Salt In Treatment Of Skin Infections

There is nothing concerning which I receive more letters than acne, a condition of infection of the skin of the face of young people, or, in plain words, pimples.

Many forms of treatment have been tried—some of them successful in some cases, others in other cases. There is probably no single remedy which is calculated to do all of these patients benefit. A recent treatment which, if nothing else, is certainly harmless, is that brought forward by Dr. Herman Goodman of New York, for the treatment of boils and acne.

It always has been difficult to understand why healthy young men in training for crew or football at college should develop boils. Dr. Goodman has an explanation. He found that in a long series of patients examined for constituents of the blood, there was a relation-ship which had not been previously stressed. In tabulating estimates of blood for sugar and salt, he found that as the average for blood sugar decreases, the average for salt content of the blood increases. The converse was also maintained—as the salt content of the blood decreases the blood sugar increases. The excessive perspiration of the athlete decreases the blood salt. It is well known, as in the case of diabetics, that increased blood sugar creates a tendency to boils and skin infection.


The use of common table salt has been found of value in many conditions. The salt bath has been a home remedy for years. Salt applications in the form of poultices have been advised. Surgeons give salt solutions before and after operations. Recently, salt has been advised to prevent cramps from heat exposure. In the realm of skin diseases, salt solution has been injected to relieve pus conditions due to certain medicines as bromides and iodine.

Working on this basis, the report states that these facts have been utilized in the treatment of pus infections and pimples found in youthful patients. Several hundred patients suffering from acne have had salt solution injected either directly into the pus lesions or into the blood stream. Boils and abscesses have also been treated in this way. It is even possible to make a salt poultice to apply to the skin of the face which is subject to acne. Especially when the pustule has been opened, the salt poultice can be applied, or plain salt can be rubbed into the open wound.

The possibility that the relationship of salt and sugar in the blood will be of great importance in determining the cause and treatment of pus infections among diabetes is offered. Other conditions of sugar high, salt low metabolism may be uncovered from this research into the treatment of pus conditions of the skin by solutions of sodium chloride, our old friend, table salt.