Dead Sea Salts And Eczema

Sea salts may be helpful for eczema

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The Dead Sea is a landlocked super-salty lake nestled in the Middle East. The water in the Dead Sea is almost 10 times saltier than the ocean. So salty, in fact, that very little can survive, giving it the name Dead Sea. However, it is believed that the Dead Sea has therapeutic capabilities, so people from all over the world flock to this region to bathe in the waters or lather themselves with mud from the sea.  

Studies have shown that Dead Sea salts (DSS) can be beneficial for conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis,[1] asthma,[2] and psoriasis.[3] But can patients with eczema (Atopic Dermatitis) get relief from Dead Sea salts?

Unlike water from the oceans, DSS contain more magnesium salt than sodium salt. Magnesium chloride has antibacterial effects on the skin,[4] and some suggest that the high magnesium content may improve skin barrier function, enhance skin hydration, and reduce inflammation.[5] 

According to a study in Germany, patients with eczema who underwent 3 to 5 DSS treatment sessions per week (up to 35 total) had a significant improvement in their symptoms.[6]  A second retrospective study revealed that over 1700 patients with eczema who stayed at the Dead Sea for extended periods of over 4 weeks had clearance rates of over 95 percent.[7] Because it is not possible for many people to take an extended stay at the Dead Sea, an alternative is to create an artificial environment of the region with a concentrated salt solution bath coupled with sun exposure. The effectiveness of natural versus artificial treatment seems comparable.[8] However, the sun exposure should be done carefully to prevent sunburns. In those that are especially sun sensitive or have a history of skin cancer, the sun exposure should be avoided.

Overall, it appears that using Dead Sea salts may be beneficial for eczema.  As with any form of treatment, the effects can be different for each person and should be used on an individual basis. It is important to remember that treatments should be used under the supervision of a qualified health professional. 


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1.    Sukenik S. Balneotherapy for rheumatic diseases at the Dead Sea area. Isr J Med Sci.1996;32 Suppl:S16-19; PMID: 8756970.

2.    Harari M, Barzillai R, Shani J. Magnesium in the management of asthma: critical review of acute and chronic treatments, and Deutsches Medizinisches Zentrum's (DMZ's) clinical experience at the Dead Sea. J Asthma.1998;35(7):525-536; PMID: 9777879.

3.    Hollo P, Gonzalez R, Kasa M, et al. Synchronous balneophototherapy is effective for the different clinical types of psoriasis. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol.2005;19(5):578-581; PMID: 16164712.

4.    Oyarzua Alarcon P, Sossa K, Contreras D, et al. Antimicrobial properties of magnesium chloride at low pH in the presence of anionic bases. Magnes Res.2014;27(2):57-68; PMID: 25252874.

5.    Proksch E, Nissen HP, Bremgartner M, et al. Bathing in a magnesium-rich Dead Sea salt solution improves skin barrier function, enhances skin hydration, and reduces inflammation in atopic dry skin. Int J Dermatol.2005;44(2):151-157; PMID: 15689218.

6.    Schiffner R, Schiffner-Rohe J, Gerstenhauer M, et al. Dead Sea treatment - principle for outpatient use in atopic dermatitis: safety and efficacy of synchronous balneophototherapy using narrowband UVB and bathing in Dead Sea salt solution. Eur J Dermatol.2002;12(6):543-548; PMID: 12459524.

7.    Harari M, Shani J, Seidl V, et al. Climatotherapy of atopic dermatitis at the Dead Sea: demographic evaluation and cost-effectiveness. Int J Dermatol.2000;39(1):59-69; PMID: 10651969.

8.    Roos S, Hammes S, Ockenfels HM. [Psoriasis. Natural versus artificial balneophototherapy]. Hautarzt.2010;61(8):683-690; PMID: 20607200.