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International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 62, Issue 8, pp 1345–1360 | Cite as

Salt water and skin interactions: new lines of evidence

  • Jose Manuel Carbajo
  • Francisco Maraver
Review Paper

Abstract

In Health Resort Medicine, both balneotherapy and thalassotherapy, salt waters and their peloids, or mud products are mainly used to treat rheumatic and skin disorders. These therapeutic agents act jointly via numerous mechanical, thermal, and chemical mechanisms. In this review, we examine a new mechanism of action specific to saline waters. When topically administered, this water rich in sodium and chloride penetrates the skin where it is able to modify cellular osmotic pressure and stimulate nerve receptors in the skin via cell membrane ion channels known as “Piezo” proteins. We describe several models of cutaneous adsorption/desorption and penetration of dissolved ions in mineral waters through the skin (osmosis and cell volume mechanisms in keratinocytes) and examine the role of these resources in stimulating cutaneous nerve receptors. The actions of salt mineral waters are mediated by a mechanism conditioned by the concentration and quality of their salts involving cellular osmosis-mediated activation/inhibition of cell apoptotic or necrotic processes. In turn, this osmotic mechanism modulates the recently described mechanosensitive piezoelectric channels.

Keywords

Health resort medicine Salt water Skin Spa therapy Mud therapy Review 

Abbreviations

AVD

Apoptotic volume decrease

C-TEAB

C-tetraethylammonium bromide

HaCaT

Adult human keratinocyte cell line

HSC

Human stratum corneum

KCl

Potassium chloride

Kow

Octanol/water partition coefficient

MS

Mechanosensitive

MT

Mechanotransduction

NaCl

Sodium chloride

NHEs

Na+-H+-exchangers

NMF

Natural moisturizing factor

NVI

Necrotic volume increase

Pow

Participation coefficient

QSPR

Quantitative structure permeability relationships

RVD

Regulatory volume decrease

RVI

Regulatory volume increase

TEA

Triethanolamine

TEWL

Transepidermal water loss

UVR

Ultraviolet radiation

Notes

Funding

This study was funded by grant UCM-911757 awarded to the research group of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Medical Hydrology).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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© ISB 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Radiology, Rehabilitation and Physiotherapy, Faculty of MedicineUniversidad Complutense de MadridMadridSpain
  2. 2.Professional School of Medical Hydrology, Faculty of MedicineUniversidad Complutense de MadridMadridSpain

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