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Does Dead Sea Salt Help Psoriasis?

Updated on July 29, 2022
Medically reviewed by
Ariel D. Teitel, M.D., M.B.A.
Article written by
Joan Grossman

Dead Sea salt can be an effective over-the-counter remedy for psoriasis. Dead Sea salt is often used as a bath solution. It is beneficial for some people with psoriasis in soothing the skin and helping with the removal of plaque psoriasis scales.

Many kinds of Dead Sea salt products, such as soaps, scrubs, shampoos, and moisturizers, can also be used for the topical treatment of psoriasis, an autoimmune disease that causes the overproduction of skin cells and thick, discolored patches of skin that can be itchy, scaly, or painful.

What Is Dead Sea Salt?

Dead Sea salt comes from the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea, also known as the Salt Sea, is a body of water below sea level that lies between Jordan and Israel in the Middle East. The Dead Sea is one of the saltiest lakes in the world. It’s the deepest of the hypersaline lakes, which are saltier than seawater. The Dead Sea is almost 10 times saltier than the ocean and is too salty to support animal life, which is how it got its name.

Dead Sea water has been known for its healing properties since ancient times, and the salt and minerals that can be found in this unique lake have been used for many different kinds of skin treatments over thousands of years.

How Does Dead Sea Salt Work for Psoriasis?

MyPsoriasisTeam members have reported visiting the Dead Sea and having Dead Sea treatments that relieved psoriasis symptoms. “I was lucky enough to visit the Dead Sea last year in Jordan,” a member said. “The mud and salt worked wonders for my psoriasis. I have used Dead Sea salts ever since in my bath. Today, I have no scales on my psoriasis.”

One study showed significant therapeutic effects for atopic dry skin (associated with skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis) from a bath solution consisting of 5 percent Dead Sea salt. Participants soaked in the bath solution for 15 minutes per day over six weeks. After that time, beneficial effects of the sea salt soak included:

  • Improved function of the skin barrier
  • Increased hydration of the skin
  • Reduced signs of inflammation, like discoloration and roughness

Although researchers do not fully understand the therapeutic mechanisms of Dead Sea salts, studies show that minerals are absorbed through the skin when bathing in Dead Sea salt solutions. Dead Sea salt is rich in magnesium, a key ingredient in Epsom salts. It has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties that are also beneficial for rheumatic diseases like psoriatic arthritis.

In addition to magnesium, levels of other minerals — bromine, rubidium, calcium, and zinc — were significantly increased in the body after bathing each day in Dead Sea salt over four weeks, suggesting these minerals may also be therapeutic. The magnesium bromide and magnesium chloride found in Dead Sea salt have been found to inhibit cell growth and the proliferation of skin cells in people with psoriasis.

Combining Dead Sea Salt and Phototherapy Treatments

Several studies have shown that Dead Sea salt can improve symptoms and quality of life for people with psoriasis. Some studies have looked at Dead Sea salt solutions for balneotherapy (bathing in saltwater, sometimes called spa therapy) in combination with phototherapy (ultraviolet light therapy) or sun exposure.

One study examined the effects of treating people with psoriasis at the Dead Sea with balneotherapy and sun exposure over a four-week period. Out of 18 participants, more than half experienced completely cleared skin. Overall, all participants averaged an 88 percent improvement according to the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI).

Another study examined the effectiveness of Dead Sea salts, in combination with phototherapy, to simulate therapy that might take place at the Dead Sea. Therapy took place over six months and 356 participants were analyzed. Balneophototherapy was shown to be a highly effective treatment with significant improvement in PASI scores among people with moderate to severe psoriasis. In addition, balneotherapy with Dead Sea salts in combination with phototherapy was more effective than phototherapy alone.

Safety of Dead Sea Salt for Psoriasis

Dead Sea salt is considered safe and effective. There are virtually no side effects from saltwater baths. Be careful that you have no open wounds, like a cut from shaving, when bathing in Dead Sea salt. This can cause burning or stinging.

Some Dead Sea treatments may contain other ingredients that are irritating to the skin and should be tested on a small area before using. Everyone’s skin is different.

Skin Reactions from Dead Sea Salt

Some MyPsoriasisTeam members have reported uncomfortable skin reactions from using Dead Sea salt products. One member wrote, “Dead Sea salts work sometimes — but sometimes, they can be painful.”

Another member commented, “I've only tried it once and my skin felt very smooth and soft, but the plaques were almost unbearably itchy afterwards.”

Other members recommended moisturizing after using Dead Sea salt or adding baby oil to the bath to avoid itchiness. Some members recommended switching out Dead Sea salt for Himalayan salt.

Talk to your dermatologist if you have any adverse effects from using Dead Sea salt treatments.

MyPsoriasisTeam Members on Dead Sea Salt Products

Numerous Dead Sea salt products are available for the topical treatment of psoriasis, including lotions, gels, soaps, and shampoos. MyPsoriasisTeam members frequently share tips on products they have used for skin care.

One member had this advice for a salt bath solution: “Soak yourself in Dead Sea salt, vinegar, and some baking soda.” Another suggested, “Try some coconut oil and Dead Sea salts in the bath together. The sea salt helps the itching and the soreness, and the coconut oil helps soften the skin.”

Other members prefer Dead Sea salt products rather than baths. “I use Dead Sea salt scrub and Dead Sea salt butter to moisturize, and it really helps me,” said one MyPsoriasisTeam member. Another wrote, “I use Dead Sea salt body wash and bath salt. It works wonders.”

One MyPsoriasisTeam member described his experience: “I discovered this thing called Dead Sea salt and I’ve been using it all over my body. I have a container of it in the shower and add some water to make a paste. I scrub my entire body with it in the shower, including my scalp, and I can’t tell you the difference it’s made. My scalp is almost clear in just about a week. I rub some salt paste in my hair and then rinse it out about two minutes later. It burns a little, but that’s OK.”

Talk With Others Who Understand

MyPsoriasisTeam is the social network for people with psoriasis and their loved ones. On MyPsoriasisTeam, more than 109,000 members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their experiences with others who understand life with psoriasis.

Are you curious about Dead Sea salt for psoriasis, or have you given it a try? Share your experience in the comments below, or start a conversation by posting on MyPsoriasisTeam.

All updates must be accompanied by text or a picture.
Ariel D. Teitel, M.D., M.B.A. is the clinical associate professor of medicine at the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Learn more about him here.
Joan Grossman is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and consultant based in Brooklyn, NY. Learn more about her here.

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