Learn how Epsom and sea salt can be used as natural acne remedies.


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Treating Acne with Epsom Salt & Sea Salt

Soaking your skin in an Epsom salt bath is a great way to combat body acne


Salt has quite a few uses as an acne home remedy, including dissolving it for a relaxing bath, using it as a steam treatment, or mixing it with other ingredients to form a scrub. However, for best results, plain old table salt won't do. The added nutrients in natural salts such as Epsom and sea salt make a powerful difference.


Why should you try Epsom salt?


Besides being widely available for cheap and quick to dissolve, Epsom salt's chemical makeup makes it an ideal treatment for acne blemishes.


Epsom salt, or magnesium sulfate, is a naturally occurring mineral compound that is named for the city where it was first distilled in Epsom, England. Unlike ordinary table salt (sodium chloride), Epsom salt contains sulfur and magnesium, both of which are powerful agents for soothing and detoxifying your skin. Its beneficial properties have made it a leading ingredient for use in mineral baths, as well some topical gels and creams.


As you may know if you've read my minerals for acne guide, magnesium is especially helpful for absorbing and activating key vitamins and enzymes, as well as regulating insulin levels that can effect your body's production of sebum. One of the most abundant and essential minerals in your body, it also aids in expelling toxins from your skin cells. Sulfur, another component of Epsom salt, is an antibacterial agent that promotes exfoliation and helps reduce redness and swelling.

When dissolved in warm water, Epsom salt's ingredients will penetrate quickly into your skin, cleansing you from within while working to unclog your pores, shed dead skin cells and soothe the inflammation caused by acne pustules or cysts. This remedy is also known to be useful for relieving itchiness, sores, blisters, muscle aches and even joint pain.


Making an Epsom salt bath (or poultice)


Epsom salt is very affordable and available at most drugstores, department stores and grocery outlets. Draw some warm water for a bath, then pour in 2 cups of Epsom salt and wait for it to dissolve. Climb in and relax for at least 15-20 minutes before drying off. It's that easy. Many see a dramatic reduction in back acne just from doing this several times per week.


If you don't have time to draw a bath, or only need to treat your face, you can also use it as a poultice. Mix 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt with 1 cup of warm water, let it dissolve, and then apply it to your face using a cloth. Simply recline back for 15 minutes and let the wet compress do its work. Epsom salt is gentle enough for everyday use, though you should take care to keep strong concentrations away from your eyes.


If you have sensitive skin, another tip is to add vitamin C crystals to your bath or poultice. Vitamin C neutralizes the chlorine and chloramines in the water, which may otherwise cause irritation and damage to your skin. Add 1 tablespoon to a bath or just a fraction of that to your poultice mixture.  


What about sea salt (or Dead Sea salt)?


Sea salt is formed from evaporated ocean water, and is mostly sodium chloride. However, unlike refined table salt, it also contains a wide variety of additional minerals. Sodium chloride itself can have beneficial effects upon your skin (such a stimulating exfoliation), but it's those additional minerals, such as calcium and iodine, that are more prized for aiding acne sufferers via nourishing the skin tissue and fighting bacteria. Sea salts may actually contain Epsom salt within them.


Dead Sea salt, as its name implies, is simply salt from the Dead Sea. Due to the unique mineral composition of its water, Dead Sea salt is especially prized for use in bath and body products. Compared with common sea salts, which average 97% sodium chloride, Dead Sea salt is only 12-18% sodium chloride, and contains much higher concentrations of other minerals. High levels of bromide and magnesium make it especially helpful for cleansing and detoxifying the skin.


So which type of salt is best for treating your acne? It's somewhat of a tradeoff, since sea salts contain some helpful minerals which are not present in Epsom salt, but in most cases I'd still recommend Epsom above the alternatives. While those additional minerals have their benefits (particularly in the case of Dead Sea salt), they're likely to have less of an impact on your skin due to being present in weaker quantities.


Just as with acne vitamin products, more ingredients is not always better. The concentrated magnesium and sulfur provided by Epsom salt is preferable to a smaller, less effectual dose of everything. That said, it's not a bad idea to consider combining them, such as using 1 cup of Epsom and 1 cup of Dead Sea salt for your bath.


Other salt for acne remedies


You don't have to draw a bath or make a poultice to put natural salts to work. You can also try:


Steaming - After washing your face, boil some water and pour it into a bowl with 1/2 cup of salt. Drape a towel over your head and the bowl to trap the steam, and hold your face about 4 inches above the water for 15-20 minutes before rinsing off.


Scrub - Mix salt into your favorite cleansing cream to form a paste (or a try a mixture of honey or clay). Besides the benefits provided by the minerals, the salt's rough texture will also help exfoliate your skin as you gently massage it into your face.


Bowel Cleanser - Epsom salt is a natural laxative. Stir 1 tablespoon into a cup of warm water and drink it (preferably not before going out). This will help flush out any unwanted toxins that may have been building up in your digestive tract.


However you use it, give salt a try. I've found it's particularly helpful for hard-to-reach body acne. It won't prevent new breakouts the way that a smart diet and supplements like Clear5 can do, but it's definitely better than most body acne sprays sold by the major manufacturers.


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