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You're not going to find any official study or test results that prove conclusively that saltwater gets rid of acne. But, that doesn't mean it can't help you. Whether or not saltwater can clear up your complexion depends on your personal acne situation and the sensitivity of your skin. And it doesn't replace seeing a dermatologist to talk about acne problems. However, for normal skin, saltwater has properties that have the ability to help with skin blemishes.
Why It Can Help
Saltwater isn't a magic cure-all that zaps zits away. However, it has cleansing properties that help to get rid of dirt and oil. It's antibacterial and antimicrobial. Sure, there are endless products on store shelves that cleanse your skin, but they're expensive and not all-natural like saltwater. Salt heals wounds faster too. If you have any open sores or lesions on your skin from broken acne, a little bit of saltwater will sting, but will close them up faster than if you didn't use any salt on them at all. Sea salt has large grains that help exfoliate your skin, which is just another way it helps to clean out pores. Dead skin leaves skin feeling dry and flaky and leads to nasty, clogged-up pores.
Saltwater doesn't work for everybody. In fact if you have dry or oily skin, you should skip using it. It can make any acne you have worse. It can also leave a film on your skin that prevents soaps from getting in to clean out your pores. Your best bet, if you have normal skin, is to give saltwater a try and see if it improves your skin after a few weeks.
One of the simplest ways to use saltwater on your skin is to add salt to a pot of boiling water. The hot water absorbs the salt and dissolves it all the way through. You can use table salt, but sea salt is better; it has more minerals. After your saltwater has been thoroughly cooled, use it instead of tap water to clean your face daily with your normal cleanser. It adds a little extra fighting power for skin cleansing and softness.
Combine sea salt with olive oil -- about a teaspoon for every few tablespoons of oil -- and apply the mixture to your face. Gently massage it on to get the exfoliating benefits of the salt. Then sit back and relax. Let the mixture rest on your face for about 10 minutes and rinse off with warm, followed by cool, water.