Salt is an incredibly important part of life on earth. It has literally, tens of thousands of uses. It's a potent cleanser, a preservative, and who doesn't love the way salt enhances the flavor of food? Our bodies also rely on salt for a number of functions including regulating water content and sugar balance, and normalizing our heartbeat. But did you know you can also use salt on your body in your beauty care regimen? Check out these 8 uses for salt on your body.
1. Salt bath
Probably the most well known use for salt is the soothing Epsom bath. While not technically table salt (sodium chloride), Epsom (magnesium sulfate) is in the broad salt category. You can also soak in pure salt, similar to taking a swim in the ocean. Salt baths reduce inflammation in the body and sooths achy muscles and joints. Use 1 cup per full tub. Scent with essential oils or dried herbs as you like.
2. Salt scrub
A natural exfoliant, salt can smooth away dry skin and leave you feeling silky and smooth. Make a salt scrub by mixing 1/4 cup of coarse salt to ½ to ¾ cup oil such as almond, sesame or jojoba. Add 20 drops of your favorite essential oils to scent. The mixture should be on the oily side. Scoop out generous handfuls and rub on the bottom of your feet. It's especially nice on the legs just before you shave (rinse it off before you shave though).
3. Face mask
Especially helpful for oily or acne prone skin, a simple salt mask can reduce inflammation, balance oil and speed healing from breakouts. Dissolve 1 part salt to 3 parts warm water. Mix with 3 tablespoons of pure raw honey. Gently apply to the face and leave on for 15 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.
Salt crystal deodorants are commercially available in most natural food stores. Salt kills bacteria—bacteria cause odor. It makes sense. If you're a homemade deodorant kind of gal or guy (which is typically baking soda based), add a teaspoon of salt to the mix to help reduce the odor. Warning, ladies: it will sting a little on just shaved pits.
Salt's antibacterial properties make it a most excellent and inexpensive homemade toothpaste. Mix 3 parts baking soda to 1 part salt. You can use the recipe like this as a powder, or you can add a bit of glycerin to make it pasty. You can also add a few drops of essential oils like mint, cloves or grapefruit. Simple, cheap, effective!
Gargling with salt water is great at getting rid of sore throats, and it's also pretty much the best mouthwash out there. Not only do you avoid the nasty chemicals in commercial mouthwash, but you also avoid the BPA plastic bottles that put your health at risk as well as require recycling. Salt water is way cheaper than a mouthwash product and quite effective at killing bacteria. Add a drop or two of peppermint or spearmint essential oil if you want that minty fresh taste.
7. Nasal cleansing
One of the ayurvedic kriyas, nasal cleansing improves breathing and can reduce allergies or sinus infections. Using a specially designed neti pot, you add a small amount of sea salt (do not use a mineral rock salt as it will burn) to warm water and pour into the nostril while tilting the head so the water gets into the nasal cavity. Tipping the head slightly down and towards the other side, the water should fill up your sinus and then come down the other side. This can take some practice, of course. But once you get the hang of it, neti pots can be a godsend when you're having trouble breathing.
8. Wound care
Salt's antimicrobial properties made it one of the first treatments for wounds. It stings, of course, and you do not want to put salt on a wound that is still bleeding. But once the bleeding has stopped, you can rub salt into the wound to clean it and speed healing.
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Image: jenny downing