Can Sea Salt Help Treat Acne? We Investigate

There are plenty of TikTok skincare hacks that have gone viral, but the most recent social media craze nearly brought the internet down. When a TikTok user used a DIY sea salt spray to reportedly clear up her acne earlier this year, her video quickly accumulated over 4 million views.

What Is Sea Salt?

Simply explained, it’s ocean salt, which contains naturally occurring minerals like sodium, magnesium, calcium, and potassium, as Chang explains. It’s used in seasoning, cooking, and preserving food (obviously), but it’s also present in bath and cosmetics products. This isn’t to be confused with iodized or table salt.

Benefits of Sea Salt for Skin

Let’s start with a major, vital cautionary note. According to Chang, “there is scant evidence in the scientific literature about the benefits of sea salt.” “There have also been no trials on its efficacy in treating acne.”

It is a natural physical exfoliant

There’s a reason there are so many salt scrubs. According to Gohara, its exfoliative characteristics make it good for those with psoriasis. Chang cites a tiny research published in the International Journal of Dermatology that revealed that swimming in a magnesium-rich Dead Sea salt solution helped eczema patients’ skin roughness, redness, and even moisture.

It can help absorb excess oil

This, together with potential anti-inflammatory and antibacterial benefits, according to Gohara, is why it could theoretically be good for acne-prone skin. “The salt absorbs excess oil,” she explains, “which is often a problem because sebum is an acne precursor.” She does, however, refute the widely circulated online misconception that sea salt is also excellent for acne because it “balances the pH of your skin.” She continues, “It has an alkaline-basic pH of around 8.”

How to Make Use of It

For starters, forget about the do-it-yourself project. “I would avoid any kind of DIY skincare concoctions in favour of ready-made products with added calming components in the composition,” Gohara advises. If you want to check if all those skin-clearing tales are true, she recommends applying a sea salt–infused face mist once a day, rather than using sea salt as an exfoliator and scrubbing your acne away. It’s also worth noting that this is only helpful if you have oily skin and/or only have a few spots; inflammatory or cystic acne, according to Gohara, requires far more comprehensive therapy.

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