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Is salt water good for your skin? [Spring water vs Seawater]

This post will dig deeper into the question of whether or not salt water is good for your skin. What kinds to choose between (benefits of spring water compared to sea water). And my personal experience of using salt water on my super sensitive skin.

There are many claims out there, saying that both thermal spring water and seawater are beneficial for the skin. And there are a number of studies that indicate that certain mineral-rich waters can reduce inflammation and help with hydration. Let’s dig into this!

This is what I’ll cover:

  • What is salt water, and how is it used in skincare?
  • Thermal spring water benefits for skin
  • Ocean seawater benefits for skin
  • My personal skin experience of salt water 
  • Summary – is salt water good for your skin?

*Please note, this post contains affiliate links, and I may receive a small commission if you purchase through any of those links. It doesn’t cost you any extra and I only recommend products I truly love and use myself. You can read my full disclosure here.  

What is salt water, and how is it used in skincare?

Saltwater simply means water with dissolved salts. And even if you can make your own by plainly mixing water with salt. What it usually means is natural saltwater. Retrieved either from the ground (in the form of thermal spring water). Or from the ocean. 

Thermal spring water means mineral water from hot springs. Which origins from deep under the ground. It’s naturally pure and its composition of minerals is owed to the long journey through the mountains.

Thermal spring water is huge in France. And there are many french skincare companies that have built their brand around the usage of water from certain hot springs.  

Seawater is derived from the ocean. Which is naturally very rich in salts. And there are several skincare companies that use seawater in their products. 

Both thermal spring water and seawater are rich in minerals. But their compositions differ quite a lot. Which the next sections will explain further.

Is salt water good for your skin - seawater vs spring water benefits for skin
This post explains whether or not salt water is good for your skin. And the difference of spring water and seawater.

Thermal spring water benefits for skin

Thermal water baths have been praised for their mineral-rich water and skin healing effect, for centuries in countries across the world. With the origins from the ancient greeks. 

The mineral content of thermal water depends on where it sourced from. And many of these most common mineral salts are also found naturally in your skin. Such as chloride, sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. 

Besides the empirical testimonies from people claiming that thermal spring water has helped their skin. There have also been a few studies performed that support these claims. Even though most of these studies have been performed by the companies that produce springwater skincare products. 

The two most well-studied thermal waters are Avene and La Roche Posay. And I’ll get back to the different brands later. 

So, back to the skin benefits of thermal waters. What exactly do they do? Well, it seems like the list of potential benefits is quite long:

– They can help calm the skin and inflammation. 

– They can help with conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea.

They are specifically shown to efficiently reduce inflammation in atopic dermatitis (the most common form av eczema)

– They hydrate the skin.

– They can (to a certain degree) reverse UV-damage and reduce the risk of sunburn thanks to the mineral’s antioxidant effect. 

– Thermal spring waters have also been shown to aid with the side effects of using retinoids. Such as irritations in the skin.

– Thermal water also helps balance the microflora in your skin. Which is one of the reasons why it helps with reducing inflammation associated with psoriasis and eczema. But also acne and other skin disorders. 

Tip: See my post about skin barrier repair to learn more about how to keep the outermost part of the skin healthy and functional.

Is salt water good for your skin? These are three different salt water sprays to be used on face. All containing natural spring water rich of mineral salts.
These are the three spring water sprays I have personally used. And I lov

Both La Roche Posay’s and Avene’s clinical studies have shown improvements in skin microbial diversity by using their sprays on skin. And following improvements in skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and dry skin.

Avene has also found a microorganism, Aquaphilus dolomiae, in their water that seems to be very beneficial in the skin’s microflora.

All these spring water benefits do sound pretty impressive. Just remember that thermal spring water is not a cure for any skin disorder, even though it may help. You should always seek a dermatologist for proper treatment. 

Tip: If you suffer from sensitive skin I highly suggest you see my post about Bakuchiol. It’s become one of my absolute favorite ingredients.

Ocean seawater benefits for skin

Seawater is another kind of natural saltwater, containing salts such as chloride, sodium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iodine, and iron. And just as spring water, this mineral water has also been found to be beneficial for eczema. 

A big difference between seawater and spring water is that seawater has a lot higher concentrations of chloride and sodium. These two minerals actually make up around 85 percent of all dissolved ions in the ocean water. While magnesium and sulfate make up around 10 %, and the rest of the minerals in even smaller concentrations.  

To give a comparison. The amount of sodium in seawater is 35000 mg per liter. In Avene thermal water 4,8 mg/l. And in La Roche Posay 10 mg/l.

This is the reason why you probably have experienced a drying effect from the ocean water after taking a swim. 

At the same time, this can have a positive effect on people with very oily skin. 

I wouldn’t recommend using seawater directly tapped from the ocean though. Since the oceans today can be quite polluted.

There has also been shown that exposure to ocean water can alter your skin’s microflora in a negative way. Which can make you susceptible to infections and diseases.

The ocean is full of natural mineral salts. But mostly sodium which can make it a bit drying on the skin.
The ocean is full of natural mineral salts that are beneficial for the skin. But since it has very high concentrations of chloride and sodium, it can also be very drying.

If you want to try salt water from the ocean, make sure it is from a clean and safe source and from beauty brands you can trust.

My personal skin experience of salt water

I have personally tried three thermal spring water sprays for the face (so far). Avene thermal water. La Roche Posay thermal water. And Serozinc, which is La Roche Posay spring water with added zinc sulfate and extra sodium chloride (to specifically target acne and oily skin).

I must honestly say that I have become a huge fan of spraying spring water on my skin. I cannot say I notice any difference between Avene spring water and La Roche Posay spring water.

They are both fantastic in making my skin refreshed, super calm, and indeed more hydrated. And they both make my skin more glowy.

Serozinc has a more mattifying effect, which can be great if you have oily skin.  I have a review post of Serozinc if you want to learn more about this one.

I love to use either one of these throughout the day. And especially as part of my microcurrent treatments. I either use them alone with a serum, since the mineral salts have great conductivity. Or I spray on top of the gels I am using to hinder them from drying. And thus save the amount of gel I need to use.   

Tip: If you haven’t seen my post about microcurrent (in my opinion the best anti-aging facial you can find) I highly recommend you read it. And to learn more about conductivity gels I recommend this post.

When it comes to seawater, I really do not have any personal experience. Would love to hear in the comments if you have!

Summary – Is salt water good for your skin?

  • Natural saltwater can be retrieved either from the ground (in the form of thermal spring water). Or from the ocean. These types of waters have a naturally high content of mineral salts.
  • Thermal spring water has a long history of being used for its skin healing effects. And claimed to help with everything from acne to eczema. 
  • Studies about the spring water benefits for skin show (even though mostly performed by the skincare companies themselves) that these mineral-rich waters hydrates and calms the skin, decrease inflammation, and improve microbiome in the skin. Which in turn help with conditions like atopic dermatitis and other forms of eczema.
  • Ocean seawater is the other kind of natural salt water you can find. Claimed to be beneficial for the skin. It does have plenty of minerals, but a much higher concentration of chloride and sodium. Which can make it drying on your skin. 
  • I have personally tried spring water sprays and have fallen in love with them completely. I find they make my skin super-calm, glowy, refreshed, and they are also very easy and cheap to use. 

The two I recommend (for all skin types) are La Roche Posay Thermal spring water or Avene thermal spring water. I find both of them to be just as good.

If you have oily skin, Serozinc might be worth trying.

Let me know in the comments if you have any own experiences of using salt water on your face. Or if you have any questions.

Until next time, love your skin!

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Lisa

    Hi! I have a question. It is not say that the Spray eau thermale de Avène contains sodium and (if I have understood correctly), we need sodium for connectivity of microcurrents. Can you enlighten me on this ? Thanks to you for this article.

    1. Ann

      Hi Lisa,

      It contains natural sodium as well as many other mineral salts. All if them (not just sodium) gives great conductivity 🙂

  2. Gina Abernathy

    Very informative post. I guess I am behind the times because I did not know you could buy these products. Thanks for the breakdown of each one.

    1. Ann

      Thank you Gina! And you’re very welcome 🙂

  3. Lisa Mitchell

    I have never tried spring water sprays on my skin. They sound very refreshing. Thanks for all of the information!

    1. Ann

      You’re very welcome Lisa 🙂

  4. I’ve been a fan of Avene thermal water spray fir years. It’s so good! Especially now in the summer.

    1. Ann

      Yes I agree 🙂

  5. Hadassah

    What a helpful post! I learned a lot about salt water benefits for skin. I have used products from both Avene und La Roche Posey but have never tried the sprays. Thanks so much for the helpful tips!

    1. Ann

      Happy to help! You’re so welcome 🙂

  6. Erika Ravnsborg

    This is very interesting. I would love to put this salt water for the skin to the test.

    1. Ann

      Thank you Erika 🙂 Hope you do!

  7. Alyssa Hixenbaugh

    Thank you for your informative post! I appreciate the negative and positive break downs of different kinds of salt water. 🙂

    1. Ann

      Thank you Alyssa! Glad to hear ?

  8. Sarah Styf

    We have a salt water pool. Does that have some of the same benefit?

    1. Ann

      Hi Sarah, I do not think so. I think salt water pools just has added sodium chloride. But I could be wrong 🙂

      What you want is a salt water with different mineral salts, such as magnesium, calcium, zinc, Cooper etc ?

  9. Dannie

    I use dead Sea mixed with Epsom salt in boiled water. I spray if all over my face. I think it helps with acne and calming.

    1. Ann

      Happy to hear it helped you Dannie ??

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