Sea Water



Sea Water at a glance

  • Water obtained from a saltwater body, most often inland
  • Contains varying amounts of mineral and trace elements
  • Has humectant and potential soothing properties for skin
  • Purified prior to use in cosmetics (sea water isn’t contaminant-free)
  • No restrictions on use level

Sea Water description

Sea water is just what you’d think: water obtained from the sea or, more specifically, inland bodies of salt water. As with all types of water, this one has solvent properties but is also a humectant, in part due to its natural mineral and trace element content. Some of the numerous minerals in sea water, such as magnesium, can have soothing properties when applied to skin. Other minerals in sea water include sodium, zinc, potassium, calcium copper, and manganese, although the specific content varies based on where in the world the sea water was obtained as well as the depth of water. Research has shown the primary minerals in sea water, including salt and calcium, have a regulating effect on skin’s barrier. This makes sea water (especially when bathed in) beneficial for certain skin conditions involving barrier impairments. In dermatologist parlance, this is considered “adjunctive therapy”, meaning it complements medical treatments a doctor prescribes to help certain skin disorders improve. Sea water’s acidic nature coupled with its mineral content also seems to play a reparative role when applied to environmentally compromised skin; however, it hasn’t been shown to surpass what numerous antioxidants, including vitamins, can do in this regard. Sea water usage levels in cosmetics do not have a standard range. It can be used in any amount up to 100%, depending on the nature of the formula and desired results. Of course, it’s not exactly the same as taking fresh water from the sea since the sea water used in cosmetics is purified to remove undesirable content in the water.

Sea Water references

  • Marine Drugs, March 2023, pages 1–23
  • Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy, March 2019, pages 282–291
  • BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, July 2012, pages 1–10
  • International Journal of Molecular Science, Volume 13, 2012, pages 5,952–5,971
  • Skin Research and Technology, February 2003, pages 31–33; and February 2001, pages 36–39

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


We couldn't find this in our ingredient dictionary. We log all missing ingredients and make continuous updates.

Not rated

We have not yet rated this ingredient because we have not had a chance to review the research on it.