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Monday, October 18, 2021

Beauty hacks: Can saltwater cure spots?

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The hack

With its bacteria-killing properties, can plain old saltwater really get rid of spots?

The promise

Acne-prone TikTok users believe this works. I don’t have acne, but I do have regular spots, which I treat with Mario Badescu Drying Lotion (£16.25). Saltwater is obviously a much cheaper alternative.

The test

While saltwater does have a gentle antimicrobial effect – saline solution is often used after piercing – it’s also very drying to sensitive skins. As for the pH part, clear skin is slightly acidic and usually around 5.5, while acne-prone skin tends to be less acidic, with a pH of around 6-6.5. So to balance the latter, you’d need more acidity. As seawater is alkaline, that theory doesn’t quite hold. I washed my face in it for a few days, but my eczema-prone skin was justifiably furious, and dry. That aside, when a spot so deep that I could almost feel it in my soul erupted, I dissolved sea salt in warm water, applied it with a cotton bud several times a day, and it did speed up recovery a tad.

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This article comes from Saturday, the new print magazine from the Guardian which combines the best features, culture, lifestyle and travel writing in one beautiful package. Available now in the UK and ROI.

Photograph: GNM

The verdict

I know first-hand that chronic skin conditions can feel desperate, and you’ll try anything to fix them. But my advice? Speak to your doctor first. And for occasional spots? Drying lotions are still my go-to.

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