You're probably aware of the uses of sea salt when it comes to cooking, elevating the flavor of basic dishes and adding a kick of minerals and electrolytes to better your health. However, sea salt is also packed with benefits beyond cooking needs, where it can be used on the skin, for dental hygiene, and in self-care products to contribute to overall wellness. Here are a few surprising ways to use sea salt outside the kitchen.
1. In a Bath
Adding sea salt to your bath can promote relaxation and reduce stress levels. "The mineral content in sea salt includes sodium chloride, bicarbonate, magnesium, and calcium, which can have many health benefits. A sea salt bath can improve blood circulation and decrease inflammation as well as aid detoxification," explains Dr. Sonia Batra, MD, a dermatologist and cohost of the television show The Doctors to POPSUGAR. "Using Dead Sea salt has the most health benefits due to the 21 different body-nourishing minerals found in it," she says. You can also add essential oils to increase the aromatherapeutic benefit, as well.
2. As a Full-Body Scrub
"Sea salt contains minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium, which are all excellent for the health of your skin. Sea salt helps to detox the body, reduces bloat, reduces inflammation, and more," explains plastic surgeon Dr. John Diaz to POPSUGAR. Sea salt can be used in areas that tend to become dry and cracked, such as the hands, elbows, knees, and feet. "Incorporating essential oils into your at-home body scrubs are great for relieving stress (lavender oil) and to reduce inflammation (peppermint oil)," he recommends. Try this: in a bowl, mix together one cup of fine sea salt, half a cup of (coconut oil or almond oil), five to 10 drops of essential oil (of your liking), 1 teaspoon of vitamin E, and 1 teaspoon of honey and apply gently to the desired areas to create smooth, supple, and glowing skin.
"Exfoliating the skin helps to promote new cell growth and improves circulation, giving skin a natural glow. The antiseptic qualities in sea salt can kill bacteria and reduce inflammation caused by certain skin diseases," Batra says.
3. As a Lip Scrub
If you tend to suffer from dry or peeling lips, take 2 tablespoons of sea salt and 1 tablespoon of honey and mix together to create an at-home lip scrub, he says. "Be very gentle when applying to the lip area as the skin on the lips is more delicate. Apply a nourishing balm after you exfoliate to lock in moisture," Diaz recommends.
4. As a Facial Scrub
Sea salt scrubs can work as a physical exfoliant to help cleanse pores and remove grease from the skin. "The abrasiveness of the salt particles helps to rid the skin's surface of dead skin cells. Salt is a harsh element, so be sure to limit your use to roughly once a week," though, she says. Minerals in salt can also boost skin cell regeneration and improve the cells' capacity for holding in moisture. Sea salt can be combined with honey and olive oil to create an easy DIY salt scrub, she says.
5. As a Toner or Leave-on Mask
Using sea salt in a toner spray or as a mask can help to deeply cleanse pores and balance the skin's oil production. "You can combine sea salt with water to create a toner to spritz on the face and let dry before rinsing with warm water or you can create a paste by combining salt with water, honey, or aloe gel," she says. Apply the paste and massage into the skin. Then leave on for about 15 minutes before rinsing with warm water.
6. As a Hair Texturizer
"Sea salt hair sprays work to open the hair cuticles and plump the strands, which gives hair a more texturized and voluminous look," says Batra. So, apply a sea salt spray to make your hair fresher and more healthy to touch. "The spray also helps you go longer between washes by soaking up excess oil buildup," she adds, which is great for anyone who tends to get super oily, greasy hair.
7. As a Scrub For the Scalp
"Use a salt scrub on your scalp to achieve the same benefits seen when used as a body scrub; the salt will help rid the scalp of dry flakes," she says. If combined with olive or coconut oil, it will hydrate the hair at the same time, too, for more benefits.
8. To Whiten Teeth
Sea salt is beneficial for teeth whitening as well as decreasing bacteria, which can cause harm to your teeth and gums. "You can make your own whitening toothpaste by adding salt to a paste consisting of baking soda and water. The salt physically scrapes food and stains from the teeth; however, since this is abrasive to enamel, it can be harmful if used too often," she says. Give yourself time in between treatments and ask your dentist for a recommendation for frequency.
9. As a Mouthwash
Your dentist may have told you to gargle with salt water to aid in healing any sores or wounds in your mouth, but you can also use a saltwater mouthwash to improve your overall dental health. "Salt water increases the pH balance in your mouth, resulting in an alkaline environment, which decreases harmful bacteria. Combine a half teaspoon of sea salt with a cup of warm water to make your own sea salt mouthwash that can decrease bacteria and lift plaque and stains from your teeth," she says.
10. For Your Nails
"Sea salt can be mixed with water, baking soda, and lemon juice to reduce yellowing and stains on nails," she says. Soak your nails in the mixture for 10 minutes and scrub with a soft brush to reveal healthier-looking nails.