The ancient mariner complained, “water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink”. Ankita Mamgain dives in to find out how could something almost toxic when ingested, be so beneficial for the skin.
Ever wonder why after sitting in a non-salt bath your skin starts to wrinkle and prune but for the same amount of time spent swimming in the sea it doesn’t? Well, this is because salt reproduces an environment in balance with our skin making it retain most of its moisture. The benefits of seawater stretch far beyond this and were recognised by ancient civilisations. This boundless mineral wealth has once again hit the limelight in the form of luxury skincare products that deliver marine goodness.
Dead Sea products and Thalassotherapy are perhaps the two things that immediately come to mind when the topic of ‘sea for skin’ is approached.
Thalassotherapy is the therapeutic use of the ocean, its climate and marine products like algae, seaweed and alluvial mud. The name comes from the Greek words thalassa (the sea) and therap (treat).
The principle behind this is repeated exposure to sea air and immersion in warm seawater, mud, clay and protein-rich algae, which helps restore the body’s natural chemical balance.
Seawater and human plasma are very similar. This makes absorption of nutrients such as magnesium, potassium, calcium sulphates and sodium much easier through the skin.
These are said to boost the body’s blood and lymph circulation, accelerating the metabolism and promoting the elimination of toxins.
Magnesium and calcium, improve hydration by strengthening the barrier function of the skin. Bromine has anti-inflammatory properties, calms and relaxes muscles and skin nerves. These minerals, in addition to other components of unrefined salt, have been classified by scientists as “natural moisturisation factors” for the way they support the skin’s water balance.
The Dead Sea gave a massive boost to the skin care industry when researchers revealed its extraordinary skin care benefits. A number of independent studies show that Dead Sea minerals reduce roughness and inflammation, improving overall skin health.
Another remarkable gift of the sea is seaweed. From cleansing to toning, moisturising to repairing, it has earned some serious kudos in the skincare world. For centuries Northern European and Asian cultures have harvested it from nutrient-rich ocean waters to alleviate dry, irritated skin, reduce inflammation, and detoxify the body.
On a cellular level, it helps to prevent damage to amino acids and protects the cell’s membranes. This results in protection against free radical attacks and, hence, anti-aging.
Seaweed extract can also ‘re-organise’ the cell membrane structure to reverse cell damage and restore cells to a healthy state.
Living on an island it would be unfair if we didn’t get a chance to indulge in this marine goodness. Lucky for us many leading spas offer treatments that use seawater and minerals.