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Self-preserving ingredients: Salt

What is it?

Salt is a mineral rich in sodium and magnesium. It makes up 0.04% of the human body and is essential to human survival.

How does it help preserve products? 

Salt disrupts a microbe’s osmotic potential… It’s essentially like using a hoover to pull out the innards of the microbe so it can no longer grow or reproduce.

What are the benefits?

Salt’s antimicrobial qualities also benefit the skin and make it an effective cleanser and exfoliator.

Interesting fact?

Evidence suggests that humans boiled sea water to obtain salt as far back as 8,000 years ago.


 

In the same way that honey preserves products through a chemical reaction, and clays through dispersion, salt keeps microorganisms at bay through osmosis. Although this sounds complicated, it’s simpler than it seems…

First it’s best to cast your minds back to science lessons (however long ago they may have been). Osmosis is a process whereby water molecules move through a membrane from a region of low saltiness to a region of high saltiness.

Adding salt to a product formula allows it to become self-preserving. The salt forces free water molecules away from microorganisms, which means they aren’t able to survive and the product can keep itself clean.

Salt essentially works as a miniscule microorganism hoover by vacuuming water out of microbes and allowing products to stay fresh and safe to use.

What’s more, salt is an alkaline ingredient and, because microbes can only prosper in acidic conditions, microorganisms are unable to grow in products that have a high concentration of it.

Salt doesn’t just make a useful preservative, but a fantastic skin and hair care ingredient. It’s a great example of why self-preserving products are not only practical, but beneficial to your hair and body. That’s because, as well as being antimicrobial and exfoliating, salt has a natural antiseptic and astringent effect, which helps to keep you clean, fresh and healthy.

Hannah says: “Sea salt has a whole host of benefits (aside from on the rim of a margarita), it's exfoliating and polishing on the face and body as well as helping to boost volume when used in hair products.”

 

Salt disrupts a microbe’s osmotic potential… It’s essentially like using a hoover to pull out the innards of the microbe so it can no longer grow or reproduce.

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