Author Isak Dinesen once wrote, "The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea." It is hard to deny the healing benefits of endorphins produced during a hard workout, or the emotional release of a good cry. But what about benefits from the sea?
When you were a kid, your mother may have sent you into the ocean to soothe mosquito bites or soak a skinned knee. Sea salt is even used in natural personal care products. Is it just an old wives' tale, or is ocean water good for your skin?
Differences between Tap Water, Ocean Water, and Salt Water
Tap water from your bathroom faucet is very different from water you find in the ocean. Depending on your municipality, tap water generally contains fluoride, chlorine, and other additives. Tap water also contains much less salt. According to the National Ocean Service, the concentration of salt in seawater is about 35 parts per thousand. In other words, salt constitutes about 3.5 percent of the weight of all ocean water. That makes it pretty salty!
Beyond salt, ocean water contains over forty other naturally occurring minerals, including potassium, magnesium, calcium, and zinc, according to Stanford University. While it may be tempting to bottle some of this nutrient-rich water from a recent trip to the beach, don't. The salt water used to obtain sea salt for personal care products is purified. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, ocean water can actually contain polluted runoff from rain water and untreated sewage. So it's best to leave soothing sea salt formulations to the experts.
Salt Water Skin Benefits
You may have childhood memories of your mother telling you to wash out a cut in the ocean. In fact, the idiom "don't rub salt in the wound" originates from the ancient practice of using salt to ward off infection. But does salt water actually help the skin heal wounds?
The National Institutes of Health suggests using either a saline solution (salty water) or soapy water to help clean and care for surgical wounds. While that doesn't mean you should wash your cuts in ocean water—remember those contamination possibilities—it suggests that salt water has proven health applications.
A study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that deep seawater—which is ocean water taken from a depth of 200 meters—may help treat skin problems. This water is generally low in temperature, high in purity, and rich with nutrients. Research has concluded it may help reduce skin symptoms such as swelling, redness, dryness, itchiness, and cracking. Deep seawater may also help reduce allergic skin responses in patients suffering from allergic rhinitis, or hay fever.
Other Benefits of Salt Water
You don't have to submerge your body in deep seawater to feel the benefits of salt water. Gargling with salt water can help relieve the pain of a sore throat, explains the Mayo Clinic. The Mayo Clinic also notes that a salt water rinse can help ease the discomfort and promote the healing of canker sores.
It's no wonder some natural personal care companies are incorporating sea salt in oral care products. Made with purified sea salt, Tom's of Maine Sea Salt Mouthwash helps fight bad breath germs and leaves your mouth feeling clean and refreshed. It even won Delicious Living's Beauty & Body award!
Do you use ocean water or salt water in therapeutic ways? Share them with us on Twitter!
Image Sources: Pixabay | Pixabay | Bridget M. Burns
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Why It's Good
When you use natural personal care products, you can feel confident knowing the source of the ingredients. One such ingredient—purified sea salt—has a long history of use and a number of possible health benefits.