If you read Chemistry Cachet often, you will notice that many of my recipes or sugar scrubs mention the ingredient Himalayan Pink Sea Salt. I get questions from readers all the time asking me what that is or can they swap out regular salt?
The other day on snapchat (add me 🙂 username alexisroch), I was making a little recipe that is coming soon to the blog, and I had pink sea salt sitting out to use. Someone asked me why I preferred it to regular?
So, I decided to write a post for you to go into a little detail on this subject and give you a chemist’s point of view on the matter!
For the last few years, health articles and websites have been talking about pink sea salt benefits and why you should switch to it!
Being a scientist, I decided to investigate this information and see if there was any truth behind it. Sometimes, a topic can get popular in the media and will become a craze that everyone is obsessed with! I hate fades and crazes, so I like to learn the truth about the subject and see what I am really dealing with 🙂
First of all, the truth is all salt is chemically the same as far as structure. Without getting too much into chemistry, salt is a crystalline structure which is what gives it the hard, crystal like look. All salt is made of sodium chloride, or Na (sodium) + Cl (Chloride).
Whether you are using regular salt, sea salt, or pink salt you are getting sodium chloride. Except for Epsom Salt! That is made from magnesium and isn’t the same at all (it is only called salt due to its physical qualities), but that is another subject for another day!
So, why do I use pink sea salt?
The True Pink salt benefits I like and the reason I use it :
One. It isn’t as refined or processed.
The truth about many of the products we use today is they are heavily refined. Himalayan pink salt is less refined and is stone ground, so it technically isn’t manipulated as much as regular table salt. Anytime I can eliminate one more processed thing from my diet, I do!
Two. It contains minerals & elements that are good for you.
Unlike regular table salt, pink sea salt actually contains 80+ minerals and elements like magnesium, potassium, calcium, chloride, phosphorus, zinc and iron. The salt is pink due to traces of iron oxide, which is the same compound as rust. This website shows a complete analysis of all the minerals found in pink salt in ppm (parts per million, a very small measurement).
Now, while it does contain all of these minerals, I have to point out that these are TINY amounts. It has less than 1% potassium and calcium, but still more than any other salt. The majority of pink salt is sodium, around 36% as with all salts.
Three. It is great topically.
I really love this salt in scrubs because it does have detoxifying qualities, and it is a great to exfoliate with. Since it has a big structure, it holds up well to mixing with other ingredients, but it is soft enough to not be harsh on your skin.
Regular table salt dissolves in most mixtures, so you don’t get a good scrub from it.
If you have ever looked at the ingredients to organic bath salts or scrubs at the store, the majority of them contain pink salt!
Four. It’s pretty!
Honestly, if something is pink, I like it. It is way prettier than regular salt! I love pretty things so much, I will choose them over something not as pretty any day 😉
What about iodine?
So, iodine was added to table salt starting in the 1920s to eliminate goiter, which is a thyroid malfunction due to iodine deficiency. Back in this time period, iodine rich foods were not eaten or even accessible to most people. Foods we eat all the time today like strawberries, potatoes, milk, fish, yogurt, bananas, etc were very rarely found in most diets in the early 1900s. So, missing out on regular table salt in this day in time, isn’t as serious as it was back in the 20s.
Bottom line from a chemical point of view: The Himalayan pink salt benefits do outweigh those of regular table salt, but chemically, sodium is sodium! Taste wise, they have no difference in flavor to me! I still use regular iodized salt when I cook foods for my husband, and I like to swap out pink salt when I can.
When it comes to anything topical, I always use pink salt! The less processed chemicals we put on our skin, the better 🙂
So, what do you think about pink salt benefits? Do you have any other questions like this for a chemist? Email me or comment below! Feel free to follow along with me on snapchat too (@alexisroch) for questions 😉