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Sea and Crystal Rock Salts: Your Guide to Salts and Their Benefits in Skin Care

Consumed in and on our food, salt can pose risks to our health. But when used at bath time, in body wraps or in luxurious exfoliating/cleansing products, salts can help eliminate toxins, re-mineralize our skin, improve circulation and help combat the symptoms of skin disorders like psoriasis.

An array of traditional and exotic sea and rock salts are used to create bath salts and other skin care products:

  • Bath Salts
  • Exfoliants
  • Soaps and Cleansers
  • Body Wraps

Use this article as your guide to the differences in salt types, grain sizes, beneficial applications of salts and other helpful tips.

Salt Types

Each salt varies in its mineral composition and other nutritive properties. Below are descriptions of several of the most desirable salts used in skin care:

Bolivian Pink Salt (Also known as Andes Pink Salt):
Bolivian Pink Salt is a crystal rock salt harvested by hand from ancient rock salt beds discovered under the Andes Mountain region of Bolivia. Bolivian Pink Salt has a beautiful rosy-pink, speckled hue. In addition to its sodium chloride (salt) content, Bolivian Pink Salt is remarkably rich in other minerals including Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium, Iron and an array of other essential and trace minerals, making it a highly nourishing and functional ingredient for bathing, exfoliation, mouth rinses and other cosmeceutical applications. Bolivian Pink Salt's mineral composition is superior to sea salt for use in bath salts and other personal care products intended to ease muscular aches and pains, promote relaxation and reduce stiffness. Bolivian Pink Salt is an ideal choice for body exfoliating products as the salts also help to re-mineralize the skin, balance moisture content, improve circulation and draw toxins out from the skin.

Dead Sea Salt:
The Dead Sea has a remarkable history and is the deepest salt lake in the world. It's saline content is approximately 6-8 times higher than that of the oceans. It is named the Dead Sea because the salt concentration is so significant that plant and animal life cannot be sustained in these waters. But these salts are so rich in valuable minerals that their use helps nourish and sustain health and wellbeing. The shores of the Dead Sea are home to many health spas and resorts. Since ancient times, the Dead Sea has attracted visitors who have sought healing relief by soaking and bathing in its nutrient-rich waters. It is said that those that swim in the Dead Sea easily float on the water's surface due to the high salt concentration. In addition to its noteworthy sodium chloride (salt) content, the Dead Sea is remarkably rich in other minerals including Potassium, Magnesium, Bromide and an array of additional essential and trace minerals.

Dendritic Salt:
Dendritic salts are salts that are used by artisans to help promote and enhance the aromatics that are added to bath salts. Simply put, dendritic salt is a very fine grain salt which has been crystallized to provide greater surface area than that of most other salts. The increased surface area helps to retain fragrance, requires less pigments and also helps to reduce the natural clumping that can occur when salts are exposed to humidity or moisture.

Epsom Salt:
Epsom salt, also known as magnesium sulfate, is known for its ability to ease pain and muscular tension. Epsom salt helps to reduce swelling, relax the nervous system and eliminate toxins from the body.

Himalayan Pink Salt:
Himalayan Pink Salt is quite similar to Bolivian Pink Salt (see above), but it is harvested from the beds that lie under the Himalayan mountain range. Spanning six countries, the Himalayas encompass the tallest peaks in the world.

Icelandic Geo-Thermal Brine Salt:
Icelandic Geo-Thermal Brine Salt is a soft, white powdery salt that dissolves instantly in water and leaves skin feeling silky soft. Icelandic Geo-Thermal Brine Salt is harvested from one of the world's purest water reservoirs. This geo-thermal brine (sea water) comes from a steaming hot pool found 1 mile below the earth's surface in Iceland. The brine is drawn up and then heated by the natural geo-thermal steam until all the water has evaporated, leaving behind only the clean, pure salt. The harvested salt is rich in silica and essential trace elements but contains 60% less sodium than regular sea salt.

Sea Salt:
Naturally harvested sea salt is a general purpose salt that contains minerals, helps draw toxins from the skin and soothes sore muscles.

Grain Sizes

Salts are typically ground prior to use and typically come in an array of grain sizes:

Powdered salt can be used in most all applications, but it is generally limited to exfoliating and specialty bath products. It is usually not used for bath salts as powdered salt is especially prone to caking.

Fine grain salt is most commonly used in body and foot scrubs, polishes and other exfoliating products. Salt of any grain size, however, is not recommended for facial exfoliation.

Medium grain salt is the most popular grain size used in the creation of bath salts. The size is visually appealing yet dissolves quicker than does the coarse grain size.

Coarse grain salt is used primarily for bath salts. The chunky size is visually striking. The disadvantage, however, is that it is slower to dissolve in bath water. It can be somewhat uncomfortable to climb into the tub and accidentally sit on undissolved chunks of coarse grain salts.

Bath Salts

The luxurious and therapeutic bath salts that are available through BBTB's artisans may include just one of the above grain sizes or may be a combination of several sizes. Each grain size offers a different texture and gives the artisan a level of creativity in making a wide array of visually appealing bath salt products. Coarse salts are often considered the most visually attractive, but they are the slowest to dissolve at bathtime.

Dead Sea Salt is especially helpful for those who suffer from psoriasis and other auto-immune skin disorders. Those who purchase Dead Sea salt products for this purpose should choose products that are unscented or fragranced lightly only with natural essential oils.

Bath Salt Tips:
As mentioned above, coarse grain sizes can be the prettiest and most visually interesting, but they take the longest to dissolve in the tub. Pour bath salts into warm/hot running water to allow them to dissolve prior to entering the bath. The disadvantage is that any aromatics that have been combined with the salts may dissipate by the time that you enter the tub. An alternative is to pour the salts into the tub just prior to entering the tub, but be careful as you get seated. Undissolved chunkier grain salts can be a bit uncomfortable to rest upon before they dissolve.

Unless a particular salt is strongly fragranced, use approximately 1/2c - 1c of salt per bath.

Most consumers desire to enjoy a fragrant bath, so most bath salts are fragranced with either natural essential oils and/or synthetic fragrance oils. Fragrance oils, also referred to as perfume oils (and usually listed as "fragrance" on an ingredient label), are not natural and are not the same as essential oils. Fragrance oils and perfume oils contain synthetic chemicals and do not provide the therapeutic benefits of essential oils.


Salt is a natural exfoliant that also re-mineralizes the skin as it is used. Salt, however, if used frequently or roughly, can be harsh to the skin and cause irritation or tiny cuts. Do not use exfoliants that include salt upon the tender skin of the face. When exfoliating with products that include salt, be sure to scrub in a gentle, circular motion. Until you are familiar with how your skin responds over time to the use of a new exfoliant, limit your application of the product to once per week.

Soaps and Cleansers

Salt is sometimes added to cold process vegetable soap or other cleansers as a natural exfoliant. It's often used in soaps made especially for mechanics or gardeners.

Body Wraps

Body wrap products typically include salts. Salts help re-mineralize the skin, help promote circulation, alleviate muscle and joint pain and to help detoxify the body.

When shopping for body wrap products, look at the ingredient list and pay attention to the type of salt that is used.

Sodium chloride is the scientific name for the mineral that is more commonly referred to as salt. Unprocessed salts, however, typically contain an array of other natural minerals. Dead Sea Salt, for instance, has a lower concentration of sodium chloride than most other salts and has a higher concentration of the minerals Magnesium, Calcium, Potassium, and Bromide. Bolivian Pink Salt also contains Calcium, Potassium and Magnesium, but also contains Iron and an array of other essential and trace minerals. The higher concentration of other minerals helps to re-mineralize the body.

Shop Confidently With Beauty By the Batch

Beauty By the Batch is a practical resource for assisting you in finding artisans that provide natural and nearly all-natural skin care products including scrubs, bath salts and other salt products. Begin your search by visiting the Beauty By the Batch Artisan Directory. Not only do the artisans that appear within the Artisan Directory support the efforts of Beauty By the Batch, but they have all agreed to adhere to Beauty By the Batch's Artisan Code of Conduct. By agreeing to our Artisan Code of Conduct, artisans promise to abide by truthful and accurate marketing and a number of other practices that are in the best interest of consumers.

Visit the Beauty By the Batch Artisan Directory

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