Saltwater is good for your skin, time to head to the beach!

Saltwater is good for your skin, time to head to the beach!

As if we needed an excuse to start planning our next trip to that relaxing oceanfront resort, or secluded beach house! Along with all the wellness benefits associated with traveling away from our daily grind, when the destination involves the ocean, many additional benefits to our health will be added. It’s not just the calming sound of the ocean waves, or the warmth of the sun on our face and the cool sand beneath our feet. Those are all great, but there are also some great physical benefits to be had from a visit to the beach. In particular, the saltwater and ocean breeze are extremely beneficial for your skin.

woman in ocean

Saltwater Can Heal Your Skin

Throughout much of history, the ocean has been thought to have healing powers. Our ancestors may not have had a handle on the science behind it, but they could see the beneficial outcomes. In more recent history, The Journal of the American Medical Association, in April of 1944 contained an article by two medical doctors describing the utilization of ocean climate in preventing and treating disease[1]. The ocean is packed full of minerals. These minerals include calcium, magnesium, selenium, zinc, and potassium which can speed our healing process and fight off skin infections. They have natural anti-inflammatory and anti microbial properties. Research has also shown ocean water to boost immune responses [2]. These properties will help fight infection, and can have a positive effect on those suffering from bacteria causing acne as well.

Beach with waves

Natural Anti-Aging Effects of the Ocean

A trip to the beach can be your very own anti-aging elixir. Those wonderful ocean minerals are good for the elasticity of our skin. They help to promote the production of healthy skin cells, accelerating cell regeneration. When you stretch out on the sand to relax and dry off, that sand acts as a natural exfoliant, getting rid of those dead cells that may be hanging around clogging your pores. Those ocean minerals reduce inflammation, as I mentioned above, and research shows that preventing and treating inflammation can actually slow down the aging process, prolonging our lives [3].

Strengthen Immune Response

Sea water has been used for many years as a method of increasing immune function, strengthening the body’s protection against viruses and bacteria. Sea bathing was used as a form of medical treatment as early as the mid eighteenth century. Taking a nice dip in the ocean increases the number of both your red and white blood cells[2]. The increase in those white blood cells will assist your body’s immune responses. The aerosols generated by the ocean surf at the beach contain tiny droplets of sea water. Breathing in that ocean air containing trace elements can help eliminate toxins found within the lungs. A trip to the beach, or even a move, has even been known to be suggested by care providers of those suffering from asthma, COPD, or other respiratory problems.

sunbather on the beach

Vitamin D Absorption

I know, salt water doesn’t directly play a part here, but I wanted to mention it anyway, because so many of us are vitamin D deficient these days, and getting some much-needed sunshine just goes hand in hand with taking advantage of all those ocean water benefits. Sun exposure is important for optimal vitamin D synthesis. Here’s the kicker, you definitely want to slather on the sunscreen to protect your skin from those damaging rays, but those same rays are responsible for the generation of vitamin D. You can’t get those rays through your office window either, they have to come from sun exposure. The vitamin is made from the cholesterol in your skin cells when they are exposed to the sun. Adequate vitamin D levels are important for calcium absorption and maintaining healthy bones, and it is very difficult to get all the vitamin D the body needs from diet alone. Low levels of vitamin D can contribute to a plethora of health problems, so we definitely want to spend enough time in the sun to generate the vitamin D our body needs. Nothing that a beautiful trip to the beach can’t handle, right?

woman exercising on the beach

Improving Our Overall Wellness

I believe in holistic wellness. Our wellness comes from not only being physically healthy, but from our emotional, spiritual, social and intellectual well-being as well. Each will affect the other, and maintaining an optimal balance is the only way to maintain wellness. I say this all the time, but I feel like I can’t say it enough. Traveling in general, has a positive effect on your entire being. Getting away from the day to day stress to relax, and focus on our total wellness is important. If the destination has amazing health rewards on top it, then that’s the naturally sweetened icing on our gluten free cake as well, right?

Seriously, we live in stressful times, and our lives continue to grow more complex. We need to focus routinely on our total wellness. Don’t wait until the wellness balloon bursts because we have been compensating one area of wellness with another. Travel to improve your overall wellness, and once traveling becomes part of who you are, then take a look at your destinations a little closer and begin to choose those destinations that will have added benefits to you. You don’t need to start with a two-week-long holiday, or even a week if you feel you can’t spare it. Start with a weekend, or even a day trip if you must, but start. You WILL reap the rewards.

Back to the ocean. If you decide that you want to enjoy all those health benefits that go along with a trip to the beach, you’ll have seemingly countless options to choose from. There are ocean getaways all over the world. From crowded beach towns to remote tropical islands. You can tailor your trip however you choose. Start making those plans now, because research out of Cornell University shows that the health benefits actually begin with the act of planning the trip.

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1. The Journal for the American Medical Association.  Thalassotherapy. April 15, 1944. Accessed August 15, 2020.

2.  The University of Alicante.  A study form the UA reveals that sea water activates the immunological system and exerts a protective effect on the body. October 25, 2012. Accessed August 15, 2020.

3. EurekAlert.  Scientists have identified the role of chronic inflammation as the cause of accelerated aging. January 29, 2020. Accessed August 15, 2020.

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