Dead Sea minerals are advertised as a major selling point for many skincare and beauty products. But what’s the hype all about -- and are Dead Sea minerals worth it?
Tourists from across the globe visit the Dead Sea each year to experience the unique saltwater lake. The mineral-rich Dead Sea mud, as well as the extra-salty water, is renowned for having healing properties. However, you don’t need to book a flight to experience these benefits for yourself. Products with Dead Sea minerals in them offer an easy way to take those restorative properties home.
Wondering what Dead Sea minerals can do for you, and why they’re so special? Let’s take a closer look at what you should know about the minerals of the Dead Sea.
What Makes the Dead Sea Special?
The list of things that make this landlocked saltwater lake unique is long. The Dead Sea boasts the lowest elevation of any land of the Earth, at more than 1,400 feet below sea level. Each year, it gets a bit lower, as the water that once ran into the sea from the Jordan River now gets used by the inhabitants of Palestine, Israel, and Jordan. Someday, this might cause the waters to drain away entirely.
The Dead Sea is a hypersaline lake, making it one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world, and it's also the deepest of all the hypersaline lakes. Its salt content is about nine times greater than that of the ocean. This high salt and mineral content means animals and plants can’t thrive in its waters, which is where the name comes from. Exploring the Dead Sea has proved a challenge for researchers: swallowing the ultra-salty water on accident can quickly lead to asphyxiation, making divers reluctant to probe its depths.
All around the Dead Sea, a crust of salt lies on every rock and surface. People can’t truly swim in this water -- the salt makes it so dense that you can only float. However, this harsh sea isn’t as dead as the name would have you believe. Some microbes live in the thick salty water, thriving in the absence of competitors that can’t survive the salinity.
How Was the Dead Sea Formed?
Scientists aren’t quite sure just how this unique place came to be, but they have a few theories. No matter what, we know the shifting of the Earth’s tectonic plates created this deep rift in the land that reaches well below sea level. But it’s not clear whether a true rift caused the Dead Sea or an extension of the Earth’s crust in a “stepover” fault. There’s a great deal of fascinating geology in this part of the world, making it hard to pinpoint exactly what caused the Dead Sea to form.
Water from the Mediterranean initially flooded the Dead Sea area, millions of years ago. This bay was connected to the sea until the rifts in the Earth’s crust caused the land around it to rise, cutting it off from water supplies aside from the Jordan River and underground springs. Over the centuries, the bodies of water in this valley shifted, changed, and eventually formed the modern-day Dead Sea.
Minerals and Mud of the Dead Sea
In addition to being geologically unique and extremely salty, the Dead Sea boasts dozens of different minerals in its mud and water. People have been using the Dead Sea for its restorative properties for centuries.
Some believe that the Queen of Sheba was the first to state that this body of water had healing properties. Famous people from Cleopatra to modern-day celebrities have found ways to use Dead Sea minerals for their own health and beauty needs.
Today, people no longer need to travel to this natural spa to reap its benefits. Many companies harvest the minerals and salts from the Dead Sea and package them into products that get shipped all over the world. People use these ingredients to treat issues ranging from external problems, like psoriasis and dermatitis, to diseases like fibromyalgia.
Mud soaks, mineral baths, face masks, and more are made using the minerals found in the water and along the banks of this hypersaline lake.
Why Minerals are Good for You
For the most part, the human body takes care of itself. However, it doesn’t make all the minerals and vitamins that we need -- that’s why we have to eat healthy foods or take certain supplements to avoid deficiencies. There are two types of minerals our bodies need, macrominerals and microminerals. We need macrominerals in larger amounts and microminerals in much smaller amounts.
It’s not just our internal organs that benefit from these minerals: the surface of our skin does too. Many minerals come from salt, so the high salinity of the Dead Sea also means a higher mineral content.
The Benefits of Dead Sea Minerals
How exactly can these minerals benefit you? Let’s take a look at a few of the issues that Dead Sea minerals, such as zinc, calcium, and magnesium, can improve when applied to the skin.
Sulfur may not sound like a beauty product, but it’s been shown to help clear up acne and is an essential part of many modern acne treatments. The high sulfur content in Dead Sea mud helps purify the skin, so acne-causing bacteria can’t thrive.
If you’ve ever gone through a high-stress time in your life, you know that the stress shows up on your skin. Minerals can help reduce the signs of stress on your skin by detoxifying the surface and improving circulation. The reduction in toxins results in clearer, smoother, healthier skin.
Psoriasis causes your body to create new skin cells too fast. That creates scaly patches of thickened skin as the new cells grow more quickly than your body can shed old ones.
Some minerals can help your body shed its old cells more effectively, though, and improve the circulation to keep existing skin healthier. That helps keep psoriasis at bay by reducing the triggers that cause outbreaks.
Improved circulation and more supple skin reduce the appearance of cellulite. When you have cellulite, your skin appears lumpy and dimpled. Fat pushes through the skin’s connective tissue, creating this effect.
When you boost your skin’s circulation and elasticity with topically applied minerals, you can help strengthen your skin’s barrier against these fat deposits. Cellulite will be less apparent with regular application of Dead Sea minerals.
The Dead Sea contains high quantities of bromine and magnesium. It reduces allergic reactions by cleansing the skin. Lots of research supports the effectiveness of these ingredients for treating allergy-prone skin.
The minerals found in the Dead Sea can also help relieve the itchiness caused by eczema. It causes areas of skin to become rough, inflamed, itchy, or red. Dead Sea minerals help control these reactions and soothe the skin, bringing relief for both the cause and the symptoms.
Even if you don’t have a diagnosable skin condition, the chances are good that you suffer from dry skin from time to time -- or all the time. The minerals and electrolytes in the Dead Sea help your skin retain and replenish moisture. It keeps your skin healthy and relieves the temporary discomfort of dry skin.
Keeping the skin hydrated and elastic can also help reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
Applying minerals to the skin topically improves circulation, which can help reduce inflammation related to arthritis. When you have arthritis, you experience pain in your joints from swelling. There are many different kinds of arthritis, but no matter which one you have, targeting the inflammation means you’ll reduce the pain and regain more mobility.
When your scalp gets enough of the right minerals, the hair follicles become detoxified and stimulated to keep making new hair. Your hair grows better when the scalp is properly nourished and cleaned.
The sulfur that helps control acne can also reduce dandruff. Overproduction of oil in the scalp creates dandruff or skin cells that stick together until they become visible white flakes. Dead Sea sulfur treats dandruff without drying out your scalp or hair, by cleansing the scalp properly without damage.
What Can Dead Sea Minerals Do for You?
The minerals found in the Dead Sea are also found elsewhere in the world. They just aren’t found in such high concentrations. Thanks to its unique geological factors, the Dead Sea happens to have large amounts of these proven useful nutrients.
That makes the Dead Sea an easy, effective source of mineral content with visible benefits for the face, scalp, and skin. It’s not pseudo-science: researchers have conducted many studies on the beneficial properties of all these minerals.
If you’re interested in natural, sustainable skincare with a scientific basis, you’ll love products containing Dead Sea minerals. When’s the last time you checked the ingredient labels on your skincare products? Are you ready to give the proven natural benefits of Dead Sea minerals a try? Leave a comment and let us know!
Featured Image: Public Domain, Adiel lo, via Wikimedia Commons.