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Friday, July 07, 2017

The king of kitchen ingredients has a lot more to offer than simply appetising our food. Pearl Mathias tells you about the beauty benefits of salt and simple ways to make the most of them

It doesn’t matter whether you pick Himalayan crystal salt or plain old sea salt, this kitchen staple is crucial for proper functioning of the body. Other than making food taste good, salt also helps improve thyroid function and quality of sleep. But, we’re not here to talk about the ill effects of low sodium in your diet or what too much salt can do to your system. We’re telling you how the inclusion of salt in your beauty regime can work wonders for your hair, skin and nails. Here’s the story of how this humble kitchen ingredient can be so much more.

Reduces stress
The Greeks have been using thalassotherapy since ancient times. Derived from the Greek word thalassa, meaning ‘sea’, the therapy uses warm seawater to help you relax. Salt is known to absorb dirt, grime and toxins from the skin, leaving it clean and hydrated. Get this: if adding salt to your diet can help improve sleep, how much better would your sleep pattern be after soaking in a tub of warm saline water?

Helps detoxify
Being a natural detoxifier, sea salt absorb toxins from the skin. Simply make a paste of salt and water, apply it to your skin and wait for a few minutes before you step into the shower. Massage it gently on your skin before washing it off.

Acts as an exfoliator
Being a natural exfoliant, salt is also gentle when used on the skin. Scrubbing salt on your skin helps get rid of dead skin cells and softens it as well. But, make sure that the salt you use is smooth and does not scratch your skin. All you need to do is mix half a cup of salt with a quarter cup of aloe vera juice or an essential oil of your choice and scrub your body with it before heading into the shower.

Brightens nails
Along with baking soda and lemon, salt too plays an important role in softening your cuticles and strengthening your nails. Mix one teaspoon each of these ingredients in a cup of warm water, soak your nails in this solution for a few minutes, and follow it up by scrubbing with a brush. This helps to reduce the yellow tint on your nails and gets rid of stains, making them appear healthy.

Whitens teeth
You’ve heard about the goodness of baking soda and banana peel when it comes to whitening your teeth; salt is also a gentle abrasive, which helps get rid of stains on your pearly whites. Another bonus for your teeth and gums is that salt is a natural source of fluoride. Mix two teaspoons of baking soda with one teaspoon of salt and form a paste with a little water. Dip a damp toothbrush in the paste and go about your brushing routine. If you feel like the mixture is too strong for you to bear, dab a little of the toothpaste you normally use on the brush before dipping it in the baking soda mixture.

Fights dandruff
Along with stimulating circulation for a healthy scalp, salt helps to get rid of existing flakes of dandruff that are present on it. Other than loosening flakes and helping to get rid of them, salt also helps decrease excess oil that is produced by the scalp; this reduces the growth of fungus on your scalp. All you need to do is sprinkle one or two teaspoons of salt in the parting of your hair and massage it thoroughly with wet hands for around 15 minutes. Follow this up with the shampoo and conditioner that you normally use.

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