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Are The Benefits Of Himalayan Salt Lamps Legit?

James Winskowski
Author: Medical reviewer:
Updated on July 15, 2020
James Winskowski
By James Winskowski
mbg Contributor
James Winskowski is a copywriter and web developer who is passionate about living a healthy lifestyle. He has worked for companies such as Levy Online and 97th floor and is based in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Wendie Trubow, M.D., MBA
Medical review by
Wendie Trubow, M.D., MBA
Functional Medicine Gynecologist
Wendie Trubow is a functional medicine gynecologist with almost 10 years of training in the field. She received her M.D. from Tufts University.
July 15, 2020

Himalayan pink salt lamps certainly make for an attractive addition to any room. Made from pink salt crystals mined from the edge of the Himalayan Mountains, they range in color from light pink to pink with an orange hue, depending on the mineral concentration.

Beyond aesthetics, some people also claim that these lamps can remove potentially harmful chemical and pollutants from the air. Since salt is a hygroscopic substance, meaning it has a net positive ionic charge and attracts water molecules from the surrounding environment, this may not be a totally crazy idea—but there is little to no scientific evidence to back it up.

Here, we took a look at some of the purported benefits of Himalayansalt lamps, along with the research that has been done on them.

1. Do they purify the air?

Answer: No evidence.

Proponents of Himalayan salt lamps boast that these purifying salt rocks have the ability to remove pollen, dust, smoke, and many other types of allergens from the air. The idea is that since salt attracts water molecules, it might also pull in any pollutants attached to these molecules and improve air quality. When the salt rock lamp is turned on, it holds these particles so they aren’t left floating around for you to breathe in. Then, as the bulb heats the lamp, the water vapor is released back into the air, but the rock salt lamp retains the contaminants. There is no scientific evidence to support this idea.

2. Can they ease allergy and asthma symptoms?

Answer: Some preliminary evidence.

One thing that has been studied is salt's ability to provide some relief to people suffering from respiratory ailments. One study on 124 patients with various respiratory diseases1 found that spending one hour in a room that simulated a natural salt cave helped ease most of their symptoms. Salt rooms were also shown to have some beneficial effects in mild asthmatic children2. However, it took an entire room filled with salt to yield these results, not just one lamp.

3. Can they boost mood and energy?

Answer: Some preliminary evidence.

Some claim that salt lamps can help re-energize the body and mind since they leave behind more negative ions (versus positive ions) in the air. This air ionization is thought to rejuvenate the body and mind and may help in the treatment of seasonal depression3. A study conducted by Columbia University did find that when participants suffering from seasonal affective disorder were exposed to electrically generated negative ions, 58 percent of them reported an improved mood. However, a review of existing studies on the ability of negative ions to improve mood4 found that more research needed to be done to validate this alternative method and make ionizers a legitimate medicine.

4. Can they help you sleep better?

Answer: No evidence.

Along with helping to rejuvenate energy and mood, some claim that natural negative ions in indoor air can reverse sleep deprivation problems and boost energy levels. There is no evidence to support this claim.

5. Can they improve skin?

Answer: Some preliminary evidence.

There is evidence that salt (though not necessarily salt lamps) can be beneficial for helping manage the symptoms of certain skin conditions. One 2005 study found that bathing in a salt solution was effective for reducing dry skin and inflammation. Anecdotally, some people who suffer from eczema and psoriasis have also found salty ocean water helpful for calming flare-ups.

6. Do they create a more mindful space?

Answer: Plenty of evidence!

While most of their hard health benefits are up in the air, it's hard to deny that Himalayan salt lamps can add an element of beauty and nature to any space. Swap one in for the light bulb in your at-home meditation nook or night light next to your bed for a soothing pink glow. They make an attractive and organic-feeling addition to home décor, creating a more balanced and mindful space. For these purposes alone salt lamps can make a welcome addition to almost any home.

Are Himalayan salt lamps safe?

All naturally occurring minerals contain trace amounts of heavy metals. These heavy metals, like lead, are found in the air, soil, and food. Only when lead concentrations reach high levels do they start to pose a threat to your health. Because these metals can exist on salt particles, some people worry salt lamps could pose a threat. While true that pink salt can contain these heavy metals, they do not contain enough to pose a health risk. Especially because they aren’t being ingested. So unless you plan on licking your Himalayan salt crystal lamp every day, you’ll be fine.

However, what does not pose a threat to humans can be harmful to your pets. Too much salt can be toxic to many kinds of animals, like cats and dogs, so it would be wise to keep Himalayan salt lamps out of the reach of any household pets who may want to sneak behind your back and have a taste when you aren’t looking.

In January 2017, Michael's issued a recall on some of their salt lamps sold under the Lumière brand. Rest assured, the issue and recall had nothing to do with the Himalayan salt itself but reported hazards with the dimmer switch and plug. If you’re looking to purchase a lamp, talk to the retailer and make sure it has been assembled properly and that the piece you’re interested in was not included in the recall.

Lastly, be sure to purchase authentic Himalayan salt crystal lamps so you can get the full health benefits, but also avoid health concerns with artificial and counterfeit devices.

What to look for in a salt lamp.

There are many different types of salt lamps that range in color to style sold everywhere from Amazon to mystical shops. Among the most common are lamps created by inserting a light source directly into a salt crystal or a basket of crystals with a light source underneath. In these cases, the differences are for the most part purely aesthetic, and your choice comes down to finding the right solution for your tastes and complementing the environment in your home.

That being said, one thing you will have to keep in mind is making sure you avoid purchasing a fake Himalayan salt crystal lamp. Most salt lamps emit a soft, warm glow. So be leery of lamps that give off too much light. Also, some crystal lamps are white. Himalayan white crystals do exist but are rare and expensive. So if you find a white crystal lamp and a low price, be cautious. Lastly, make sure the crystal was mined from Kewra, Pakistan, or elsewhere along the Himalayas—the only place where true Himalayan salt is found.

While some of their health benefits are not supported by science, pink Himalayan salt rock lamps can provide a soothing, therapeutic glow to any room in which they’re placed. They could be used as an integral part of an altar or simply as a tasteful design elements to improve any mystical and meditative space in your home.

James Winskowski author page.
James Winskowski

James Winskowski is a copywriter and web developer who is passionate about living a healthy lifestyle. He has worked for companies such as Levy Online and 97th floor and is based in Las Vegas, Nevada.