The Truth About Ocean Water & Your Skin

The Truth About Ocean Water & Your Skin

Historically, ocean water has been known to cure diseases of both the body and the soul. It all began with English physicians in the late 16th-century who began endorsing the healing effects of cold ocean water to promote circulation, cure illness, and treat melancholy. [2] Today we still think fondly of the sea’s healing powers for relaxation and revival of our bodies and minds. Many report improvements in various skin conditions after a dip in the ocean. Although water from the sea has multiple benefits, there are also some risks that are important to be aware of. 

Let’s dive deeper into the skincare benefits and dangers of the deep blue sea and how you can stay protected.

Ocean Water Benefits 

Have you ever noticed how soft your skin is after a quick dive in the ocean? Or perhaps you have had an acne flare-up dissipate after a swim in the sea. Ocean water has a rich mineral content containing nutrients that our skin needs including magnesium, potassium, calcium, selenium, sodium, and sulfur. The Magnesium in this mineral cocktail has been found to be especially beneficial for dry skin. Those with eczema and psoriasis have reported excellent improvements from water rich in magnesium, such as dead sea salts. [3] 

Additionally, salt is antibacterial and antimicrobial, so swimming in salt water can help ward off acne-causing bacteria. Skin professionals have long known about the benefits of salt for the skin. Salt Facials are becoming increasingly popular for combating aging and problematic skin. Salt Facials are praised for being safe for all skin types and Fitzpatricks while providing deep exfoliation and healing. 

Ocean Water Dangers

Although ocean water is full of skin beneficial minerals, it also harbors some dangers. As we continue to pollute our oceans with city runoff and wastewater, the sandy beaches we enjoy are becoming more and more toxic. 

A recent study conducted by UC Irvine found that “ocean water exposure can alter the diversity and composition of the human skin microbiome,“ said Marisa Chattman Nielsen, MS, a Ph.D. student and lead author on the study. Recent studies have demonstrated that changes in the microbiome can cause susceptibility to infection and disease. [1]  Exposure to these waters can cause gastrointestinal and respiratory illness, ear infections, and skin infections.

Nielsen continues, “While swimming normal resident bacteria were washed off while ocean bacteria were deposited onto the skin." The skin is the body’s first line of defense, so when normal bacteria is taken over by foreign bodies of bacteria, fighting off infection becomes more difficult. [1]

Protect Yourself

By all means, continue to enjoy the wonders of the ocean, but keep yourself safe by taking some precautions. To stay protected from ocean bacteria, avoid swimming with open wounds. Take advantage of the showers found at many public beaches and rinse off ocean water as soon as you can. Become aware of the quality of water at the beach you go to and stay informed of any changes. 

The most common way we get premature skin damage is due to sun exposure. Always protect your skin with sunscreen and remember to reapply when needed. Oxygenetix Oxygenating Foundation & Acne Control Foundation with SPF 30 protect the skin all day until washed off. With a 90 minute water-resistant formula, enjoy a dip in the pool or a swim in the ocean without worry. Unlike most sunscreens that clog pores, Oxygenetix topicals are non-comedogenic and pro-healing, allowing the skin to function properly and protect you from environmental stressors. 


Thank you for reading! May your joy be as deep as the ocean, and your sorrows as light as it’s foam.


1 American Society For Microbiology

2 The Atlantic

3 Livestrong


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