Willow Sidhe is a nature enthusiast with over a decade of experience creating natural health and beauty products for herself and her family.
The Dead Sea contains so much salt, no living creature can survive within it. This sea is unique, as its water contains 27 percent salt compared to the 3 percent found in other seas. The sea's salt is also different from other sea salt. Only about 10 to 15 percent is made up of sodium chloride, while normal sea salt contains about 80 percent sodium chloride. The components of salt from the Dead Sea include magnesium, calcium, potassium, bromines and chloride.
The Benefits of Dead Sea Salt for Skin
Although the sea itself may be unwelcoming, its salts have been harvested and used for thousands of years. Over 2,000 years ago, the Roman Historian Flavius wrote that Dead Sea salt “heals the human body and is therefore used in many medicines.” Often referred to as a “salt glow,” a salt scrub stimulates the skin, muscles and nerves, cleanses the pores and improves the texture of dull, bumpy and tired skin. Extensive scientific research has been performed to prove the efficacy of Dead Sea salt for treating skin problems such as dry skin and psoriasis.
A study published in the International Journal of Dermatology in 2005 found that bathing in the water from the Dead Sea improved the function of the skin barrier, reduced roughness and redness of the skin, and enhanced skin hydration. Participants in the study suffered from atopic dry skin and after bathing in a solution made of 5 percent dead sea salt for 15 minutes a day for six weeks, experienced significant improvement. Researchers believe the healing benefits of Dead Sea salt for the skin are directly related to its high magnesium content.
Another study, published in a 2008 edition of the International Journal of Dermatology, examined 50 patients between the ages of 14 and 77, all of whom suffered from psoriasis. The patients were given 3 to 4 baths made with Dead Sea Salts per week for four weeks. After this period, 70 percent of the patients were completely cleared. Gender, skin type, psychological state nor family history affected the rate of success. Numerous other studies confirm these results. Even The National Psoriasis Foundation recommends the use of Dead Sea salt for the treatment of psoriasis.
In addition to treating dry skin and psoriasis, natural health practitioners recommend the use of Dead Sea salt for a variety of other skin ailments. Although scientific research is lacking, there exists strong anecdotal evidence that suggests the salt is effective in treating acne, wrinkles and even sun damage. A dead sea salt scrub will benefit just about every skin type and skin disorder, even if its just indirectly. By cleansing the pores, reducing inflammation and increasing circulation, its almost impossible not to experience improved skin with regular use.
How to Make a Dead Sea Salt Scrub
Making a dead sea salt scrub is relatively easy and inexpensive, and you can use ingredients probably already on hand. If you don't live in an area where Dead Sea salt is readily available, you may have to order online. I recommend buying in bulk, as you can get 20 pounds for around $25. I use these treatments only occasionally, so this lasts almost all year for me. If you were treating psoriasis, however, you may need to buy more frequently.
Both of these recipes can be used on face or body, though I prefer to use fewer ingredients when making a face scrub. When I'm applying a dead sea salt body scrub, however, I like to prepare an elaborate mixture. You can even use these recipes as a basis for your own. As long as your skin is being exposed to the salts, you'll experience a benefit with regular use.
Dead Sea Salt Body Scrub
Use after rinsing the body with tepid water to open the pores.
- ¼ cup dead sea salt
- ¼ cup ground oats
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, warmed
- 10 drops essential oil (see suggestions below), optional
- Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl.
- To use, apply the scrub over the entire body using circular motions with your fingertips or a loofah sponge.
- Follow with a shower and an application of moisturizing lotion for the best results.
Dead Sea Salt Face Scrub
Use after splashing the face with tepid water to open the pores.
- ¼ cup dead sea salt
- Vegetable glycerin
- 5 drops essential oil (see suggestions below), optional
- Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl.
- To use, apply the scrub to the entire face using circular motions with your fingertips. Rinse clean.
- Follow with a gentle facial cleanser and moisturizer for the best results.
Essential Oils for Use with Dead Sea Salt Scrubs
When making your own dead sea salt scrub for body or face, you can use essential oils to further improve your skin and add a pleasing fragrance. This is optional, but if you do want to use them, choose oils that compliment your skin type.
- Dry Skin – These oils balance the production of skin oil, reduce puffiness and encourage new cell growth. Lavender, jasmine, peppermint, geranium, neroli, rosemary, chamomile, sandalwood, frankincense, rosewood.
- Aging Skin – These oils nourish and moisturize aging skin. Lavender, neroli, geranium, rose, rosemary.
- Problem Skin – These oils are antiseptic and slightly drying, which benefits problem skin. Do not use on dry skin, however. Sage, clary sage, juniper, tea tree, eucalyptus.
- Oily Skin – These oils normalize overactive oil glands and slow oil production. Lemongrass, ylang-ylang, eucalyptus, cedarwood, basil, cypress, spike lavender.
- Normal Skin – These oils are suitable for use on normal, healthy skin. Lavender, bergamot, geranium, rosewood and cedarwood.
Purchasing a Dead Sea Salt Scrub
If making your own scrub doesn't appeal, you can always purchase a pre-made product and use according to the manufacturer's instructions. It's important that you choose the right brand, however, as all of the products on the market are not created equal. You want to make sure you get the most benefit for your money, so choose wisely. Listed below are a few of the best dead sea salt scrubs on the market. I've personally used all of them and I can attest to their quality, though I highly recommend making your own if possible. It costs less and yields the same (if not better) results.
Seacret Dead Sea Salt Scrub – This product works great for softening the skin, though I wouldn't use it as a body scrub. Instead, it works best for the face and hands, and perhaps the feet, though I've never used it this way. I have used it on my hands and it almost completely removed the callus I developed from using my garden spade. I've only tried the lemongrass scent, but I'm sure all of this company's products work equally well.
SeaOra Dead Sea Salt Scrubs – This company makes several different scrubs with different additives and ingredients (peach, vanilla, coconut, etc). They're all extremely high quality and perform their job well. My favorite is the Dead Sea Salt and Lavender Oil. It smells wonderful (but not too strong or overpowering) and leaves the skin feeling soft and hydrated.
Deep Sea Cosmetics Dead See Body Salt Scrub – The scrubs made by Deep Sea Cosmetics have worked well for me as body scrubs. The company makes several different products, but I like the Green Tea best. It's very invigorating and leaves your skin feeling refreshed and cleansed. I like to use it during the summer, particularly after a long (or hot) day.
Tips for Using a Dead Sea Salt Scrub
- Because of its abrasive nature, a salt scrub is best used for exfoliation, cleansing and stimulation, but not too often.
- If you have dry skin, using a body scrub two or three times per week is best, but you probably only need a treatment once per week for normal or oily skin. Use a facial scrub up to once per day if you like.
- Salt can be drying on the skin, and is best used with an emollient such as glycerin or coconut oil. Never use on broken or irritated skin, or you may experience a burning sensation (like pouring salt on a wound).
- Avoid using just after shaving. For the best results, use on a day you don't plan to shave, or shave afterward.
The Benefits of Scrubbing with Dead Sea Salt
In this video, Dr. Stephen H. Mandy, M.D explains the benefits of using Dead Sea Salt scrubs to treat skin problems such as psoriasis.
Melissa Reese Etheridge from Tennessee, United States on January 22, 2015:
Thank you for such an informative article. I'm going to make my own salt scrub soon.
Meganne on December 17, 2010:
Hello, we're french students and we want to know if a scientist can help us for our essai about salts and muds of the Dead Sea. Hope an answer by someone, thank you,
Méganne, Adeline & Nelly