(Sea) Salt in wash off and leave on products VS Acne?

Took a swim in the pacific the other day and my skin and acne improved markedly after just a a few minutes (it's not THAT warm) in the waves.

I've had this experience before, and wondering if you could try to mirror this effects in topicals. Either in a wash off cleanser or even in leave on anti acne creams, anyone got experience with this? Seems sensical to use in a wash off formula, but not so sure It'd be good in leave on products.
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  • heraklitheraklit Member, PCF student
    edited February 2015
    We have very salty sea water here in my region, and also saltworks. People report relief or even healing of joints and muscle pains, and an improvement of some skin diseases but not anything special about acne. Maybe some reliefs are only temporary.
  • BelassiBelassi Member, PCF student
    The obvious thing to do is to try duplicating the effect using the lab. Is it just the effect of soaking the skin in water? Soaking in salt water (NaCl)? Soaking in sea-salt  water?
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  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    Well, it's a bit more complex than just soaking in salt water.  Besides the salinity, you have a mix of minerals in sea water, the pH, and dissolved gases, the major components comprising 99% of the chemical composition of seawater being:

    Hydrogen H2O 
    Oxygen H2O 
    Sodium NaCl 
    Chlorine NaCl 
    Magnesium Mg 
    Sulfur S 
    Potassium K 
    Calcium Ca 

    Note that Sulfur is an approved OTC ingredient for acne.  Seawater typically has a pH of 7.3 to 8.5.

    It should be quite easy to formulate a "synthetic seawater" and test it.


    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • Or you could just bottle the seawater :-) Have had similar experience myself as a youngster regarding better skin (less acne) after beach holidays. I know that they use 'warm salt water pools for the treatment of Psoriasis , I have helped to maintain these pools. We used simply salt (though the minerals such as listed above were also present in the Bulk Salt).
  • pH adjustment to 7-8.

  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    edited February 2015
    Part of the improvement in acne in hanging out at the beach is that the sun exposure stimulates Vitamin D production which reduces sebum production.  That, and the salinity of the water most likely kills off the P. Acnes population.

    I would think the most effective "synthetic seawater" would be in the form of a gel or mask.

    In addition, the pH between 7 and 8 is similar to disincrustation fluids used by estheticians to "melt" the waxy sebum buildup around blackheads to aid in extraction of comedomes.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • ZinkZink Member
    I can definitely rule out sun, as a duck into the water without soaking in the sun first gives the same effect.

    Sea water is 3.5% salt, so I'm guesstimating 2% added sea salt in the formula would give a notable effect.




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