[This article originally appeared on The Alternative Daily here.]
Sometimes the best remedies in life are the simplest ones. This is certainly true for an ancient skincare trick known to close pores, balance oil production and rejuvenate the skin. You won’t need fancy skin creams filled with chemicals and preservatives to achieve a youthful glow after this. You can start improving the quality of your skin with only two things: purified water and high-quality salt.
What does salt do to the body?
Rarely do we think about what goes into nature’s most common treasures, like salt. This natural mineral comes straight from the earth, formed into crystals from a combination of sodium and chloride. It is naturally found in seawater, making up at least three percent of our world’s oceans. And when seawater is trapped, the water evaporates and leaves salt crystals behind.
Despite what you may have heard about sodium and your health, a natural source of salt holds vital nutrients that are important in maintaining optimal wellness. First, salt provides key minerals like sulphur, calcium, sodium, magnesium, silicon, boron, potassium, bromine and strontium. With its rich mineral content, salt can help with weight loss, reduce asthma symptoms, improve blood sugar levels and regulate heart health.
However, be aware that not all salts are created equal. Table salt, for example, is highly processed and bleached before it makes its way into that little glass bottle. Unfortunately, during mass production, manufacturers strip it from anything good for your health. The result is a product that has no resemblance to its original form and it can even harm your health. When doctors warn against consuming too much salt, table salt is what they are referring to.
For your skincare routine, and health in general, try using these unprocessed varieties:
Sea salt for skin
Natural sea salt contains the many minerals that our bodies need, like magnesium, calcium, sodium and potassium. All of these play a role in the health of our skin, allowing cells to communicate with each other and heal issues that crop up. When you don’t have enough of a mineral, you’ll see pesky symptoms such as skin dryness, dullness, irritation and blotchiness. Luckily, sea salt can naturally improve hydration and strengthen the outer layer of the skin to keep you looking healthy.
Pink Himalayan salt for skin
Despite the name, there are actually no salt mines in the Himalayan mountain range. The pink salt slabs come from the Khewra Salt Mine in Pakistan, roughly 300 miles west of the Himalayas. As the second largest salt mine in the world, people have been gathering this commodity for more than 2,000 years. Only in the last decade or so has it become popular in Western culture. The salt is comprised of 95 percent sodium chloride. The rest is a mix of polyhalite and other minerals, which give the salt its characteristic pink hue. Because of the lack of processing, it still contains the beneficial minerals that your skin will love.
How salt water can benefit your skin
Since salt water therapy has been used for centuries around the world, including ancient Greece, there is strong anecdotal evidence that it works wonders on the skin. A handful of studies have found that salt water bathing is particularly effective for troublesome skin conditions, like psoriasis.
Salt water is said to benefit your skin in the following eleven ways:
- Closes open pores
- Soaks up excess oil
- Balances oil production
- Kills acne-causing bacteria
- Diminishes scars
- Heals scrapes and cuts
- Exfoliates dead skin cells
- Restores skin’s natural pH
- Improves skin barrier function
- Enhances hydration
- Reduces inflammation
Reduce acne with salt water treatment
If you’re lucky enough to live near the ocean, perhaps you already know this beauty secret. But if you don’t live on the coast, simply whip up some warm salt water the next time you have a breakout. Try mixing one cup of purified water with one tablespoon of sea salt. Use a cotton ball to gently apply salt water to acne and let it dry.
By the way, if you try this treatment and your acne still doesn’t clear up within a day or two, perhaps your diet is the culprit. Make sure to avoid sugar, processed junk, gluten, peanuts, yeast and dairy for awhile to see if your skin clears up. Eat plenty of leafy greens, lean sources of protein and healthy fats like coconut oil and avocados — your skin and waistline will thank you.
Heal scrapes with a salt water bath
If you’ve ever heard the expression “throwing salt on a wound” then chances are you’re not too keen on putting salt water anywhere near your scrapes. However, this treatment may prove beneficial for killing off harmful bacteria and speeding up the healing process. Research shows that bathing in magnesium-rich Dead Sea salt improves skin barrier function, enhances skin hydration and reduces inflammation of the skin, which are all things you’ll need if you’ve got a cut or scrape.
Fill your bathtub with warm water and pour in one cup of sea salt. Take the experience to the next level by adding in 10 drops of lavender essential oil. The scent will promote a deep sense of relaxation — you may even feel like you’re in a spa!
Drink salt water to heal from the inside out
The nice thing about salt water is that there are more than a few ways to use it. A glass of warm salt water, called “Sole,” is a great way to start your day and promote healing internally. Provided that you use a natural form of salt (and avoid drinking sea water), it’ll promote hydration, aid digestion, reduce inflammation, improve your sleep, detoxify your cells, improve your bone health and more.
- Unrefined natural salt
- Filtered water
- Quart-size mason jar with plastic (not metal) storage cap
- Fill mason jar one-third full with unrefined, natural salt.
- Fill the jar with filtered water, leaving two inches at the top.
- Cover the solution with storage cap.
- Shake and let it sit for 24 hours.
- Check in 24 hours to see if all salt crystals are dissolved, then add a little more salt.
- When the salt no longer dissolves, the Sole is ready.
- Store covered on a counter or in a cupboard. The antibacterial and antifungal properties of the Sole will help make it last indefinitely. Enjoy!
— Hilary Lebow