Last updated by Dr Sarah Brewer on
Dead Sea salt and Dead Sea mud were revered for their health and beauty benefits by both Cleopatra and the Queen of Sheba. In modern times, they are used as a cosmetic treatment for the skin and to support the medical treatment of psoriasis, eczema and arthritis. Dead Sea mud was also the reason I once appeared naked as a centre-fold spread in the Daily Mirror! See below for details on how to win a range of 11 Malki Dead Sea mineral products which are available from Boots.com.
Dead Sea products
The Dead Sea is the lowest place on Earth that you can walk to, at 430 metres below sea level. The hypersaline lake has a mineral content as high as 34% – almost ten times more salty than the oceans. It is so buoyant that you literally float on the surface like a cork.
Over thousands of years, pure rainwater has trickled down through the rocks and soils of the Jordan Rift Valley to deposit a muddy sediment around the shore which is also rich in mineral salts.
The minerals found in Dead Sea salt and mud include:
The Dead Sea has been a popular health resort for at least two thousand years, as bathing in the waters and applying the mud has beneficial effects on the skin.
But you don’t have to visit the Dead Sea region to experience these benefits. Dead Sea minerals and mineral mud treatments are available for home use. Every bath I take has added Dead Sea salt, and I regularly use Dead Sea mineral mud and face packs. Here’s why….
Dead Sea products for general skin health
Dead Sea skin care ranges contain minerals that help to exfoliate, condition and hydrate the skin. The antiseptic properties of the minerals also reduces spots. Many skin care products contain additional natural ingredients such as olive oil, coconut and palm oils that help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
While using Dead Sea salt products, your skin feels silky soft and invigorated.
Oils, dirt and sweat are lifted out of pores and afterwards your skin is glowing, soft and smooth.
While pure raw mud is best avoided on the face, gentle black mud masks and soaps suitable for facial use are available, too.
Dead Sea products for acne
Dead Sea black mud mask soap is a great natural treatment for skin blemishes associated with acne, especially if your skin is also oily. Use the bar to cleanse your face (or body) using lukewarm water and gently stroke the soap bar across your skin in the direction of hair growth.
Dead Sea products are also available from Boots.com.
Dead Sea products for psoriasis
Psoriasis is associated with increased production of skin cells that develop around 10 times faster than normal. This causes a build up of silver white plaques with underlying skin redness.
Bathing in Dead Sea salts and applying Dead Sea mud can significantly improve psoriasis, and this has been attributed to skin cells absorbing magnesium, calcium, bromide, selenium and zinc. Blood levels of bromide, for example, can triple after a four-week course of treatment. Increased red blood cell antioxidant activity was also noted as a result of the selenium rich drinking water in the Dead Sea area.
Dead Sea minerals have been found to slow the rapid rate of skin cell turnover so that treated skin cells return to normal when viewed under an electron microscope. The inhibitory effects of magnesium bromide and magnesium chloride in Dead Sea salts are particular effective at reducing psoriasis cell overgrowth.
In some countries, Dead Sea therapy is a recognised medical treatment for psoriasis, with trips funded by private health insurance companies. I have spent time at two medical dermatology clinics in the area, and reviewed medical records showing that between 70% and 94% of people with psoriasis who visit the clinics for daily treatments. Exposure to Dead Sea water, minerals, mud and sunlight can result in complete, or almost complete, clearing of psoriasis plaques within four weeks.
Having a Dead Sea bath salt treatment for 20 minutes, every day, for 3 weeks has also been found to improve psoriasis significantly more (34.8% reduction in Psoriasis Area and Severity Index) than when using common salt (27.5% reduction).
Dead Sea products for eczema
Anyone with dry, flaky skin will benefit from treatment with Dead Sea products. Even dilute solutions of dead sea salts and Dead Sea water-enriched creams can improve atopic dermatitis (eczema).
A study involving 1718 people with eczema showed that a 4 week course of Dead Sea climatotherapy treatment cleared more than 95% of eczema skin problems. Some of this benefit is from the unique climatic conditions and ultraviolet exposure, but the magnesium in Dead Sea minerals and mud also contribute to the anti-inflammatory effects.
Magnesium salts are the most prevalent minerals in Dead Sea water. A study asked volunteers with atopic dry skin to submerge one forearm in a solution containing 5% Dead Sea salt for 15 minutes, while the other arm was submerged in tap water as control. Dermatologists assessed their skin hydration, skin roughness, skin redness and water losses before and after the treatment, and at weekly intervals afterwards for 6 weeks. The volunteers were instructed not to use any kind of emollient on their forearms for 3 days before, or at any time during the follow-up period.
Bathing an arm just once in the dilute Dead Sea salt solution significantly improved skin hydration and skin barrier function compared with tap water and the researchers concluded that treatment with Dead Sea minerals moisturizes the skin. Skin roughness and redness were also significantly reduced after bathing in the salt solution. The researchers suggested that the effects are due to magnesium salts binding water, improving skin cell quality and enhancing permeability barrier repair.
Apply a body cream enriched with Dead Sea minerals can also improve the clinical severity of eczema in children and can be used as a maintenance treatment for atopic dermatitis.
Dead Sea products for arthritis
Doctors in some parts of Europe refer patients with arthritis to Dead Sea clinics for mineral therapy. They receive daily mud baths, in which mud is warmed to 42 degrees C and applied to the skin for 20 minutes each day (popularly known as Mudding).
Most people with arthritis notice a significant improvement in pain, morning stiffness, walking speed, general mobility and joint swelling. Treatment is ideally continued for two weeks, though improvements can occur after only a few sessions. These beneficial effects last for up to three months after treatment, although the exact way in which it works is not fully understood. It seems to help many forms of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis.
Not surprisingly, Dead Sea climatotherapy has a significant positive effect on quality of life in people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
You can use Dead Sea salt mineral baths and/or Dead Sea mineral mud treatments to help reduce arthritis pain and inflammation. These treatments are also useful for relieving sports’ injuries.
Patients who visit dermatology clinics at the Dead Sea are also exposed to natural ultraviolet light, which significantly increases their blood levels of vitamin D and may contribute to the improvement in rheumatic symptoms, so consider taking a vitamin D supplement, too.
Dead Sea mineral hair products
Dead sea minerals blended with natural oils cleanse hair and leave it glossy, shining, smooth and detangled without irritating the scalp. Dead Sea based shampoo and condition are also great for treating itchy scalp and for people with scalp psoriasis.
How to use Dead Sea mineral mud
Dead Sea mineral mud is jet black, silky smooth and sold in foil packs. It is best applied warm and feels soft, soothing and relaxing.
The heat is usually retained by wrapping yourself in cling film, foil or hot towels. You then relax for 20 – 30 minutes while the mud has its beneficial effects.
If you have the mud treatment at a health spa, your skin may first be primed with a tingling Dead Sea Salt scrub to remove dead flakes and stimulate circulation.
After the mud is showered off you will feel warm, glowing yet relaxed at the same time.
Mineral salts are less messy, and can be dissolved in bath water and easily used for regular soaks at home. Afterward soaking in a mineral salt bath for 20 minutes at night, you will feel very relaxed and will find you sleep unusually deeply.
As a bonus, you will have given yourself an all-over skin treatment, too.
Malki Dead Sea products
Malki Dead Sea products are a leading brand available from Boots.com. The range is free from detergents and can be used on sensitive skin. Their fabulous selection of 11 Dead Sea mineral salt and mud products, which I use regularly, include:
- Dead Sea Natural Mineral Soap
- Dead Sea Natural Black Mud Mask Soap
- Dead Sea Natural Sulphur Soap
- Dead Sea Body Scrub With Frankincense Oil
- Dead Sea Aromatherapy Bath Salts With Frankincense Oil & Rose Petals
- Dead Sea Natural Mineral Shampoo
- Dead Sea Natural Mineral Conditioner
- Dead Sea Natural Mineral Shower Cream
- Dead Sea Natural Mineral Facial Wash
- Dead Sea Natural Mineral Body Lotion
- Dead Sea Genuine Bath Salts
Image credits: Malki Dead Sea Products; Israeltourism/flickr;