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When it comes to acne, there’s no shortage of natural cures. Ask almost anyone, and they’ll likely offer up at least one homespun antidote that promises to improve your complexion. Both Dead Sea salt and Epsom salt are often among these options. But if you’re like most people, you have to wonder whether either can do much to truly leave your skin looking flawless.
Dead Sea Salt
Of these two salts, Dead Sea salt holds the most promise for controlling acne. Dead Sea salt contains both sulfur and zinc. Sulfur -- a common ingredient in acne creams -- promotes peeling as well as drying of excess oil. The peeling helps to remove dead skin cells, while the drying of excess oil keeps dead skin cells from sticking together and further clogging your pores. Zinc, on the other hand, encourages wound healing and lessens swelling, which could "help improve acne," notes Brent Bauer, an internist writing for MayoClinic.com.
Epsom salt isn’t as likely to improve your complexion. It may go a long way to exfoliate the skin and even cleanse the pores, which could help to prevent a breakout, but the magnesium and sulfate in these crystals aren’t known to treat blemishes once they’ve cropped up on your face -- or any other part of your body, for that matter. In fact, the crystals themselves could worsen your complexion.
Facial scrubs aren’t usually recommended during a breakout. The reason? Micro-particles in scrubs cause a great deal of friction to the skin, helping with exfoliation but also promoting irritation. Irritation to any area of your skin with acne can aggravate active lesions, potentially making your breakout much worse. Adding Epsom salt to a cleanser or even rubbing the crystals directly onto the skin acts like a scrub, so you could be doing more harm than good. The same can also be said for Dead Sea salt if it isn’t dissolved prior to application.
Although you might see some improvement in your complexion with Dead Sea salt, you’re often better off sticking with standard treatment options for breakouts. Over-the-counter acne creams, especially those containing benzoyl peroxide, can work wonders on blemishes. Benzoyl peroxide not only dries excess oil and sloughs dead skin, but it’s also known to kill the bacteria causing the actual pimples. Besides benzoyl peroxide, you may see improvements when using acne creams made with salicylic acid as well.