Dead Sea soap contains ingredients derived from the Dead Sea. The soap can contain minerals from the Dead Sea, mud from the Dead Sea, or both. Soap containing the minerals of the Dead Sea is considered soothing, while soap containing Dead Sea mud is more often used as a body scrub. A limited number of commercial firms manufacture this type of soap, although it is a common offering among smaller companies that specialize in handcrafted soaps.
The Dead Sea is located between Jordan and Israel. This sea has one of the highest concentrations of chlorides of any body of water in the world. Although it is often called Dead Sea salt, the salt is actually a combination of several different chlorides and minerals. Dead Sea salt consists mainly of sodium chloride, magnesium chloride, and potassium chloride. It also contains several trace minerals such as boron, cobalt, and molybdenum.
There are several known health benefits to visiting the Dead Sea. For instance, its high mineral content and low altitude provide relief to psoriasis sufferers, who benefit from exposure to sunlight but not ultraviolet rays. Many of the purported health benefits of the Dead Sea have not been scientifically proven, but for thousands of years, many people have believed that the waters have healing powers. Herod the Great had one of the world’s first health resorts on the shores of the Dead Sea.
It is debatable whether there are any determinable health benefits to using Dead Sea soap. While some of the ingredients, such as magnesium chloride, do have documented benefits, they are usually only seen when the ingredient is used as a bath soak. Soap is usually applied to the body and then rinsed off, limiting any beneficial absorption. The exception is the inclusion of chlorides in the soap; chlorides, or salts, are useful as exfoliants and make skin feel smoother and softer.
The concentrations of Dead Sea minerals contained in Dead Sea soap are highly variable. Soap manufacturers are not required to list the percentages of the minerals contained in their soaps. While one brand may contain significant quantities of minerals from the Dead Sea, another may contain only trace amounts. Dead Sea mud is typically silt, or fine sand, from the Dead Sea. The mud itself does not contain the minerals found in the water, although some soap manufacturers use both the minerals and the mud in Dead Sea soap.