Is Saltwater Good for Acne? It Depends

Is Saltwater Good for Acne? It Depends

Liudmila Busch

Have you ever noticed your skin looks better after a day playing in the ocean? You’re not sea-ing things; saltwater does have some potential benefits for acne!

But unfortunately, it’s not as simple as heading to the beach to cure your breakouts. Learn all about how saltwater affects your skin below.

Is Saltwater Good for Acne?

Yes and no. 

Let’s start by exploring the reasons that you  may  see some improvement in your skin when you’ve been swimming in saltwater. 

Saltwater can help to exfoliate your skin. Sloughing away dead skin cells can reveal a smoother complexion and help to reduce the pore clogging that contributes to breakouts. 

Saltwater can help to get the gunk out of your pores. Salt has the potential to draw out oil, which means any sebum that’s stuck deep in your pores may finally find its way out of your skin. 

Saltwater can help deflate pimples. Because salt has a drying effect, it can help to get some of the oil out of your skin and deflate particularly aggressive pimples. 

Playing in the ocean reduces stress. Just like any active/outdoor activity, playing in the ocean is a great stress reliever. And while stress doesn’t cause acne, it can exacerbate other factors that do cause acne. So we recommend combatting stress as often as possible! 

The Bad News

Unfortunately, there are just as many reasons  not  to try and use saltwater to cure your acne. Here are a few: 

Most studies only look at magnesium-rich saltwater found in The Dead Sea. While there have been some studies confirming the efficacy of saltwater for skin health, the majority of them examined the effect of saltwater specifically from The Dead Sea. The Dead Sea is uniquely rich in healing magnesium, unlike the water at your local beach. So you’re not likely to see the same positive effects when you take a swim. This is doubly true if you’re trying to mix up a saltwater solution at home. 

Saltwater won’t heal underlying issues. The reality is that while saltwater may dry out your existing pimples, it’s not likely to stop new ones from popping up. You’ll need to get to the source of whatever is causing your acne, weather that’s a hormonal issue, diet choice, skincare mistake, or something else, to truly see progress. 

Saltwater you mix up at home is not the same as ocean water. Unfortunately, any small benefits you may see from water at the beach will probably be nonexistent in a saltwater solution you mix up at home. (This is because the concentration, mineralization and composition of the two solutions will be different.) 

While saltwater is antimicrobial, it’s not strong enough to kill acne. We wish it weren’t true!

Both saltwater and acneic skin have a similar alkaline pH. So any rumors you’ve heard about saltwater balancing the pH of your skin simply aren’t true. 

Rubbing salt crystals directly onto your skin can damage it. Just in case you thought exfoliating with salt might be a good idea, think again. Salt crystals can damage your skin barrier and cause micro-tears, scarring and more. You’ve been warned! 

Saltwater can dry out your skin too much. While a little saltwater can be helpful for drying out pimples, too much will leave you with a face full of dry skin. Not cute. 

Better-For-You Options Than Saltwater Skincare

As a Florida-born company, we are all about the healing powers of the beach. But for the most part, we have to acknowledge the ocean is a balm for your spirit, not your skin. 

It’s important to choose skincare that’s gentle and actually effective for your skin, especially when you’re battling acne, and saltwater simply isn’t that. 

However, if you’d still like to opt for something all natural, you’re in luck. Our 100% natural, botanical-rich skincare line is sourced straight from nature, and proven to fight inflammation and acne without damaging skin. Get started with our  4-Step System  today. 

Mila Founder of Wild Ice Botanicals

Mila (pronounced 'mee-luh') is the founder of Wild Ice Botanicals, a clean & natural skincare company dedicated to using cold preservation to deliver fresh products free of chemical preservatives so that women of all ages and skin types can confidently look their natural best.