People can be obsessed over anything from shoes to cars. Most of us have something we collect, treasure, research, admire or lust after. My obsession is with skin. I take pleasure in finding ingredients in nature that enhance, repair, heal and protect it. I get giddy over things we have in our cupboards that can transform skin. I love to find the latest "skin miracle" at my local grocery store. I love when there is easy access for everyone to be able to indulge and use. Fundamental as it may seem, one of my long-time obsessions is with salt. I have to admit there are very few people I can call and share my excitement with. Most of my friends do not understand being shaken with delight over something like salt. It seems basic, but salt is simply amazing.
Not all salt is the same and not all salt garnishes the same skin-loving results. Salt is generally produced one of three ways: deep-shaft mining, solution mining, or solar evaporation.
Real sea salts are produced by evaporating seawater. This process leaves different trace minerals and elements depending on where the seawater is from. There are a wide variety of sea salts available. These include everything from salt harvested off the coast of France, to Israel and Pacific sea salts. All sea salts offer a different mineral makeup and all have different properties that are good for skin.
Table salt mined from underground salt deposits is more heavily processed and also contains an additive to prevent clumping. The processing of table salt eliminates the minerals and elements that are beneficial for skin.
Salts from deep shaft mining or solution mining, such as Epsom or Himalayan salts, can also have a unique mineral component that is beneficial for skin and bath soaks.
All salts are not created equal when it comes to skin and bathing. For this reason, I only use salts that contain a mineral and trace element content that aide in the desired outcome I want to achieve when I teach "make your own" classes to both the public and professionals. When used correctly you can create effective products at home. One simple way I like to illustrate the difference between the makeup of salts is to have my students taste a grain of (pure with no additives) Dead Sea Salt (do not do this at home if it has scent or there are additives in it) and a grain of pure Pacific Sea Salt. The flavor speaks volumes on how different the mineral make up of salt can be!
There are so many beneficial uses for salt. When used as a bath soak, salt does everything from help heal psoriasis and eczema, to help in regulating the activity of more than 300 enzymes, flush toxins, relive stress and revive you. Bathing in Epsom salt helps raise sulfate levels in the body, which can get the detoxification pathway flowing again.
When used as a scrub salt gently cleanses pores and exfoliates (sloughs off dead skin cells to both promote skin renewal as well as reveal the softer, more youthful looking and healthier skin underneath). Exfoliating is imperative for healthy, youthful, glowing skin. Dead skin cells not only clog pores, they also make your skin look dull and lackluster and can make your appearance age. When you exfoliate, you remove the outer layers of dead epidermis (skin) cells, which also speeds up the skin renewal process, allowing smoother, healthier skin cells and reduced wrinkles.
Economical, powerful and readily available, salt is a perfect at-home spa treatment you can both afford and use to make potent products yourself. This cost-effective beauty wonder will not only save your skin and wallet but also eliminate waste from packaging and manufacturing when you buy in bulk and make your own.
Age defying facial scrub:
• 1 teaspoon honey
• ¼ teaspoon salt (Finely milled. If you cannot find fine-milled you can put it in a food processer for a few whirls)
• ½ teaspoon strongly brewed coffee, white, green, black or red tea
• ½ teaspoon soymilk or cream
Directions: Place all ingredients in a food processer or blender and pulse till combined.
Stress relieving bath soak:
• 1 ½ cups of Epsom salt
• 1/8 cup of well ground oatmeal (Try to get as close to a powder as you can with the tools you have at home)
• ¼ cup of milk (Fresh or powdered. Powdered is more concentrated)
• 2 drops of lavender essential oil
• 3 drops of carrot oil
• 2 drops of vitamin E
• 2 tablespoons of orange juice
Note: If you use powdered milk you can mix the main ingredients in advance and keep in a sealed container, and add the optional ingredients directly into bath.
Muscle relief soak:
• 2 cups Epson salts
• 2 cups dead sea salts
• 1/8 cup powdered mustard
• ¼ cup sea salt
• 2 drops eucalyptus essential oil
• 1/8 a teaspoon fresh ginger
• 2 tablespoons of strongly brewed tea of chamomile, licorice, valerian, devils claw or cramp bark
Note: You can mix the main ingredients in advance and keep in a sealed container, and add the optional ingredients directly into bath.
10 Salt Tips And Tricks
1. Removing dead skin cells -- In the shower or bath after soaping gently massage your entire body with salt. It both exfoliates and aids the circulation.
2. Reviving tired, swollen achy feet -- Soak feet in a bowl or basin with a combination of equal parts baking soda, Epsom salts, and sea salts.
3. Mouth wash -- Mix equal parts of salt and baking soda for a mouthwash that freshens breath. Add 1 teaspoon of salt mixture to ¼ cup water.
4. Mosquito bites, poison ivy -- Soak in salt water to relieve itch and irritation
5. Clean your shower or tub -- If you use any type of moisturizer when bathing it can make surfaces slippery. Sprinkle equal amounts of baking soda and fine milled salt on shower floor or bathtub after bathing, and scrub away when finished to prevent oil build up.
6. To detoxify -- Use a combination of 1 cup Epsom salt, ½ cup sea salt and 1 tablespoon of kaolin clay for a detoxifying bath soak.
7. Beach waves -- Mix sea salt, coconut oil and water and put in a spray bottle. Use on wet hair to create the beach wave look when dried. How much salt you use depends on the level of curl you want and coconut oil on dryness of hair.
8. Facial toner for acne prone skin -- Mix 1 teaspoon of sea salt with 2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and put in spray bottle. Spray on face (keep out of eyes). Make sure to moisturize your skin as well.
9. For dry calloused feet -- Mix equal parts sea salt with cornmeal and baking powder for a perfect feet treat. Soak feet first to soften, then scrub and moisturize.
10. Brighten your nails -- Forget the fancy pricy nail whiteners; make your own. Mix 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1-teaspoon sea salt and soak nails for reduced yellowing and to remove dirt.
For more by Deborah Burnes, click here.
For more on health and beauty, click here.
HuffPost Lifestyle is a daily newsletter that will make you happier and healthier — one email at a time. Learn more