Diving deep: Exploring the pros and cons of salt water for your skin

Winter has well and truly arrived, meaning it might be a few months before we build up the courage to jump into the icy cold ocean. Which is why, many of us are still searching for warmth and sun overseas, ditching the cold and having another hot girl summer by the beach instead. We’ve often been told growing up here in Australia that salt water is good for the skin, the natural property of the salt helps remove dead skin cells and create a smoother complexion. However, it’s important to note some of the drawback, especially when you might be in the ocean for days or hours at time. Below, we explore some of the potential benefits and drawbacks of using salt water.


Exfoliation: Salt water can act as a natural exfoliant, helping to remove the dry dead skin cells found on your face and body, resulting in a smoother complexion. The coarse texture of salt gently exfoliates the top layer of dead skin, revealing smoother and fresher skin underneath.

Cleansing: Salt water has natural antiseptic properties that cleanses the skin by killing any bacteria, as well as helping reduce inflammation. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with acne or other skin conditions caused by bacterial or fungal infections.

Detox: Some individuals believe salt water can help detoxify the skin by drawing out the impurities and toxins. The minerals present in salt water, such as magnesium and potassium, are thought to help in this process.


Dryness: While salt water can be beneficial for certain skin types, it can also cause dryness. Salt water can strip the skin of its natural oils, leading to dry, tight skin and potential flakiness. If you suffer from dry or sensitive skin, it’s important to moisturise after being in salt water.

Irritation: Salt water can cause irritation for some, especially those with sensitive skin. The high salt content may disrupt the skin's natural barrier causing redness, stinging, or a burning sensation.

Sun sensitivity: Salt water can increase the skin's sensitivity to the sun. Combined with the drying effect, this can make the skin more prone to sunburn. It is essential to apply sunscreen generously when spending time in the sun after swimming in salt water.


While salt water does offer some potential benefits for the skin, it is important to consider the type of skin you have and any sensitivities. Some people may see positive results such as exfoliation, cleansing, and detoxifying. While others may encounter dryness, irritation, or increased sun sensitivity. It’s recommended to be exposed to salt water in moderation, rinse off thoroughly afterward, and moisturise to maintain the skin's health and balance.