How to Treat Acne With Salt

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Seawater helps skin retain moisture and can fight acne-producing bacteria.
Seawater helps skin retain moisture and can fight acne-producing bacteria. (Image: TopPhotoImages/iStock/Getty Images)

Battle dry, irritated skin and banish your acne breakouts with a natural moisturizer and antiseptic from the sea -- salt! That salt shaker isn't just for your dinner table -- like many other common kitchen ingredients, sea salt is an effective skincare tool, too. Commercial face creams may boast the mineral-rich powers of sodium hyaluron, a water-sealing salt, but you can get the same effect with your own sea salt water treatments.

Unclog Pores

Harsh scrubs may aggravate your acne, but you still need to exfoliate regularly to keep pores from filling with debris: Gently work a handful of sea salt into wet skin, or mix 1/4 cup of salt into 1/2 cup of olive or almond oil to make a much more soothing paste. For extra healing and hydration, add a few drops of aloe vera or your favorite essential oils. * If you just need a facial exfoliant and don't want to waste ingredients, mix together only 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of oil.

Soothe Irritation

The hot, blotchy skin that can appear with healing acne or an acne breakout doesn't have to run its course -- instead apply a soothing sea salt mask for 10 minutes to help calm your skin: _Add 2 teaspoons of sea salt to 4 teaspoons of raw honey to make the mask, then spread it over your face in a thick layer._ Steer clear of the eye area to avoid stinging sensations. Remove the mask gently with warm water, working wet fingers into your skin to loosen the honey layer. For body acne -- and a less-drying wash than usual -- make a sea salt soak by adding 1/3 cup of salt to a warm bath.

Fight Oil Production

Cut down on excess facial sheen with a sea salt toner that also helps battle bacteria and balance the production of oil: Fill a plastic bottle -- or even a spray bottle -- with 4 ounces of warm water and 1 teaspoon of sea salt, then shake it to mix. Dab the mixture against your acne-prone areas with a cotton ball or spritz your face with a spray bottle twice daily. If you don't have any plastic bottles, you can also tone your skin by mixing 1/2 cup of sea salt into a bowl of warm water. * Splash or pat the water directly onto your face.

Approach With Caution

Not everyone responds well to sea salt skin treatments. Despite mineral salt's reputation as a moisture-protectant salt, those with naturally dry skin may find that it makes the condition worse. Moreover, if your skin is easily irritated by other skin treatments, or swimming in seawater already aggravates it, do not apply any sea salt products.

Sea salt washes and toners will be extremely painful if applied over sunburns or open wounds, or if you accidentally get any in your eyes.

Avoid washing with salt too often, as salt buildup on your skin will prevent soap from penetrating.

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