Is Sea Water/Salty Water Good for Your Hair?

  • Medically reviewed by: Dr. Anil Simhadri
  • Written by: William Hartfield
  • Last updated: 06/02/2024

A study was carried out to determine the effect of seawater on patients with atopic eczema and dermatitis syndrome. The two are serious hair conditions that cause itchy, red, and sometimes swollen skin, including the scalp.

The itching can cause hair loss particularly due to persistent scratching of the scalp by the affected persons.

A total of 33 patients with a mean age of 26 years were subjected to pre-study hair tests that revealed an imbalance of essential minerals.

After drinking seawater for six months, the levels of essential minerals, including potassium and selenium, were significantly increased. At the same time, drinking seawater significantly reduces the levels of mercury and lead that are considered dangerous.

By the end of the study, 27 out of the 33 patients had the symptoms of these conditions improved.

It turns out that seawater is very good for your hair. Several other studies and experts seem to support this position.

The Overall Benefits of Salt Water

As the results of the study above suggest, salt water has a high concentration of minerals and vitamins, making it therapeutic. It contains potassium and selenium, which are particularly important for hair growth.

These minerals are absorbed into the skin and scalp, bringing about an antibiotic effect that can mitigate common scalp problems like eczema and psoriasis.

Salt water also flushes elements that are harmful to your hair, like mercury. Other benefits of salt water include:

  • Seawater/Salt water is a natural shampoo. If you have a greasy scalp, then seawater can help you to strip those heavy oils. Sea water absorbs excess oils present on your tresses making them smooth.
  • It acts as an exfoliant to your scalp. By soaking all the moisture from your scalp which helps fungus grow, you are likely to keep dandruff away. Find out about fungal infections that cause hair loss here.

Why It Might Be Better for You to Visit the Beach Rather Than Your Favorite Pool

Sea water undergoes desalination before being tapped into your home or pool. During desalination, chlorine and lime are added to seawater to kill any harmful bacteria.

Increased pollution of seawater has only served to increase the amounts of chemicals added to seawater during desalination.

However, these chemicals, particularly chlorine, may not be good for your hair especially when added to the water in large quantities.

According to experts, a buildup of chlorine at the mouth of the hair follicle may lead to breakage of hair, followed by coating of the scalp, thereby blocking the growth of new hair.

Active chlorine in your hair can also cause hair to feel sticky when wet and straw-like when dry.

Therefore, you might want to regulate the amount of chlorine used in your pool, but remember you cannot control water treatment in private facilities.

Your best bet might be a visit to the beach. Sea water is unlikely to be contaminated with a lot of Chlorine, not to mention its other benefits that we have outlined above.

Despite a higher initial cost some people use saltwater pools over chlorine pools because the salt water is much better for your skin and hair than chlorine.

What if You Can’t Access the Ocean or the Sea?

Well, not every one of us can access the beach as often as we would wish, probably because of a tight work schedule. Luckily, you can extract the maximum benefit from salt water while relaxing in your living room!

You don’t have to carry home some seawater the next time you visit the beach either. Here’s how:

Homemade Salt Recipe for Your Hair


  • 2 parts of liquid castile soap
  • 3 parts of coarse sea salt


  1. Pour the two parts of the castile soap into a container
  2. Add the three parts of sea salt
  3. Blend the mixture thoroughly
  4. Wash your hair with the mixture for about 15 minutes
  5. Rinse with cold water to eliminate all residues

Alternatively, you can use sea salt without mixing it with a commercial shampoo and still get the best out of sea salt. Here’s how:

  1. Warm some water in a pan
  2. Add three tablespoons of sea salt to the water.
  3. Once the solution cools down to normal temperature, rinse your scalp with it and massage for 6-8 minutes.
  4. Now rinse your hair thoroughly with cold water.

These homemade recipes can strip off dead skin cells of your hair, as well as any old product buildup and dirt.

However, be sure not to wash your hair with these homemade solutions more than once a month as too much washing, especially with coarse material, (sea salt in this case) can leave your hair follicles too exposed and loose at the base.

Learn how to repair damaged hair follicles here.


Saturating your hair with salt water for too long can be a detriment. It can leave your scalp too dry and make your hair brittle.

So, experts advise you to treat your hair with a moisturizer or deep conditioner before getting into the water. When you get home, be sure to wash your hair with shampoo.

You might also want to avoid seawater if you fall under any of the following categories:

  • If you have had a keratin hair-straightening treatment. Salt water may reduce the effectiveness of the treatment, forcing you to repeat the whole thing again
  • If you have hair extensions sea salt and extensions may not work together.

Final Word

The benefits of seawater clearly outweigh its disadvantages. With a bit of precaution, there should be no reason why you should not look forward to your next visit to the beach.

Information contained on this website has not been evaluated by any medical body such as the Food & Drug Administration. All information is for educational purposes only. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness. You must consult a medical professional before acting on any content on this website.