Is it helpful to use salt water for eczema? Yes, it is! My two eczema warriors have definitely experienced this before. Even though they get super dry and itchy skin right after a swim in the sea, but with a warm shower, the skin already feels cool, smooth and supple. Spread on a layer of moisturiser, the itch will be gone and they feel great, with rejuvenated skin.
Benefits of salt water for eczema – a day at the beach!
Many people have felt the healing effects of salt water for eczema, by swimming in the sea.
- Salt water is a known antiseptic, and has been commonly used for cleaning of infected wounds. This is because it is able to pull out pockets of liquids, like pus which has accumulated on the skin. It is also able to kill bacteria by drawing the water content out of their cells. At the same time it also pulls out moisture from our skin surface tissue, and can have a drying effect. Hence, it is important to moisturise after playing or swimming in the sea.
- Eczema warriors are prone to infections as there are frequently open wounds from scratching. Moreover, their immune systems are weakened from perpetually being in a heightened state, as regular substances (like some foods or dust mites, etc.) are seen by their bodies as invaders. Hence, regularly bathing or swimming in sea water can actually prevent impending infections.
- The added benefit of being at the beach is the natural exfoliation of dead skin by the sand! As the kids play in the sand, the layer of dull coloured dead skin cells come off, and what shows up is new and velvety soft skin.
- Swimming and playing in water allows my eczema warriors to work out their hearts and muscles without the usual agony and irritation from sweating. Exercise is what they need, in order to get the lymphatic system going, to flush out toxins. But the thought of the sweating and itching that comes with it is enough to put them off.
- Being in the sun is another great benefit of swimming in sea water, for people with eczema. The ultraviolet rays stimulate the skin to make vitamin D. Deficiency in this vitamin has been linked to numerous chronic health problems, from inadequate bone metabolism to higher falling and fracture risks, and osteoporosis.
- There is a psychological and emotional side to eczema that only people who have gone through it will understand. Being at sea, in nature, helps to relax and calm the mind and soul, and allows for great meditation opportunities. The state of the mind, together with stress, can be a huge trigger for eczema.
What else is in sea water
The good stuff: Beneficial minerals
Besides salt, which is essentially sodium chloride, there are a few other highly beneficial minerals that are present in quite substantial amounts in sea water, that can get absorbed through the skin. These include magnesium, sulphur, and calcium.
- Magnesium has been used in Epsom salt baths for its detoxifying and pain relieving properties. It calms and relaxes muscles, and relieves stress.
- Sulphur is a naturally occurring mineral found in abundance near many hot springs and volcanic craters. It is well-known for many benefits, including soothing many skin conditions by reducing inflammation, and being an anti-fungal agent. My son uses a cream containing sulphur to heal his scratch wounds quickly.
- Calcium is a major mineral for our bone development, as well as a co factor for some enzymes during energy metabolism. Adequate intake of calcium reduces the risks of heart diseases, obesity, and some form of cancers.
Precautions to take when swimming in the sea
For the person with eczema, here are some extra precautions:
- Oozing wounds or open wounds may sting when they first come into contact with salt water. Know yourself, and how much your pain threshold is. For your own comfort, it makes sense to postpone the trip to the beach if you are in an eczema flare that is very inflamed and angry.
- Apply sunscreen to protect yourself from too much ultraviolet rays. Choose an all-natural product that works for you.
- Limit the duration in the sea and the sun, as being in salt water for too long can be too drying for the skin, such that the harm is greater than the benefits.
- At least do a quick shower after your swim, you should not let the salt water stay on your skin too long, to continue dehydrating it.
- Moisturise right after your shower. These are our recommended mosturisers, made of all natural ingredients.
- Everyone is different. Some people do not take to salt water well. If you are one of them, then just stick with those remedies that work.
There is bad stuff in sea water too – chemical pollutants and harmful organisms
Not all seas are equal. Before swimming in the ocean, it is important to find out how good or bad the water quality in your area is. Check with your local authorities before you jump right in, crowded beaches does not mean the water is clean. Especially for people with eczema, who are inherently more sensitive than others, it pays to be more cautious.
Depending on how and where industries and agricultural farmers dispose of their wastes, coastal areas can get pretty dirty due to all sorts of human activities. Chemical pollutants are just bad, bad, bad for the eczema person. If it crosses the weakened skin barrier, it enters the body system in an instant.
Even without pollution, there are millions of microorganisms in the sea, only God knows how many species are yet to be discovered by mankind. On skin that is already compromised, or even having open wounds, it is definitely not a good idea to expose to bacteria and viruses.
If your area has dirty sea water, do not worry that you will miss out on the great benefits of salt water for your skin. You can always soak in your own salt bath at home!
Salt baths at home
There are various kinds of beneficial salt baths that you can make at home:
- Epsom salt – there is no real salt (sodium chloride) in Epsom salt. It is made of magnesium sulphate. The benefits are plenty: detoxifying, soothing for the skin, pain relief, calming for nerves, mind and soul. Use 2 cups of Epsom salt in a full bath. Read more about Epsom salt in this linked post.
- Himalayan salt – this is mined from ancient seabed, which was under the sea 100 to 200 million years ago. Over the eras, the sea dried up. Which means the minerals found in this salt are pure and uncontaminated by modern pollutants. Use 1-2 cups in your bath, to detoxify and relax.
- Dead sea salt – this salt is much more abundant in magnesium, potassium, sodium, and calcium, compared to regular sea salt. Hence, there are immense benefits from soaking in a dead sea salt bath. Among other therapeutic effects, for eczema specifically, it soothes itchy and inflamed skin, and reduces flaking significantly. 2 cups in your bath will work its wonders.
One thing to note about all these detox baths is to not stay longer than 20 minutes in the bath, as you won’t want the toxins that have been flushed out to be reabsorbed into your skin.
Salt water has numerous amazing benefits. It can be used to flush out the sinuses, as a gargle when having a sore throat, as a detoxifying drink, etc. If you find that it works to use salt water for eczema, then it is in fact the simplest solution. The simplest substances from nature are what heals us. Press on, and heal your eczema naturally.