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Sea Salt Wash Foils Facial Dandruff

Washing the skin with sea salt helped clear seborrheic dermatitis.

Q. I am a 54-year-old man and I’ve had seborrheic dermatitis since my early 20s. The steroid skin creams that have been prescribed to deal with this cause other skin problems.

I’ve been washing my face with sea salt in warm water and using the salt to exfoliate periodically. I buy sea salt without iodine at the grocery store.

I haven’t had to use the steroids since I started doing this, and all traces of dermatitis are gone.

A. Thank you for this story. Seborrheic dermatitis is a skin inflammation causing red itchy spots and flaking on the face or scalp. It is similar to dandruff, and may be caused or exacerbated by yeast called Malassezia that live on the skin. People with seborrheic dermatitis seem to react to this type of yeast with inflammation.

We could find nothing in the medical literature about salt water as a treatment, but readers have found salt water helpful for other skin problems, from acne to warts.

Deanna reported:

“I have had really bad acne for a while. My skin was oily and just gross. I never thought that salt water would work until I came back from the beach.Within a couple of days the acne started to clear up, so I mixed water and salt in a spray bottle and use it twice to three times daily. It really helps.”

LR reminisced:

“When we were children (over 70 years ago) we were fortunate enough to grow up in a small seaside town on the east coast of Florida. Any time anything happened to us kids-poison ivy, rashes, ant bites, bee stings-our mom would drive us over to the ocean to swim a while. That always worked.”

Rosacea, nail fungus and plantar warts are other skin conditions that seem to clear up when people are in the ocean or using salt water solutions.

photo credit: Happy Krissy cc cropped

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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