“A dip in the ocean will fix it.”
If you’ve ever had a graze, blocked sinuses, a bad breakout, then you’ve likely been encouraged to get to the beach and let your body soak in some restorative salt water. No matter the temperature.
Now we know a long, hot day spent by and in the sea can leave your skin feeling dull, dry, sometimes irritated (which is why you need to slather your body in moisturiser post-plunge). But there are rumoured to be some benefits.
So, tell me!
Swimming in salt water can have a slight exfoliating effect, helping to increase cell turnover, remove dead cells, and restore brightness to the skin. There are very few natural ways to exfoliate your whole body, so best to make the most of it this summer.
Hot tip from our mate, Sieanna Pardi, Dermal Clinician at Northern Sydney Dermatology and Laser: “One thing I encourage my clients to do in the late afternoon is bring their coconut oil down to the beach and after their swim (while the skin is still damp), is to mix a bit of coconut oil and wet sand together and rub on the skin. A DIY natural anti-bacterial and mineral salt scrub that is so effective and nourishes the skin. When you do this and then dip in the ocean again to rinse off, it allows the magnesium and salt minerals to penetrate deeper to help kill bacteria. And it can also help with treating Keratosis Pilaris. (I personally suffer with this and it's the bloody best secret recipe for me.)”
What can it do for acne?
Salt water contains so many healing minerals like zinc, potassium, calcium, magnesium…many of which help to reduce the risk of breakouts by clearing potential bacteria and restoring the natural pH of your skin. Collectively, these minerals can also soothe redness and irritation.
These same minerals also have the power to draw out excess oil from the skin, helping to dry up any active pimples, and support the healing process (in conjunction with a nourishing skincare routine). Throw in the perks of responsibly soaking up some vitamin d, and your skin will feel so invigorated and so healthy.
“Vitamin d is super important for cell immune function and response. It plays a vital role in our skin health and without it, we can start to see a lot more skin concerns and issues. It gives us that glow, but helps control sebum production and reduce inflammatory skin responses. Think of it as a nice calming bubble bath for the skin to relax and revive.” Explains Sieanna.
“Just make sure to apply a nice nourishing oil, balm, or hydrating moisturiser afterwards, to allow those minerals to stay in the skin and do their job. I recommend this (lifestyle) routine to all my acne-prone patients. If they can, get to the beach three times a week, and post-workout is always great timing too as it saves the skin from having future breakouts.”
If you are someone who experiences congestion or considers themselves to have acne-prone skin - time to invest in some new togs.
Will my dry skin just become drier?
If you’re in the ocean for hours on end, and fail to moisturise afterwards, yes. But a quick dip, no.
The magic mineral in this instance is magnesium which protects the skin’s barrier by locking in moisture and encouraging cell regeneration. It’s also what causes that super taught feeling on the skin, when you finally get home from the beach, have a hot shower, and take a nap on the couch before dinner. If you know, you know.
In case you need another reason to kick back at the beach (besides the meditative, feel good-y effect), or book a one way flight to the Maldives, just think of how happy it will make your skin.