Health Benefits of the Beach and Sea Water to Skin and Hair
The Health Benefits of a Trip to the Beach
We all love relaxing on the beach, but did you know that the beach provides countless health benefits, as well? Simply by throwing on a swim suit and driving to the shore, you can help improve your acne, skin smoothness, dandruff, brain strength, and more.
Combine the salt water with sand, sun, seaweed, and seafood, and it's practically like going to a spa—if you know what to do, that is.
The Health and Beauty Benefits of Salt Water
Many of us have been told that sea water is good for us. We have been told to “take our troubles to the water,” but what does the ocean really do for our health?
Well, let’s start off with the basics. We are made up of water. Our bodies consist of about two-thirds water, and the only mineral we can ingest is salt. We have the elements of sea water within our systems, so how does swimming in the ocean help us?
- First of all, sea water is a miracle treatment for acne and semi-permanent scars. Salt is an excellent curing, clearing, and cleansing agent. Why do you think we cure pork with salt? Sodium chloride helps to cleanse the skin and is effective for mild acne. Instead of using harsh chemicals that can damage pores and cause scarring, try taking a trip to the waves instead.
- Salt water heals cuts and sores. Have you ever been told to go into the ocean for your scrapes? Salt water has been used as a cleanser for thousands of years. It helps rid the skin of toxins and cures cuts. That’s why it is often recommended that we gargle with salt water. Salt also dries out the pus in wounds. It may sting when you first touch the water, but when you come out, your sores should be much less painful than they were before you went in.
- Salt water also acts as a natural shampoo. Have you noticed that your hair is extremely dry after coming out of the water? This is because the salt in the ocean removes excess oils. If you have a particularly greasy scalp, then salt water is an excellent way to strip those heavy oils. Bathing in sea water also adds volume to your hair, especially if you use many products. The salt gets rid of the built-up chemicals from conditioners, hair sprays, and gels, and thus your hair isn’t nearly as weighed down. The water even gets rid of dandruff, especially when the salt particles are large, because it acts as an exfoliant to your scalp.
- It clears your nasal passageways. If you’ve ever gone into the water with a stuffed nose, you know that the moment salt water enters your nose, tons of goop comes seeping out. Gross, right? If you’ve ever had a stuffed nose, you may have used a neti pot full of salt water to cleanse your sinuses. Doctors often recommend flushing the nostrils with salt water to help alleviate built-up mucus. Why use a neti pot when you can just go for a swim? Don’t worry, whatever goes into the water gets cleansed by the ocean’s natural janitors, the algae and sea plants.
- Finally, swimming in sea water helps you stay fit. This is perhaps the most conventional of the beach's benefits. When you are swimming, you use muscles in your shoulders, arms, and legs that aren’t used in any other activity. That’s why swimming is often recommended as a great way to exercise. Even treading water at a fast pace will burn 590 calories an hour if you weigh less than 130 lbs. If you weigh more, then it burns even more calories.
Is it Healthy to Drink Salt Water?
You've probably heard that drinking salt water is bad for you, and this is certainly true if it is your only source of hydration. Salt water is called a hypertonic fluid because it has a has a salinity level of 35. It contains almost four times the amount of salt than human blood! Too much salt causes cell shrinkage and wreaks havoc on our bodies. If you drink too much salt water, you will actually deplete your body of fluids.
You may have been told that salt is bad for you, and it is true that excess sodium is not healthy. However, if you have good health, watch your diet, and do not overindulge in salty foods, drinking a solution of salty water can be good for you. Small doses of unrefined sea salt can be very beneficial to your health, since salt has many trace minerals and nutrients your body needs. Salty water and drinks are imbibed after a heavy workout by extreme athletes to help them regain the salt and fluid they lost in sweat. Salt water was used in ancient Ayurvedic practices to cleanse and detox the body. Some say drinking salt water helps clean and repair your digestive tract. Among other benefits, salt helps to
- maintain a healthy balance of blood sugar
- regulate your metabolism
- boost the immune system
- maintain bone strength
- alleviate inflammation
- maintain healthy skin
Instead of drinking seawater (which may be too impure or salty), most proponents of doing a salt water flush simply drink a big glass of moderately-salty water when they get up in the morning. Simply dissolve anywhere from 3 or 4 teaspoons of good salt (sea salt, Himalayan salt, or iodized salt is fine) in about 4 cups of water and drink.
Consult your doctor before you add any salt to your diet.
The Health and Beauty Benefits of Sand
Obviously, at the beach, sand is everywhere. We walk in it, bury ourselves in it, and play with it. But how do these little grains of rock turn the beach into a spa?
- Perhaps most importantly, sand is a natural exfoliant. Have you ever noticed that after leaving the beach, the soles of your feet are really soft? This is because you’ve been walking around on the sand all day! The finer the sand, the better the exfoliation. Although I do not recommend using sand on your face because it can be harsh, for your legs, feet, arms, or torso, the grains make for a healthy alternative to the chemical-heavy exfoliants you buy at the store. It is important to exfoliate because you are simultaneously stripping away dead skin cells (thereby making your skin soft to the touch) and allowing your pores to breathe better (making break-outs less likely). It is recommended that you exfoliate twice a week. So now you have an excuse to head to the beach!
- Walking in sand also helps you stay fit. Did you ever notice how walking on the beach takes so much more effort than walking on the ground? This is because of the sand's inconsistency and how it shifts under your feet. You burn up to 50% more calories walking on sand—plus, since your muscles are trying so hard to get traction, they get toned a lot faster. Now you know why those beach joggers are so fit!
- Finally, have you ever buried yourself in the sand? You might have thought this was just a fun thing to do, but it turns out that doing this is good for you, too. It increases your body’s overall resistance and also raises your circulation and metabolism. Your body works a lot harder with all that extra weight on it. This is similar to the effect of being bigger than other people: It’s easy to see that the more you weigh, the harder your body has to work. This is why it is often easier for people who are especially thin to do exercise than someone who has more weight. By burying yourself in the sand, your body has to work harder, thus increasing your heart rate and consequently your metabolism.
Health and Beauty Benefits of Sun and Heat
We all love to bathe in the sun’s warm rays, but this relaxing activity can also help your body and mind.
- It is a well-known fact that human beings should get some sun. Ideally, you should spend at least half an hour in full sun daily. Most people know that light from the sun stimulates vitamin D production in your body, but what does vitamin D do? Well, in scientific terms, it is a fat-soluble vitamin or a secosteroid. It goes into the nucleus of cells in your body and either turns them on or off. Vitamin D helps to reduce your risk of heart attacks, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, and depression, while also boosting your immune system, reducing acne, and combating type 2 diabetes. Perhaps most importantly, vitamin D helps to dramatically reduce your risk of cancer. Due to the growing shift towards working in cubicles and offices rather than outside, vitamin D levels are at an all-time low worldwide. There's a great excuse to go to the beach! Don’t forget to use a sunscreen of at least SPF 15 because this way you will get vitamin D but reduce the risk of skin cancer.
- It turns out that exposure to the sun also makes you happier. People who don’t spend at least a half an hour a day in the sun are nine times as likely to be depressed. So keep that smile going strong by going to the beach.
- The sun also makes you look great. This one may go without saying, but I had to include it on this list because it’s one of my main reasons for going to the beach. Sunlight stimulates the production of melanin in your skin (gives you a gorgeous tan). It also lightens hair, giving it natural and lustrous streaks. (Don’t forget to use shampoo that has SPF 15 because your hair can get damaged from too much exposure.)
- Finally, the sun (and consequently the heat) also makes you perspire which, as it turns out, stimulates your heart rate, circulation, and metabolism. Sweating is very healthy, ridding the body of excess toxins while also helping it cool off. So don’t be afraid to let out the sweat!
Health and Beauty Benefits of Seaweed and Sea Food
Seaweed is one of the most revolutionary and extraordinary natural health agents of all time. According to recent studies conducted by biochemist Dr. Haengwoo Lee, the benefits of seaweed are staggering. Seafood (such as crabs, oysters, lobsters, and salmon), while being delicious, is also wonderful for you brain and heart.
- Seaweed contains an antioxidant that is up to 100 times more powerful than antioxidants like vitamins C and E. This “super-antioxidant” has wondrous health benefits. Studies show that taking a seaweed supplement for only six weeks can reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing HDL (good) cholesterol, increasing the elasticity and openness of arteries, improving memory, boosting circulation, enhancing mental sharpness, and even helping you sleep better.
- Seafood, especially salmon, tuna, and catfish, contain omega 3 fatty acids. Normally our bodies get bombarded by omega 6 fatty acids, these fats are found usually in chips or other packaged products. However, over 70% of humans lack omega 3 fatty acids because they are so hard to find. Among the few foods that have omega 3s besides seafood are nuts and avocados. But fish and fish oil is undoubtedly the most plentiful supply of these healthy fats. Omega 3 not only regulates the triglycerides in the blood, but also reduces blood clotting, inflammation, risk of heart disease and stroke, and is vital in the production of brain and eye tissue. It's so important that it is often added to baby formula.
So after your day of spa treatments at the beach, get some of the other benefits from the ocean while also filling your belly by getting some seafood. Pair it with seaweed, as they do in sushi, and you'll maximize the benefits!
Don’t forget to moisturize when you get home from the beach. Although the sand and water are good for your, salt can also be drying, so after a day at the beach spa, take a shower, and put on some lotion.