi, “When washing the face with salt water, the dead skin and impurities may be drawn away from the skin. As fresh and vibrant skin is revealed, salt can minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. In addition, it can act as an anti-inflammatory, helping to encourage the healing of acne, reducing redness, and lessening the visibility of enlarged pores.”

While salt water is hailed to be great for your skin, it is important to note that not a lot of scientific research or evidence exists to prove these benefits. All of these claims are based on anecdotal evidence. Here is what salt water claims to offer if you add it to your skincare regimen.

1. May Relieve Skin Conditions

A woman with dry hands.
Image: Shutterstock

Salt water from the sea contains various minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, etc., all of which are said to have healing effects on dry skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasisi  A skin condition in which rashes and itchy, scaly patches build up on the affected area, causing bleeding and scabbing. (1).

A review conducted on 1976 participants from eight randomized controlled trials found that 75% or more reduction in the psoriasis severity index score after completing 6 weeks of saltwater bath and artificial ultraviolet B light treatment.

People with dry skin must be careful when using salt water as it can dry out their skin even more. The best way to go about using it on dry skin is to follow it up with a moisturizing cream.

2. May Eliminate Acne

Acne is caused by a bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes (4). The salt in salt water has antimicrobial properties that may help fight this acne-causing bacteria.
Salt water is said to absorb the bacteria present in your skin, unclog your pores, and shrink them. It is also claimed to help detoxify your skin, reduce acne breakouts, and generally keep your dermis healthy.

Bev Muah, a vlogger, shared her experience of using salt water to treat her acne for two weeks. She said, “I realized that my skin was pretty stable and my acne was healing pretty fast compared to normal and also I didn’t get any new acne after I started using sea salt water (i).”

3. May Heal Blemishes

Woman examining her blemishes in the mirror may benefit from salt water.
Image: Shutterstock

Salty water from the sea contains many minerals, including drying agents like sulfur (1). These ocean minerals are commonly used in anti-blemish skin products. If you have acne and blemishes, taking a dip in the sea may be a good idea. A combination of the sun’s rays with salt water may help heal your blemishes. That said, if you decide to take a dip in the sea for your skin health, do not forget to put on a generous amount of sunscreen.

Apart from taking a dip, you can also bring in some seawater home in a bottle. Use it as a cleanser in your existing skin care routine.

4. May Heal Wounds

Salt water from the deep sea (over 200 m of depth) has been found to heal wounds in a research setting (1). However, its application in real life for the same is not well-researched.

5. Acts As A Facial Toner

Dr. Qazi says, “Salt water can tighten the skin. It encourages cellular turnover and helps slough off dead skin. Sea salts, Epsom salts, and Himalayan salts also contain magnesium that can increase cell repair and cellular proliferation or regeneration.”

Salt water is an excellent facial toner. Applying salt water on your skin helps shrink your pores and removes oil from them, giving your skin a refreshing feel.

To use salt water as a facial toner, pour it into a bottle with a spray nozzle. The best time to use your salt water toner is after washing your face and before you apply makeup. This will ensure your skin remains oil-free and fresh throughout the day!

6. May Relieve Blackheads

Dr. Qazi says, “Some compounds in salt, especially Epsom salts, sea salt, and Himalayan salt, break down into their purer elemental states when dissolved in water, particularly magnesium and sulfate ions. When absorbed into the skin with water, it may draw out toxins and impurities from the skin, breaking down sebum and extracting smaller blackheads. For larger blackheads, see a dermatologist for removal to minimize the chances of scarring.”

protip_icon Quick Tip
Anecdotal evidence suggests that sea salt water can also help clear grease from the scalp. It may also help in removing flaky dandruff.

How To Use Salt Water For Skin

Salt is easily found in all households, and salt water is easy to prepare. Here are some ways you can use salt water to enjoy skin benefits:

1. Anti-Inflammatory Mask

If you want to reduce the redness and irritation on your face, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Mix a teaspoon of sea salt, a few spoons of water, and some honey to create a paste.
  2. Apply this all over your face.
  3. Leave it on for around 10 minutes.
  4. Wash off the paste using warm water and pat your face dry.

Dr. Qazi adds, “Leave salt water on the face for no longer than 10 minutes. Any longer, and the salt may irritate the skin rather than help it. Salt water should be used in moderation until the skin becomes accustomed to it. Start by using it once a week and increase the number of times once the skin grows accustomed to it.”

2. Exfoliating Scrub

Applying salt scrub on face
Image: Shutterstock

Salt and salt water are both excellent exfoliators that help remove dead skin cells from the skin’s surface. Salt water from the sea contains minerals that restore your skin’s hydration levels. You can make salt water at home or use salt water from the sea to prepare this scrub:

Mix a quarter cup of salt and some water or use a cup of seawater.

  1. Add half a cup of olive or coconut oil to the salt water. You can also add a few drops of your favorite essential oils.
  2. Apply this solution to your skin and scrub gently in a circular motion.
  3. Wash your face with cool or lukewarm water.

3. Comforting Salt Bath

Salt water bath
Image: Shutterstock

Using salt water to take a bath is comforting. Salt water removes excess oil from the skin, dirt, toxins, and dead skin cells from all over the body. Taking a salt water bath can help you feel refreshed and rejuvenated after a tiring day. Just add 2-3 cups of sea salt to a bathtub of water and step in for a relaxing experience.

4. Facial Toner

Toner is an integral part of your daily skin routine. The main goal of the toner is to remove any excess oil from the skin, unclog the pores, and tighten them. You can prepare your own salt water-based facial toner at home:

  1. Mix one tablespoon of sea salt in one cup of warm water.
  2. Add a pinch of Epsom salt and dissolve both the salts.
  3. Pour this solution into a bottle with a nozzle spray.

Spray this toner on your face before applying makeup. Wipe the excess away with a clean cotton pad.

5. De-Puffer For Eyes

Your eyes can speak volumes about your mood and health. Unfortunately, puffy eyes and dark circles can add to your existing skin woes. Salt water is claimed to de-puff your eyes with its anti-inflammatory properties.

  1. Add one teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water. Mix the solution till the salt dissolves.
  2. Soak two cotton balls in this solution and lay them on your eyes for a few minutes. This is sure to soothe your eyes and reduce the inflammation around them.

protip_icon Quick Tip
You can make a body scrub for rejuvenated skin. Mix ½ cup salt, ¼ cup water, ¼ cup aloe vera gel, 1 tbsp dried lavender and 10 drops of lavender essential oil into a paste. Use it in your next home spa session.

Wondering if there are any side effects of using salt water on the skin? Find out in the next section.

Are There Any Side Effects Of Salt Water On Skin?

Salt and salt water kept on a table
Image: Shutterstock

As with any other substance, using salt water on the skin has some adverse effects. Though salt water is beneficial for those with dry skin, it can also dry out the skin further. Therefore, it is important that they follow it up with a hydrating product to prevent the skin from drying out excessively.

If you wish to take a dip in the sea for its skin benefits, it is essential to use sunscreen to prevent sunburn.

Salt water can be very abrasive on your skin. Therefore, make sure you wash it off thoroughly and always use a moisturizer after swimming in the sea or taking a salt water bath.

Infographic: Things To Keep In Mind While Using Salt Water

The many benefits of salt water application on the skin might tempt you to try it more frequently. However, there are certain things you need to be aware of before including salt water in your wellness regimen. Check out the infographic below to know the details.

things to keep in mind while using salt water (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Salt water offers multiple health benefits for not just your body but your skin as well. Anecdotal evidence suggests that regularly using saltwater for your skin may reduce acne breakouts and heal wounds, blemishes, and a host of skin conditions like eczema. It may also aid skin hydration and assist in gentle exfoliation. Salt water is easy to prepare at home and can be used as a toner, anti-inflammatory mask, or exfoliating scrub as per your needs. It can easily be incorporated in various natural remedies to combat common skin woes. Do remember to moisturize properly after using saltwater every time to avoid dryness and reap the benefits of using saltwater.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use salt water on my face daily?

You may use salt water on your face daily. However, it may have an abrasive effect so take care to rinse the skin thoroughly afterwards. In addition, salt water may dry out dry skin even further, so those with naturally dry skin should use it with caution and less frequently.

Does salt water brighten skin?

Salt may act as an exfoliant and help clear skin of dead cells, dirt and buildup. Hence it may help make the skin appear brighter and more radiant.

Can salt water darken skin?

No, it is not true that salt water darkens the skin. On the contrary, It exfoliates and helps brighten the skin.

How does salt water affect the pH balance of the skin?

Salt water can change the pH balance of your skin. While salt water minerals can help soothe skin irritation and acne, it can make dry skin worse. The skin’s pH is naturally acidic, with a range of 4.5 to 5.5, and using skincare products that are too alkaline can make your skin dry, irritated, and more prone to breakouts.

Can salt water help with skin aging or sun damage?

No, it is not proven to be effective in treating skin aging or sun damage. There is little scientific research to support claims that salt water can help soothe the redness or irritation caused by prolonged sun exposure.

Is it safe to use salt water on sensitive areas of the skin, such as around the eyes or mouth?

No, if you have sensitive skin, you should be cautious when using salt water on your face, as it can be especially harsh on the delicate skin around the eyes and mouth, leading to cuts. It’s important to know that using too much salt can lead to dryness and irritation. So if you decide to use salt water on your skin, it is recommended you start with smaller amounts, apply with care, and moisturize your skin with a skin type-friendly product.

Key Takeaways

  • Saltwater is rich in essential minerals and has healing properties, making it an effective ingredient in many skin care products.
  • Saltwater may relieve skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis and eliminate acne.
  • You can use salt water as an exfoliating scrub, anti-inflammatory mask, or facial toner.

Watch the following video to learn how to incorporate a salt water wash into your daily skincare routine to keep your skin looking and feeling great!

Personal Experience: Source

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Potential Health Benefits of Deep Sea Water: A Review
    https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2016/6520475/
  2. The use of balneotherapy in dermatology
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29908578/
  3. Benefits of Thalassotherapy with Sleep Management on the Mood States and Well-being and Cognitive and Physical Capacities in Healthy Workers
    https://www.longdom.org/open-access/benefits-of-thalassotherapy-with-sleep-management-on-mood-states-and-wellbeing-and-cognitive-and-physical-capacities-in-healthy-wo-2167-0277-1000297.pdf
  4. Propionibacterium Acnes And Chronic Diseases
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK83685/
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Dr. Rinky Kapoor

Dr. Rinky KapoorMBBS, DDV, MD

Dr. Rinky Kapoor is the co-founder and director of The Esthetic Clinics and has 12 years of experience as a cosmetic dermatologist. She is also the co-founder of a patented FDA approved hair rejuvenating therapy - QR678 Neo. She is fellowship trained in Cosmetic Dermatology, Dermatosurgery, and Dermatologic Lasers from National Skin Center, Singapore, and is a visiting fellow at...read full bio

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