Why a Swim in the Ocean Might Be the Best (And Cheapest) Skincare

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If you make frequent trips to the beach, you may just be giving your skin the best natural skincare treatment yet.

There are a multitude of articles online talking about the health benefits for your skin and body when you swim in the ocean. Even breathing in clean ocean air has been shown in some research to help heal the mind and the body, by calming stress and anxiety.

Historically, there have many doctors went on record from as early as the 1940s stating ‘bathing in cold sea waves was beneficial for conditions they called “melancholy” and “spleen” – an excess of black bile that made people introverted, depressed, cautious or moody.’

The treatment of bathing in salt water for therapy is called thalassotherapy, from the Greek word thalassa, meaning sea. This treatment is nothing new and has been around for a very long time, and believed to have originated from France in the 19th century.

The therapy is applied in various forms, as either showers of warmed seawater, application of marine mud or of algae paste, soaking in hot seawater or mud and seaweed body wraps.

In 1769, a popular British doctor named Richard Russell published a paper arguing in defence of using seawater for the treatment of scurvy, jaundice, leprosy, glandular fever, and also advocated the drinking of seawater as well as swimming in it.

Today, many day spas, health and wellness retreats and spa retreats such as the Marine Body Wrap by Your Sanctuary Spa in Sydney which uses seawater, seaweed and ocean derivatives such as algae, mud and sand on the body to relax muscles, minimise stress and anxiety, and soothe skin conditions.

Another form of salt water treatment used by day spas around the world is called Balneotherapy. This is the practice of bathing in hot mineral-packed salted waters rich in magnesium such as Epsom Salts, aka: Salt Baths, which is an effective natural way to heal the skin. And it has proven to help in the treatment of skin conditions such as Psoriasis and other autoimmune skin conditions (where the immune system attacks healthy cells), itchy skin, eczema, dermatitis, cold sores, dry skin, rashes and scaly plaques.

Bathing in a salt bath is not too dissimilar to swimming in the ocean. Of course most baths at a day spa warm the water to make the whole experience more bearable than a cold swim in the ocean. The benefits are the same, as you soak the body in sea water which is mineral rich.

To reap the best benefits of soaking your whole body in sea water, whether that be a salt bath at a day spa, or swimming at the beach, it is recommended you stay in the water for at least an hour to allow for the pores of your skin to open up and soak in all the natural benefits of the sea water.

Here’s a break down of how each ingredient from sea water which may help you with your skin concerns:

Minerals: The minerals in seawater help strengthen skin, stimulate blood circulation, remove toxins, and regulate fluid retention. 

Sea Salt: Sea salt is a natural exfoliator, making it an ideal body scrub to slough off dead skin, improve skin tone, balance pH, and encourage skin repair and hydration.

Seaweed: This marine miracle naturally cleanses and purifies skin, helping soothe irritation and improve elasticity.

Algae: Algae are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and proteins that strengthen and nourish skin.

Astaxanthin: One of nature’s most potent antioxidants this natural sea ingredient is harvested from micro algae. It has been found to be 6,000 times more powerful than vitamin C in neutralizing free radicals and 1,000 times more effective than both beta-carotene and lutein in protecting the skin from exposure to UV light.

There is evidence to support magnesium absorption on the skin helps to clear skin, flush out toxins and help with skin cell regeneration. Carolyn Dean, a nutritionist and the author of The Magnesium Miracle says: “Magnesium helps improve your skin’s overall appearance, reducing acne and other skin disorders by lowering cortisol levels, stabilising hormonal imbalances, and improving cellular processes.”

Emilee Wilson, Holistic Facialist from New York says: “Magnesium is the way to go for clients who come in with redness or rosacea. I’ve been using it for facial massages as we move into the pampering portion of our sessions. The key is to leave it on long enough to get absorbed.”

This doesn’t mean you should replace your AM or PM skincare routine with a swim in the ocean, as in some circumstances, a day at the beach, also means a day of your skin being attacked by free radicals and fighting off the harmful sun rays. Yes, even when you’re wearing sunscreen.

Adopting a healthy skincare routine is a must, even when you are swimming in the ocean. However, swimming in the ocean takes your skincare to the next level, as the mineral-rich elixir of the ocean works to boost overall skin health and heal any skin concerns. 

So, think of a day at the beach, swimming in the ocean as an alternative replacement to spending time in a luxurious day spa. Except this skin treatment is free.

Of course if you can’t get to the beach and live nowhere near one, then seeking out a day spa that provides salt baths or using a beauty product which contains sea water will also give you many benefits in assisting in the treatment of your skin concerns.

Though it won’t be as a good as the real thing, here are four products which contain sea water and promise to give you similar results to a few hours of swimming in the sea.

Sand & Sky Tasmanian Spring Water Splash Serum

RRP $82.90

Powered by essential minerals, aquatic botanicals and probiotics, this serum will strengthen skin cells and smooth out wrinkles, whilst the Hyaluronic Acid component quenches the skin for long lasting hydration.

Skin will feel soft and plump after applying and stay well hydrated throughout the day.

Lush Cosmetics Sea Vegetable Soap

RRP $7.95

This all natural hand made soap contains lavender to balance and calm, lime oil to refresh and tone, Arame seaweed to soften and cleanse and salt water to heal and renew.

Skin will feel fresh and clear. Although this soap is lightly scented with natural botanical oils, there is no overpowering after-smell once you wash the soap off the skin.

La Mer Cleansing Oil

RRP $135

La Mer meaning the sea in French infuses many of their signature skincare products with ingredients from the ocean. Infused with sea salt, precious marine oils and pearl powders, this cleansing oil removes dirt and grime from the pores, giving skin a purifying wash.

Can be applied direct onto dry skin to cleanse away makeup and dirt, or mixed with water to create a cleansing wash for the skin.

Algenist Blue Algae Vitamin C Dark Spot Correcting Peel

RRP $129

This is a resurfacing & exfoliating peel that visibly reduces the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation, formulated the brands patented Alguronic Acid, an exclusive blend of Vitamin C from Blue-Green microalgae, antioxidant Phycocyanin, and AHAs, BHA & PHA.

The AHA of this product is quite high, so you will need to limit your sun exposure during the first week of using this products. And always wear sunscreen.

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Rebecca Wilkinson

CONTRIBUTOR

Say hello to Bondi Beauty's Beauty Columnist. Rebecca is a pescatarian, who may yet become vegan. She loves all things beauty, health & travel with a weakness for coffee. If she's not answering her mobile - it's probably because she's trying out the latest beauty craze like ice baths or rubbing smashed avo on her face. We know, what a waste of smashed avo. Reach out to her with your beauty questions.

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