Have you ever wondered why psoriasis patients say the Dead Sea is soothing on their skin?

You may have heard this if you are living with psoriasis: Take a trip to a place in the Middle East, soak your skin in a peculiar body of water where nothing grows or lives, and walk away feeling amazing. We are talking about the Dead Sea, which is a salt lake that borders Jordan, Israel and Palestine. It gets its name from its harsh, salty environment, which cannot support visible plant or animal life.1

People with psoriasis have long been making journeys to the Dead Sea, where the mineral-rich waters are thought to be soothing for the skin.1 What is it that makes the Dead Sea feel so beneficial for the skin? It’s an interesting question, and it seems as though there are several factors that may contribute to the powers of the water.

The power of magnesium

First, there’s the water itself. The Dead Sea is extremely salty and the water is also rich in minerals, including magnesium2, known to have favorable effects on inflammatory conditions3. So, perhaps by soaking in the Dead Sea, the mineral rich waters are absorbed into the layers of skin, helping keep the skin hydrated and reducing inflammation.3

Natural light therapy

Additionally, there might be more to the Dead Sea’s skin soothing powers than the water itself. An Israeli study compared psoriasis patients who bathed in the Dead Sea with those who bathed in the exact same water elsewhere (with parallel salt content and magnesium), and found the first group showed the better results.4 In other words, the geography and climate of the area also appear to contribute to the skin soothing benefits.

Relaxing benefits

It’s also possible that relaxation plays an important part in the soothing process – after all, stress may be a trigger of psoriasis5 – and what can be more relaxing than floating around in a lake, enveloped by sunshine?

Happy floating!

References

1Encyclopaedia Britannica, Dead Sea. Last accessed: 19 July 2019. https://www.britannica.com/place/Dead-Sea

2Maslow, J. Secrets of the Dead Sea. Accessed 19 July 2019 https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/secrets-of-the-dead-sea/

3Bathing in a magnesium-rich Dead Sea salt solution improves skin barrier function, enhances skin hydration, and reduces inflammation in atopic dry skin. Proksch E1, Nissen HP, Bremgartner M, Urquhart C. Int J Dermatol. 2005 Feb;44(2):151-7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15689218

4Everyday Health – Is Dead Sea Salt an Effective Psoriasis Treatment? Last accessed: 19 July 2019 http://www.everydayhealth.com/psoriasis/can-dead-sea-salt-treat-psoriasis.aspx 

5National Psoriasis Foundation: Stress and psoriatic disease. Last accessed: 19 July 2019 https://www.psoriasis.org/life-with-psoriasis/stress

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