Salt Use in Beauty Products
There are a number of hair, skin, and beauty benefits to using salt in any form, such as rock salt and sea salt. Among these benefits are decreased inflammation and acne, exfoliation, cleansing properties, electrolytes, and healthier hair.
1. ELECTROLYTES In Salt
- According to Dr. Philip Tanswell, the managing director at The Cornish Sea Salt Company, “natural sea salts contain a number of electrolytes that are essential for healthy cell activity”.
- Sodium — a mineral found in salt, which functions as an electrolyte — is a necessary ingredient for our bodies and skin. Imbalances can lead to “premature aging, dryness, and destruction of the collagen strands in the skin”.
- The electrolytes found in salt also maintain a number of necessary bodily functions which can impact skin’s appearance and health, such as “normalizing blood pressure, regulating blood flow, aiding in nutrient absorption, facilitating nutrient transport and maintaining the integrity of cell membranes”.
- Maintaining an appropriate sodium level also ensures healthy levels of hydration, which further contributes to healthy skin.
2. Decreased INFLAMMATION
- An additional benefit to the use of salt in skincare relates to the mineral’s anti-inflammatory effects.
- According to Dr. Tanswell, “these salts are easily absorbed through the cell wall of our skin and stimulate anti-inflammatory reactions and replenish lost minerals lost during our normal daily routines. Cosmetically, this reduces swelling and reduces wrinkles and other signs of aging”.
- One well-known example of this would be Epsom salts, which are commonly used to treat inflammation and pain from inflammatory diseases. This same benefit can be observed in skincare.
- Salt has been found to have a positive exfoliating effect on the skin, helping to wash away dry or dead skin.
- According to Dr. Arash Akhavan, a dermatologist in New York City, “salt can leave skin ‘visibly smoother and improve skin texture over time'”.
- “Exfoliation is another beauty benefit of salt. Salts make an excellent, non-toxic exfoliating treatment for softening the skin and clearing away dead skin cells.”
- There are a number of exfoliating skin scrubs on the market which make use of salt, such as options from Asutra, Vivo Per Lei, and Majestic Pure Cosmeceuticals.
4. HAIR HEALTH
- In addition to its many skin-related benefits, salt is also helpful for hair care, and can help to soften hair when used appropriately.
- Specifically, sea salt contains a number of minerals which help to improve hair’s health and texture.
- According to Lee Stafford, a hairdresser, “sea salt is loaded with minerals, such as magnesium, sodium and potassium, therefore benefiting the overall health of our hair as well as adding texture and volume”.
- Because of these benefits, there are a number of sea salt shampoos available on the market, including options from Verb, Lush, and Cristophe Robin.
5. CLEANSING PROPERTIES
- Sea and Epsom salt products have also been shown to help cleanse and purify the skin by clearing out dirt and bacteria in pores.
- “Salt has the unique ability to detoxify, heal, cleanse, exfoliate and even hold in moisture all in one.”
- Both sea salts and rock salts have been shown to “have natural antiseptic properties,” which allow them to “kill pathogens, detoxify the skin, and absorb dirt and grime”.
- Because of salt’s cleansing properties, there are a number of face washes, scrubs, and masks on the market which make use of the mineral. Some examples are options from Derma-E and M3.
Salt Use in Wellness Products
Visible trends in the US related to salt and sodium in food include an increasing demand for low-no-sodium products and regulatory guidelines have been implemented on sodium intake. There is a growing trend of using salt/sodium substitutes. Sodium deficiency is rare in the US. Sodium is, however, one of the main ingredient in sports drinks. In summery, the wellness industry tends not to view salt in a positive light, with some exceptions for niche and replacement products or its presence in exercise and sports drinks.
- Salt-inclusive wellness products/supplements include edible items and dietary supplements such as vitamin, mineral, protein herbal, fortified food & beverages, probiotic food, branded iodinated salt, branded wheat flour, sports drinks and fortified juices, as well as food intolerance products.
- These products are additional substances introduced into the human diet to add further nutritional value for enhanced health and gaining essential nutrients.
- The market is dominated by North America in 2018 with the region accounting for 38 percent of the overall market share.
INSIGHTS ON USE OF SALT/SODIUM IN EDIBLE WELLNESS PRODUCTS
-INCREASING DEMAND FOR LOW-NO-SODIUM PRODUCTS
- WHY: A recent Gullup poll it is found that 42 percent of US adults are actively trying to avoid salt in their diets wherein consumers are looking for “permissible indulgence” wherein the taste is not compromised. This means making room for a smaller “allowed” proportion of ingredients such as sugar, fat and salt.
- METRICS: A Heath & Wellness 2017 report states that demand for low sodium products has increased wherein consumers who avoid one “red flag” ingredient are also more likely to avoid others, as to eliminate fat from their diets, they may also be eliminating sugar or salt induced products intake.
- 47 percent of millennial consumers in US are choosing to avoid sodium in their diets. This is lower than the 57 percent rate among Gen Xers and 66 percent among Baby Boomers.
- EXAMPLE: Flavorhealth is creating natural flavor solutions focused on sodium reduction to enable food and beverage manufactures and consumers to participate in the health and wellness trend.
- Euromonitor’s Hartman Analysis 2018 states, due to the growing trend of in lower sodium edible products, the sales for canned soups has declined by 1.2 percent CAGR over the past five years.
-REGULATORY GUIDELINES HAVE BEEN IMPLEMENTED ON SODIUM INTAKE
- WHY: Due to the increasing heart risk by the sodium/salt intake in diet, several health authorities have established guidelines for limiting sodium consumption in US. This includes recommendations from WHO, USDA, US department of health, IOM and others who have limited the daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg (2.3 grams) in an adult diet.
- METRICS:It is found that 75 percent of the processed/packaged edible products consists of high percentage of sodium.
- According to FDA, reducing sodium intake has the potential to prevent hundreds of thousands of premature deaths and illnesses in a decade.
- “Researchers have estimated lowering U.S. sodium intake by about 40 percent over the next decade could save 500,000 lives and nearly $100 billion in healthcare costs.”
- EXAMPLE: FDA is issuing for public comment a draft of “voluntary targets for reducing sodium in commercially processed and prepared food both in the short-term (2 year) and over the long-term (10 year).”
SODIUM DEFICIENCY IS RARE IN US
- WHY: Due to the high consumption of salt buy Americans, it has been found that pursuing a dietary supplement for sodium or having sodium deficiency is extremely rare in US.
- METRICS: An average American consumes at least 1.5 teaspoons of salt per day, or about 3400 mg of sodium, which contains far more than dietary need.
- The most common meals in US such as sandwiches, cold cuts/cured meats, soups, burritos, tacos contain the most sodium.
- EXAMPLE: According to the FDA report, 90 percent of the Americans are taking excess sodium intake on average including children and adolescents also eat more than is recommended, ranging from 2,900 mg per day.
GROWING TREND OF USING SALT/SODIUM SUBSTITUTES
- WHY: The concerns around the excess intake of salt/sodium intake in diet of Americans diet has disrupted the market of probiotics, functional food, and dietary products to induce experiments with other forms of less harmful products.
- METRICS: The market for salt substitute products has been growing rapidly. The US and North America holds the largest market share in the industry, which is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.4 percent from 2018-2023 globally. Potassium salt, flake-salt, and sea-salt are some oft-used substitutes by various companies in US instead of familiar sodium ingredient in edible products.
- EXAMPLE: Gustus Vitae, a probiotic wellness product company in California is launching its latest line of Probiotic Ocean Salt that looks and tastes like sea salt, but which also supports the immune system, digestive health and protein utilization.
- Saltopia, the NJ dietary products company gained popularity with its range of volcanic black lava salt and other flavors like lime and garlic salts sold nationwide.
- Nutek Food Sciences has brought an alternative line of potassium salt which is naturally-sourced potassium salt from ancient sea beds in North America and offers improved nutritional balance to the diet by reducing sodium and replacing it with potassium.
SODIUM IS ONE OF THE MAIN INGREDIENT IN SPORTS DRINKS
- WHY: Water intake is recommended to replace the fluid losses of the body. Substituting or supplementing water with sports drink gives additional boosters due to carbs and electrolytes ingredients that are supposed to improve performance. The main electrolytes found in sports drinks are sodium and potassium. Sodium in sports drinks helps the body retain fluid by maintaining osmotic pressure in blood vessels.
- METRICS: Sodium replacement is considered vital for athletes and are designed for use during exercise. Guidelines recommend that sports drinks have 82–163 mg of sodium per 8 ounces.
- EXAMPLE: Many commercial brands such as Gatorade, Powerade and Allsport are designed to meet these sodium guidelines.
Salt Use in Household Cleaning Products
Salt is used and promoted in many cleaning products. Despite its frequency in toxic cleaning products, salt is overall seen as a natural alternative to toxic cleaning products. Unrefined salt is seen as a better option than refined salt, and excessive salt in water can be harmful for cleaning.
SALT IS PROMOTED IN ALL KINDS OF CLEANING PRODUCT INFORMATION
- Much of online information on cleaning products can be separated into two categories: that which promotes products with toxic chemicals and that which warns against toxic chemicals. Publications in both of these categories promote the use of salt.
- The Farmer’s Almanac, which neither promotes nor avoids products with toxic chemicals, has an article about the many uses of salt.
- The YouTube channel Clean My Space, which includes videos both on how to avoid products with toxic chemicals and how to use them, has a video devoted to the different uses of salt.
BOTH TOXIC AND NON-TOXIC CLEANING PRODUCTS CONTAIN SALT
- Hundreds of cleaning products that also contain toxic chemicals contain salt.
- Fabric softeners, laundry detergents, septic treatments, and some dish detergents typically contain the highest concentration of salt.
SALT IS SEEN AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO TOXIC PRODUCTS
- Using salt-based products is seen as the choice of an informed consumer that wants a healthy alternative.
- Force of Nature, a company that sells a cleaning product that contains only salt, water, and vinegar, presents itself as a powerful non-toxic cleaning product.
- Blogs present salt as a toxin-free alternative to metal polishes, oven cleaners, glass cleaners, and more.
UNREFINED SALTS ARE “BETTER” THAN REFINED
- In cleaning products, some blogs suggest that unrefined salts are better than refined salts because they contain more organic minerals.
ELECTROLYZED WATER IS BETTER THAN SALT-CONTAINING WATER
- Salt-containing water is electrolyzed when an electrical current passes through it.
- Electrolyzed water is better for cleaning because it makes a better grease cleaner and sanitizer.
Salt Use in (OTC) Healthcare
Salt is used as an ingredient in Over the Counter (OTC) medications for several reasons, some being: controlled-release dosage, improved stability of drugs to extend their shelf life, to improve the taste and effectiveness of the drug, targeted drug delivery in the body, reduce pain on injection and ease of processing the drug.
Beneficial vs. Detrimental uses of salt:
- Salt gives stability to medication due to weak chemical make-up (Source 1)
- Salt makes medication more soluble, and able to be ingested/digested (absorbed in the body).
- Salt can provide for the therapeutic effect of the drug (helps drug to interact with body safely).
- Salt can provide for a controlled release of the drug.
- Salts can improve the effectiveness of a drug.
- Salts in medicated creams can help permeate the skin quickly.
- Salts are used with injectable drugs to make them more soluble (70% of injectable drugs have salts).
- Sweet salts can help make medications taste less bitter.
Detrimental Uses of Salts in OTC Medications:
- Salts in medication can lead to heart failure in patients with high blood pressure.
- High blood pressure patients need to watch salt intake, added salts in medications can increase blood pressure.
We were unable to find metrics on OTC manufacturing trends using salt.
- Salt is used as a pharmacological ingredient for solubility, targeted delivery of a drug, and controlled release of a drug.
- Salt will continue to be used in the production of OTC medications as approved by FDA (Orange Book).
- Drug companies use salt in OTC medications for reasons such as: targeted drug delivery in body, solubility of drug to have therapeutic effect, stability of drug, taste and shelf life.
Salt Use in Desserts
Salt enhances the sweetness in desserts and brings out its aromatic flavor compounds. Sodium, being an essential mineral our body needs to function, makes our body physiologically crave for a little saltiness in desserts. The preference for sweet and salty flavored desserts is up by 32%, therefore, chefs and product developers are now creating desserts with unusual and exotic taste using salt and other savory flavors.
INSIGHTS / FACTS Regarding the Use of SALT as an Ingredient in Desserts
#1. THE SCIENCE BEHIND OUR LOVE FOR A LITTLE SALTY TASTE IN DESSERT
- According to a research assistant in the Sensory Service Center in North Carolina, Angelina Schiano, having the love for sweet and salty taste is part of a person’s evolution.
- Schiano said that we love the sweet taste because from being a baby, we first encountered breast milk which is essentially sweet. But the next to develop is our love for salty taste around four months old as part of a child’s development.
- Sodium, being an essential mineral our body needs to function, makes our body crave for a little saltiness in desserts.
- Since our body needs a certain amount of salt, thus, when used in baking, it makes us enjoy the dessert we eat.
#2. SALT AS A FLAVOR ENHANCER
- From research, it was found that the tongue’s sweetness receptors send the sweet taste to cells only when there is the “presence of sodium“, thus explains why and how salt enhances the sweetness.
- When used with precision, salt does not make desserts taste salty, it only brings out the characteristic of the food. It turns a two-dimensional taste to three-dimensional taste.
- Salt cuts too much sweetness but “magnifies” the existing flavor to make it taste even better and give certain “balance” to its taste and flavor.
- Salt also enhances one’s “perception of other aromatic flavor compounds in our food”.
#3. WAYS THAT SALT AFFECTS THE DESSERT’S APPEARANCE, NOT JUST THE TASTE
- Aside from its effect in taste and flavor, salt affects the appearance as well. If needed yet not included, the “perfect golden color” of pies or tarts may not be achieved.
- If salt is used when one wants to brown a pastry dough, the best kind to use is fine sea salt.
- Salt reduces the oily texture of butter that sometimes makes the dessert look greasy.
- In dough recipes, salt helps in activating the yeast.
- It also acts as an anti-caking agent and as an emulsifier when baking.
#4. MILLENNIALS, AMONG OTHER GENERATIONS, ARE MOST LIKELY TO LOVE SALTY/SAVORY DESSERTS
- According to a food trend research from CCD Innovation, 67% of Millennial moms consider themselves “adventure eaters“.
- The combination of sweet and salty taste in desserts is becoming popular for Millennials as they look for new flavors.
- This generation looks for “big and bold” flavors since they grew up accustomed to flavors that are “acquired” through a combination of different tastes.
- Salted caramel, though basic, is a popular flavor in snack foods in the past, even it does not have the new innovations on how salt was being used today in some desserts. Thus, Millennials who lived during those times are most likely the generation to love sweet and salty combinations in desserts.
TRENDS Regarding the Use of SALT as an Ingredient in Desserts
#1. SWEET AND SALTY: DUAL FLAVORS TRENDING IN HARMONY
- According to a global culinary trendologist, Christine Couvelier, dairy-free desserts are starting to proliferate in the coming years. Therefore, product developers, as well as chefs, are now creating desserts that are not sugar bomb and tries other unusual and exotic flavors.
- The preference for sweet and salty flavored desserts is up by 32%.
- Coolhaus in New York City is an example of a food truck concept that continuously experiments with the combination of sweet and savory flavors in their dessert. It serves ice cream sandwiches with “seasonal flavors like avocado sea salt and campfire s’mores between a variety of cookies”.
- Salt & Straw, an ice cream cart in Los Angeles, stands out with its “Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons, made with salt from the renowned Mark Bitterman”.
#2. PINK HIMALAYAN SEA SALT AS A GARNISH/DECORATION
- Pink Himalayan sea salt is becoming a vibrant addition to decorate desserts among pastry art students.
- The few, minor but safe impurities of Himalayan sea salt “add a variety of pink hues“. Because of this characteristic, it is used as a garnish.
- Pink Himalayan salt, even when swapped with the regular salt doesn’t alter the taste that the latter can give, but it gives addition to the dessert’s visual presentation.
- Bon Appetit serves hazelnut butter cake with sea salt caramel that uses a sprinkle of this pink sea salt on top of the chewy caramel.
- Other examples on where Himalayan sea salt can be used is as a decorative frosted element for cakes to give them a pink pastel appeal.