The Dead Sea is a salt water lake in the Middle East, located between Israel and Jordan. The geographical features of the Dead Sea — including the fact that the lake is at the lowest sea level of any body of water on earth and surrounded by mountains — makes the surrounding silt and mud rich with a unique combination of minerals like magnesium, sodium, and potassium.
People use Dead Sea mud to treat health conditions ranging from psoriasis to back pain. A great deal of research backs up claims that Dead Sea mud can relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and more.
1. Helps improve psoriasis
Dead Sea mud can be applied as a compress to psoriasis flares. Researchers have established that the high concentrations of salt and other chemical compounds in the mud can be used to treat psoriasis effectively.
Using Dead Sea mud as a mud compress in areas where your psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis is, can decrease symptoms and relieve pain caused by inflammation.
2. Reduces skin impurities
If you have dry skin, try a Dead Sea mud mask. Mud masks can work to remove impurities and dead skin on your body.
An added benefit of Dead Sea mud is that the salt and magnesium in it can improve your skin’s functionality by making it a better barrier and more elastic. Dead Sea salt has also been shown as a treatment to make skin healthier.
3. Provides relief for arthritis
In one older experiment, heated mud packs were applied to the extremities of people with arthritis for 20 minutes, once per day, over a span of 2 weeks. This study used Dead Sea mud and people saw a marked decrease in their arthritis symptoms that lasted up to three months.
People with inflammatory arthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis, are more likely to experience this benefit.
4. Helps soothe chronic back pain
Data from a 2014 study indicated that a Dead Sea mud compress applied five times a week for three consecutive weeks, led to a significant improvement in symptoms for people with chronic lower back pain. Further research is still needed with a greater sample size to confirm these findings.
5. Helps treat acne
Dead Sea mud has been tested and proven to have an antimicrobial effect on strains of bacteria that live on human skin. Since overgrowth or presence of certain bacteria can lead to acne, it’s possible that this is why Dead Sea mud has been used to treat breakouts since biblical times.
Using Dead Sea mud in a mud mask, or getting face creams and lotions that contain Dead Sea mud, might help you to have fewer breakouts.
Risks and side effects
Dead Sea mud should only be used externally. Consuming Dead Sea mug in large amounts can have a toxic effect.
There are some people who have skin sensitivities to metals, such as nickel and chrome. Since trace elements of some metals can sometimes be found in Dead Sea mud, people with these sensitivities might want to avoid using Dead Sea mud as a topical treatment or home remedy. But research indicates that most people with healthy skin don’t need to be concerned about using Dead Sea mud on their skin.
Dead Sea mud isn’t a replacement for prescription medication for diagnosed conditions. But it is a very low-risk way to treat some conditions, boost skin health, and is safe for most people.
Dead Sea mud has been proven to have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that make it useful in mud packs and cosmetics. If you’re worried about a sensitivity, talk to your doctor or a dermatologist before using a Dead Sea mud product. Always be sure to test a small area of your skin before applying any new product.