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Reason #1398 to love going to the beach: a quick dip into the salty sea water can do wonders for your scalp.

Salt water has a controversial reputation among curlies. For looser waves and curls, sea salt makes for a great styling agent; it’s the key to creating those lovely “beach waves.” But salt water can also dry out the hair, making it less ideal for more fragile hair types, such as colored hair.

There is one lesser-known benefit of salt water, though, and that’s its ability to alleviate certain scalp conditions. If used properly, salt water can improve your scalp health without damaging your curls — yet another excuse to plan as many beach trips as possible!

Salt water is good for the scal

Yes, salt water is drying. But for the millions of people who suffer from scalp conditions like psoriasis and eczema, the effects of sea water can be truly healing. It’s also helpful for the countless other curlies who struggle with an itchy, oily scalp.

“[Sea water is] rich in vitamins and minerals, [and can have] an antibiotic effect on the skin,” Terrence Michael Renk, Prorituals Creation Director, told Bustle.

“Seawater can be used to treat eczema and psoriasis, both of which can impact the scalp and cause hair loss. So if you have an itchy scalp or overly oily hair, a quick dip into the ocean might be a simple cure.”

...But it must be used carefully

Salt water may be good for the scalp, but it’s not necessarily good for the rest of your hair. Some curlies do experience great results after a dip into the ocean, but many others find that swimming in the sea dries out their curls way too much. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, it’s important not to overdo it. Overexposure to salt water can dehydrate the hair and worsen tangles.

Enjoying sea water’s benefits while avoiding damage to your curls requires a delicate balance, but it’s totally doable.

  1. First things first: protect your hair before you swim, especially if it’s prone to dryness, as curly hair often is. Renk recommends putting a coating of oil on the hair before you go into the water to reduce the effects of the salt on the hair. Jojoba oil, argan oil, or almond oil will work well for this purpose. Also, you should also thoroughly comb your hair before your beach trip, because the salt water will exacerbate any tangles.
  2. Once you get out of the water, rinse your hair with regular water to remove any excessive salt, then re-moisturize your curls to restore what you lost. A quick spray of leave-in conditioner will work if you’re in a rush; if not, indulge in a nourishing hair mask. (You can also wait to do this step, if you want to relish in the beach hair look for the rest of the day!)
  3. Avoid manipulating your curls too much until it’s time to moisturize. Again, tangles galore. It’s not a good idea to try to detangle your hair while it’s dried out from the beach.

How does salt water affect your curls? Let us know in the comments!