Does salt water help acne? That’s a definite yes! In this post, learn all about the benefits of using salt water for acne as an all-natural cure. You can’t use any old salt though – this guide will show you which salt to use to get the best results, as well as the unconventional but effective steps to follow that will clear acne.

does salt water help acne

Read on to learn how to cure your acne fast with salt water!

How Does Salt Water Help Acne?

Acne is caused by p. acnes bacteria. Using saltwater on acne is very beneficial due to its antiseptic ability to kill bacteria, balance the pH level of the skin, and provide much-needed minerals to the skin.

It also dries out pimples, since a high concentration of salt works to kill bacteria in a cell due to the process of osmosis. When sea salt is applied to acne, the water from inside the bacteria wants to move outside the cell to try to create equilibrium. In doing so, it dehydrates the bacterial cell and it starts to break down. 1 Say goodbye to all those pus filled whiteheads!

What Type Of Acne Does Salt Water Get Rid Of?

Is salt-water good for your face? Yes, and all types of acne can benefit from using salt water! Whether it is hormonal acne, cystic acne, or fungal acne, all conditions can be greatly improved by following this sea salt for skin routine.

Read More: Best Fungal Acne Treatment At Home: The Ultimate Guide

Sea salt water helps kill the overabundance of yeast in the hair follicle, which is a cause of fungal acne. Applying sea salt water to your hormonal acne also helps soothe the inflamed cysts and nodules due to the calming trace minerals it contains.

Best Sea Salt For Acne

This is such an important point! When I say salt, I mean SEA SALT! To take it a step further, it needs to be completely natural. No anti-caking additives should be in it.

Using table salt is not wise in this instance. In fact, it could make your skin worse.

Stick to using Himalayan sea salt, or what I personally use: Redmond Life Real Salt.

This salt is mined from an underground prehistoric sea that has been encased by a layer of clay. This means that it has been protected from modern-day pollutants that are found in our seas now.

Whatever you choose, you’ll want to stick to using natural sea salt with no additives and not table salt to reiterate.

In doing so, the method of using saltwater for acne will be most effective!

Furthermore, sea salt is very important to use because it contains many trace minerals that will also help your skin. While the salt water will kill the bacteria, the minerals found in the salt water will help heal and soothe the inflammation that occurs with acne. Breakouts will look much calmer and disappear faster.

How To Use Sea Salt For Acne

sea salt

This is my unconventional way of using salt water to help acne. I find doing this routine is best before bed, as explained below.

Have a Bowl Ready

Get a bowl that is big enough for you to comfortably be able to submerge part of your face in.

Make The Sea Salt Water For Face

Use distilled water and heat it in the microwave. Alternatively, use regular water and boil it. Let both cool until it is comfortable to the touch but still warm. The water needs to be warm/hot but not burning.

Make sure you add enough of the water to where you can submerge your face comfortably, and not have to angle far down in the bowl. Dissolve enough of your sea salt into the water until it tastes like seawater. The amount of salt will vary for each person depending on the size of your bowl/amount of water in your bowl.

Soak The Skin in Sea Water

Lay a towel underneath the bowl to catch water spillover. Submerge the affected area in the sea salt water. I worked in sections, cheek area, temples, chin, sides of the jaw, etc. You will need to submerge the skin in the warm salt water for at least 5 minutes.

This is where it does get a bit uncomfortable if you are sitting at a table with your neck bent over. But it is so effective! You can easily watch a YouTube video, etc. on your phone while you wait to kill the time.

You might also need to add more warm water if it starts cooling down. Using the warm water really helps unclog and melt away all the oils, dead skin cells, and bacteria that is in your skin and found in the acne breakouts.

The warm water also softens the skin and will better help the minerals in the salt heal the acne breakouts.

Let The Salt Water Solution Dry On Skin

After you have soaked your skin and the affected acne areas in the salt water, gently pat off excess salt water runoff but do not rinse off the salt water. You will want to let the salt water solution dry on your skin and then sleep with it overnight.

I typically have pretty dry skin and found that letting the salt water dry on my skin didn’t feel uncomfortable or tight. I didn’t apply moisturizer either! But, if you wish to you can add moisturizer after the salt water has dried.

Repeat Steps Until Your Skin Clears

The next morning, wash your face as you normally would and add in your normal skincare. Then repeat the same process the next night. Keep doing this until you see your face is healing, and the acne is going away. You can see results fast in a few days.

Apply Sea Salt To Face With A Cotton Pad

As your face clears up, occasionally repeat this process when needed. You can also use the salt water solution on a cotton pad and wipe your face with it for maintenance, kind of like a salt water face wash. Leave it on overnight as well, then wash it off in the morning. I find that this is best for after you have your face under control, and the method mentioned above is fastest for major breakouts.

My Personal Experience Applying Salt Water to Help Acne

I learned the power of sea salt skin benefits about 5 years ago. Let me explain the crazy story of how I started this unconventional routine.

Experiencing A Cystic Acne Outbreak

After suffering from cystic acne all throughout my teenage years, I was left with deep acne scars. All I wanted was to get rid of them and being a young adult with no money to spare for the dermatologist, I was desperate to try anything.

I had heard about dermarolling benefits for acne scars, and tried it out on the scars on my cheeks. Unfortunately, I didn’t do enough research and lots of things went wrong. I don’t think I sterilized the roller properly, gave my skin enough time to heal between treatments, and didn’t know that dermarolling is just not great for your skin to begin with.

Learn why I believe that dermarolling is bad for your skin, and why you should use a microneedling pen instead here!

Read More: Microneedling at Home

Basically, after a few weeks of dermarolling, I had huge cystic acne breakouts on my cheeks. I hadn’t had active acne since my teenage years as mentioned before. Looking back, I had probably infected my skin and caused these breakouts. As you can imagine, I was devastated because now I had zits all over as well as acne scars.

Also, if you are struggling with deep acne scars as well, read this article on how to get rid of acne scars realistically at home. (Make sure you get your acne under control first!)

Read More: How To Get Rid Of Atrophic Acne Scars [Realistic Ways]

The Solution

I remembered how my skin looked a lot better when in the ocean. Knowing that sea salt is great to kill bacteria, I experimented with a sea salt soak. Following the steps mentioned above, my cystic acne was healing within a week. Then, after two weeks of (mostly) following this routine all the cystic, painful breakouts were gone! Once they healed up, they didn’t come back either.

Fast forward a few years to when I was pregnant with my first child. I used this same routine to help with the breakouts I was experiencing from pregnancy hormones. I loved that it was something safe to use to get rid of pregnancy acne.

Does Salt Water Help Acne? An Overview

So, does salt water help acne? I truly believe it does! Having used this unconventional routine many times when I have experienced bad acne breakouts, it’s been a lifesaver. Salt water is so good for your skin, but only if you use the best sea salt for skin.

I hope you enjoyed learning a new way to get rid of acne if that is something you are struggling with. Please, give it a try because I know it will help you! If you have any questions on how to do this at home, please leave a comment below and I will get back to you.

Best, Mia

This content is for informational purposes only, and what has worked for me personally based on my own opinions. I am not a professional/medical doctor, and you should always consult your doctor or dermatologist on what will work best for you. The information presented here is not legitimate, official advice from a professional. If you choose to rely on any information from this blog, you do so at your own risk. Please refer to the “Blog Disclaimer” tab in the menu bar to read more information and the official disclaimer statement.


  1. Walsh, Elliot. “How to Kill Bacteria With Salt”, 19 December 2020

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