Avoiding salt is a no-brainer to minimize bloating when it comes to diet season, but for all intents and purposes, salt is still a mainstay in our beauty routines. Salt water in particular, whether it’s straight from the sea or concocted at home by mixing sea or Epsom salts with water, has countless uses beyond fostering sea life. From soothing eczema to giving us smooth, silky skin, salt water is an all-natural powerhouse that may even make some of your store-bought products obsolete. Don’t believe us? Test the waters for yourself.
It treats a wide variety of skin conditions.
Sea salt is packed with healthy skin-friendly minerals like magnesium, calcium, and potassium, which is exactly what makes it so beneficial to various skin conditions. It absorbs the toxins in the body and on the skin, including acne-causing bacteria, and works to treat infections and encourage the healing process. Salt’s natural moisture-reducing abilities can also help to regulate the overproduction of oil that leads to clogged pores. Eczema sufferers also find great success with salt water, particularly Epsom salt: Magnesium is an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial mineral that not only eases itching, but also draws the moisture from eczema-causing bacteria and fungi to hinder its development.
You can use it as mouthwash.
Because sea salt wards off bacteria, it helps to cleanse the gums and minimize bad breath, which makes it a great—and totally natural—ingredient for a DIY mouthwash. It even fights the bacteria that can be responsible for undesirable oral conditions like gingivitis and halitosis, and soothes pain and irritation from canker sores. Just combine sea salt with warm water in a glass and swish the mixture around your mouth for 30-60 seconds as you would with any mouthwash. If you like the fresh minty feeling that traditional mouthwash imparts, add a drop of peppermint extract to your DIY formula.
It acts as a gentle exfoliant.
The exfoliating powers of salt aren’t just limited to its scrubby physical properties: The minerals in the salt itself help to open pores for deeper cleansing, as well as encourage blood flow, and the purifying benefits better enable your skin to absorb moisturizer and other treatments. If you have particularly sensitive skin, salt scrubs are best used on the body rather than the face, where the thinner skin is more easily aggravated.
It relieves sore muscles.
Epsom salts have long been heralded as a natural, affordable, effective way to alleviate aches and pains, thanks to the magnesium that becomes absorbed through the skin as you soak in an Epsom salt bath. As a mineral, magnesium helps the body’s systems to regulate and balance, particularly as it relates to muscle and nerve function. Adding eucalyptus or lavender oil to your Epsom bath can turn your soothing soak into a positively spa-like experience that won’t break the bank. Dr. Teal’s Epsom Salt-Soaking Solution is an inexpensive, easily accessible option that really gets the job done. For a more luxurious choice, try AHAVA Eucalyptus Bath Salt, with 100% natural Dead Sea salts.
It’s the gold standard for beach waves.
A dip in the ocean gives hair the covetable wavy, ropey quality that we’re always trying to recreate through inorganic means, with products and curling wands and beyond. While nothing quite beats a genuine swim when it comes to scoring those beachy waves, sprays containing magnesium sulfate are key for attaining the next best thing. You can even make your own for just a few dollars by combining magnesium sulfate with water and your favorite hair oil, like coconut or argan.
Read more from Daily Makeover: 7 Ways Consuming Too Much Salt Affects Your Body