Should You Actually Add A Himalayan Salt Lamp To Your Wishlist?

Salt lamps are one of those decor trends that struck like lightning, taking over our social feeds and dominating our house inspo boards on Pinterest. But these attractive, orangey-pink lamps didn't exit the way they came in. Instead, they've withstood the recent tides of interior design to become a modern staple.

Himalayan salt lamps, true to their name, are large chunks of peach-colored salt mined from around the Himalayan mountain range in Asia. Their unique coloration is thanks to the presence of minerals like magnesium, calcium, and potassium (via Time). These salt crystals are often sourced from salt mines in Pakistan, but not every Himalayan salt lamp you encounter is genuine. True Himalayan salt should only emit a soft glow, should flake or chip easily, and should quickly develop condensation in a humid environment (via Healthline).

Real or fake, the ongoing abundance of salt lamps on the market suggests that this decor item isn't waning any time soon. So, if you haven't jumped onto the bandwagon yet, you may be wondering whether it's finally time to cave and bring a Himalayan salt lamp into your own home. But what actually makes these lamps so special, and are they worth all the hype?

Do Himalayan salt lamps have any health benefits?

One of the reasons for salt lamps' meteoric rise to popularity is their purported health benefits. Depending on who you ask, the Himalayan salt used to craft these lamps can supposedly help purify the air in a room, ease asthma and allergies, and even boost your mood and promote better sleep (via WebMD). But is this really the case?

Unfortunately, evidence to support these claims is severely lacking. "There's not a lot of evidence to support the idea that Himalayan salt lamps provide some – if any – of the supposed health benefits," Dr. Neha Vyas, M.D., tells the Cleveland Clinic. One source of confusion seems to be around the salt's ability to produce negative ions, which may have certain benefits in high enough concentrations. But while salt lamp enthusiasts suggest that these negative ions enable the lamps to kill dust mites in the air and impact your energy levels, an individual lamp can't actually produce high enough levels of these ions to make a noticeable difference.

Now, if you've also noticed the recent trend of salt caves or halotherapy — literally, breathing in air with salt particles — you may be wondering where these fit into the salt lamp confusion. One study published in the Journal of Aerosol Medicine and Pulmonary Drug Delivery found that extended exposure to the dry, sodium-rich environment of a salt cave may help improve respiratory conditions, and another in the Journal of Medicine and Life reached similar conclusions. But even these results, which are far from definitive, required repeated halotherapy sessions in rooms chock full of salt crystals. So, it would be a stretch to suggest that a single Himalayan salt lamp, or even several, would be able to offer similar benefits at home.

The aesthetic value of salt lamps

While the health benefits of salt lamps may be a little iffy, it's hard to deny their aesthetic qualities. Providing a gentle, rosy glow to any space, Himalayan salt lamps are versatile features that can be used throughout your home. They can even add a touch of youth and whimsy to your interior design. "I have a large Himalayan [salt] lamp in my bedroom. This is a perfect place for [them] because the warm glow makes for a sensual and welcoming environment," Laura Benko, author of "The Holistic Home: Feng Shui for Mind, Body, Spirit, Space," tells Well + Good.

But there are also many opportunities to get creative with your salt lamp's attractive aesthetic. Adding a salt lamp to your bathroom can give it a chic spa vibe that heightens your bathing experience and helps you feel pampered at home. Or, incorporating their natural, bohemian look to your entryway can set a comforting tone in your living space and create a positive first impression for guests. As interior designer Dee Frazier tells, "Entryways and foyers have really become an important part of the house because it's a view into the lives of the folks who live there." So, placing a salt lamp in your foyer can help you start any visit with an appearance of calm elegance.

Should you rely on the ionic power of salt lamps to purify your air and promote good health? Probably not. But are Himalayan salt lamps a wonderful way to elevate your space with soothing, organic silhouettes and a warm, eye-friendly light source? Yes and yes. So, even if the health claims are thin, there may still be a place for salt lamps on your wishlist, after all.