Celtic sea salt is TikTok's latest health hack. The benefits are overblown.

Screen images of a woman holding a spoon of salt and a package of sea salt.
Experts investigate the alleged benefits of Celtic sea salt. (Abby Baffoe/Lauren Elizabeth via TikTok)

Looking to have clearer skin, better sleep and more energy? Well, TikTok might have you convinced you should buy some salt for that.

Yes, Celtic sea salt, also known as gray salt, is the latest “hack,” with fans touting its hydrating and “healing” properties. If you’re unsure what that means (like I was), let me walk you through it.

  • Abby Baffoe, a TikTok creator with about 927K followers, made a video in May calling Celtic sea salt her “newest favorite beauty secret.” She claimed that both doctors and aestheticians have recommended it for “glowing hydrated skin.”

  • She referenced a clip of Barbara O’Neill, an alternative health care promoter, who shared her process of letting a crystal of Celtic salt dissolve on her tongue before every glass of water. (So, drinking eight glasses of water a day would mean having about eight flakes of salt.)

  • O’Neill referenced the book The Calcium Lie when claiming that Celtic salt contains 82 of the minerals that make up the body. Letting a flake dissolve in your mouth before drinking water, she said, will help to replenish “the minerals you lost the day before from urine, perspiration.”

  • Numerous creators have followed suit by incorporating Celtic salt into their daily hydration routines. One alleged that it’s helped with “chronic gut issues.” Baffoe also claimed in a follow-up video that the salt has anti-inflammatory properties and said that it helps relieve migraines, lower blood pressure and improve sleep.

Celtic sea salt was initially harvested from the evaporated seawater of coastal regions of France, according to Dr. Shivani Amin, a functional medicine physician and host of the Beyond Symptoms podcast. But its fancy origin story isn’t what’s drawing in today’s consumers.

“It differs from other salts in that it has a gray hue and, more importantly, because it has higher mineral content,” she tells Yahoo Life. “It’s more moist than other salts and is, for the most part, unprocessed, unlike a carton of Morton’s table salt. This minimal processing allows Celtic salt to keep its high mineral content.”

It’s generally regarded as more beneficial than table salts because of this, as table salts are processed to create a finer texture, which rids those salts of most minerals (iodine for thyroid health is added in the process).

On the other hand, because sea salts, including Celtic salt, aren't usually processed, they can contain impurities from the ocean, like lead, according to the American Heart Association. (Recent claims that Selina Naturally Celtic Sea Salt contains an unhealthy amount of lead are unfounded. The brand itself assures that any small traces of it “do not pose a measurable threat.”)

Despite the claims that Celtic sea salt has 82 of the minerals that the human body needs, Alex Oskian, dietitian and nutrition coach at Working Against Gravity, tells Yahoo Life that “most elemental breakdowns of Celtic sea salt that are available show 20 elements or less.”

They do contain magnesium, potassium and calcium, as well as trace amounts of iron and zinc. One teaspoon of table salt is said to contain 2,300 mg of sodium versus 1,840 mg of sodium in a teaspoon of Celtic salt. That difference, however, can be attributed to the size of the salt flakes, as less of the coarse sea salt flakes would fit on a spoon.

Celtic salt may contain more minerals than other forms of salt, but “the benefits are overblown,” according to Edwina Clark, a San Francisco-based dietitian.

“These minerals are only found in very small amounts, and Celtic sea salt cannot be considered a substantial source of any of these nutrients,” she tells Yahoo Life, especially when one flake per glass of water (about eight total) per day is the amount being recommended by TikTokers.

“Because the quantities of each mineral in the salt flakes are so small, you likely won’t get the proper amount of minerals to meet the daily mineral requirements” through salt alone, says Amin. The only benefit she notes is that it may help “maintain electrolyte balance” because salt is an electrolyte and helps increase water absorption.

The average daily intake of sodium for Americans in general, however, isn’t lacking.

“The standard American diet does contain a high abundance of salt,” says Oskian, noting that a maximum of 2,300 mg of sodium is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for adults, while many are consuming more than 3,300 mg a day. Overconsumption can have negative effects on overall health, including raising your blood pressure.

Are these TikTokers experiencing all the benefits that they claim? Maybe. Is it a result of the inconsequential amount of salt that they’re adding to their daily routine? Probably not. Could it be that they’re encouraged to drink more water because of this trend? Likely so…

Experts say you're better off eating an array of nutrient-dense foods instead to get the minerals your body needs. But when it comes to salt, you probably don’t need more of it.