Darla wants to know… I read that products using Dead Sea salts are good for your skin. Should I be using a Dead Sea Salt scrub instead of my wrinkle cream? Is there any truth to this at all?
The Right Brain responds:
The Dead Sea is the second saltiest body of water on Earth and its salts have been reputed to have healing properties since Biblical times. Can this be true? Is Dead Sea salt better than “regular” salt? Yes it is, at least according to a study conducted at the University of Negev, Israel. The Journal of the European Adcademy of Dermatology and Venereology, published a paper (9 (1997) 237-242, Dead Sea Bath Salt for the treatment of psoriasis vulgaris) by authors Halevy, et. al, that attempted to answer this very question.
The researchers treated 30 patients with psoriasis vulgaris, a condition involving rapidly dividing, overactive cells that causes patchy, scaley skin. The patients were first evaluated using the Psoriasis Area and Serverity Index (PASI), a scale that indicates the intensity of the condition.
The patients were then divided into two groups: The control group were treated with common salt and the test group were treated with a Dead Sea salt mixture. The treatment for both groups involved soaking in warm, salty bath water for 20 minutes each day for a period of 3 weeks. At the end of the treatment, patients were assessed using the PSAI scale again.
The results showed that both types of salt water baths significantly reduced the extent and the severity of the psoriasis. However, the Dead Sea salt soak reduced the psoriasis a bit more. (However, the researchers point out that not all measurements reached a statistically valid level.) Still, this is pretty good evidence that the Dead Sea salt mixture is better at reducing the effects of psoriasis. Why is this the case? No one knows for sure, but it apparently is related to proportion of magnesium, bromide and other counter ions contained in Dead Sea salt.
Soaking in salt water does benefit certain dry skin conditions, such as psoriasis. While even ordinary salt is helpful in this regard, Dead Sea Salts may offer some additional level of benefit. But that doesn’t mean a product containing Dead Sea salts will help other skin problems, like wrinkles.