Bathing in a magnesium-rich Dead Sea salt solution improves skin barrier function, enhances skin hydration, and reduces inflammation in atopic dry skin

Authors

  • Ehrhardt Proksch MD, phD,

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    1. From the Department of Dermatology, University of Kiel, Kiel, Germany, Derma Consult, Bonn-Alfter, Germany, Mavena AG, Belp, Switzerland, and Rosenweg 2a, Toffen, Switzerland
      Ehrhardt Proksch, md, phd Department of Dermatology University of Kiel Schittenhelmstr 7 24105 Kiel Germany E-mail: eproksch@dermatology.uni-kiel.de
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  • Hans-Peter Nissen phD,

    1. From the Department of Dermatology, University of Kiel, Kiel, Germany, Derma Consult, Bonn-Alfter, Germany, Mavena AG, Belp, Switzerland, and Rosenweg 2a, Toffen, Switzerland
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  • Markus Bremgartner MD,

    1. From the Department of Dermatology, University of Kiel, Kiel, Germany, Derma Consult, Bonn-Alfter, Germany, Mavena AG, Belp, Switzerland, and Rosenweg 2a, Toffen, Switzerland
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  • Colin Urquhart phD

    1. From the Department of Dermatology, University of Kiel, Kiel, Germany, Derma Consult, Bonn-Alfter, Germany, Mavena AG, Belp, Switzerland, and Rosenweg 2a, Toffen, Switzerland
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Ehrhardt Proksch, md, phd Department of Dermatology University of Kiel Schittenhelmstr 7 24105 Kiel Germany E-mail: eproksch@dermatology.uni-kiel.de

Abstract

Magnesium salts, the prevalent minerals in Dead Sea water, are known to exhibit favorable effects in inflammatory diseases. We examined the efficacy of bathing atopic subjects in a salt rich in magnesium chloride from deep layers of the Dead Sea (Mavena® Dermaline Mg46 Dead Sea salt, Mavena AG, Belp, Switzerland).

Volunteers with atopic dry skin submerged one forearm for 15 min in a bath solution containing 5% Dead Sea salt. The second arm was submerged in tap water as control. Before the study and at weeks 1–6, transepidermal water loss (TEWL), skin hydration, skin roughness, and skin redness were determined.

We found one subgroup with a normal and one subgroup with an elevated TEWL before the study. Bathing in the Dead Sea salt solution significantly improved skin barrier function compared with the tap water-treated control forearm in the subgroup with elevated basal TEWL. Skin hydration was enhanced on the forearm treated with the Dead Sea salt in each group, which means the treatment moisturized the skin. Skin roughness and redness of the skin as a marker for inflammation were significantly reduced after bathing in the salt solution. This demonstrates that bathing in the salt solution was well tolerated, improved skin barrier function, enhanced stratum corneum hydration, and reduced skin roughness and inflammation.

We suggest that the favorable effects of bathing in the Dead Sea salt solution are most likely related to the high magnesium content. Magnesium salts are known to bind water, influence epidermal proliferation and differentiation, and enhance permeability barrier repair.

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