Are Dead Sea Products Really Better for Your Skin?
Proponents claim that products extracted from the Dead Sea have miraculous properties and can clear up anything from eczema to psoriasis. But are Dead Sea products really more than a brilliant marketing plan?
The Dead Sea is a geographical phenomenon located in-between Jordan and Israel. Products derived from the area's vegetation and from the sea itself contain a unique balance of salts and minerals not found in typical seawater. The Dead Sea area has become a center for medical research, where studies of thalassotherapy (the medical use of seawater) have documented the benefits the region's weather, natural UV ray filters, and type of water have helped to alleviate skin and arthritic problems. Putting these medical findings in context outside of the area raises a question: can a product derived from the area be as effective without the other elements?
Dead Sea Products run the gamut from bath oils to expensive, anti-aging lotions and you can buy them anywhere from drugstores to high-end spas. Some of the most popular options include Dead Sea Salts that you add to a bath. The minerals you find in these include:
- Bromide: Soothes skin irritation
- Magnesium: Aids healing
- Potassium: Maintain moisture balance
- Sulfur: Detoxifies and aids nutrient absorption
- Zinc: Contains some natural sun-protection
- And of course, Sodium: Helps detoxify skin
Other kinds of salt - including the simple Epsom variety - have similar content. The main difference between Dead Sea Salts and regular salt is that these special salts have a much higher mineral content, which presumably helps your skin to absorb them better. There is no question that the benefits of balneotheraphy (bathing in thermal water) can help your body rid itself of toxins, stimulate the immune system, and soothe skin. But the National Psoriasis foundation recommends adding salt - Dead Sea or regular - to bath water to ease symptoms. So you may be getting the same benefits, with a much lower price tag.
And here's one thing to consider before you choose a Dead Sea product: an organization called Stolen Beauty has called a boycott of a main manufacturer: Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories. Stolen Beauty claims that since the Israeli company harvests and processes its product in the occupied West Bank, their actions amount to stealing another country's natural resources and violating International Law.
If you do find that your skin responds better to Dead Sea products, look for options that have not been processed, diluted, or mineral depleted. Some brands come with a certificate of authenticity so you can be certain that you're getting the real deal.
American Academy of Dermatology
Dead Sea Research Center
San Francisco Bath Works Company
National Psoriasis Foundation
Stolen Beauty Website
Dead Sea Glory Product Website
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