Can You Use Salt to Exfoliate Your Face?

Salt-scrub exfoliation maintains a bright complexion.
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Regular facial exfoliation keeps your skin looking fresh and vibrant instead of dull and drab. Removing built-up dead skin cells and other pore gunk is a must for proper skin care. If the sheer volume of store-bought exfoliators makes your head spin, you may wonder if that salt shaker would do an equally good job. The answer is yes -- as long as you use the right salt, the right way.

1 Benefiting from Salt Exfoliation

Salt crystals are irregularly shaped and thus gently polish the skin to remove dead surface skin, microscopic dirt and oil. In addition, salt is an all-natural product that doesn’t contain harsh chemicals or perfumes that can cause skin irritation in some. The cost of salt is also much cheaper than most commercially available exfoliation products and it's readily available.

2 Choosing the Right Type

Choosing the right type of salt is critical to getting the polished look you want. Regular table-salt granules are typically too small to exfoliate well. Instead, opt for a medium-grit sea salt or Epsom salt, both of which are available at health food stores or in the health and beauty aisle of general retailers. According to the sea salt company SaltWorks, Epsom salt provides additional health benefits in addition to exfoliation. The magnesium and sulfate in Epsom salt seeps into your skin, helping to reduce inflammation, flush toxins and even alleviate headaches.

3 Adding Oil to Salt

No matter which salt you choose, adding it to an oil is a must to help it move smoothly over your face. For every half cup of salt, add in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Mix the two until the mixture sticks together like mud when you squeeze it in your hand. For a super-relaxing aromatherapy experience, add a teaspoon of herbs -- such as mint or rosemary -- to the mixture.

4 Perfecting Your Technique

Massage the salt scrub over your face gently using the tips of your fingers. The key to effective exfoliation is a gentle touch -- use circular motions to really get the scrub down into your pores. Don’t press down too hard with your fingers or you can scratch the skin. You must also avoid getting the salt near the eyes and mouth areas. Rinse the salt solution off using lukewarm water and a dab of facial cleanser if you don’t like the oily feel. Pat your skin dry and admire your freshly scrubbed, glowing skin.

Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.