Seawater is especially known for its concentration of salt, which has a drying and aggressive effect on the skin. However, this salt water has unsuspected benefits for the skin. Discover the surprising virtues of the sea on our skin.
What Does Seawater Contain?
The content of seawater varies according to the geographical location and depth of the water. It is extremely rich in minerals (sodium, calcium, chlorine...) and trace elements (zinc, iodine, sulfur...). However, this richness is more significant in deep water.
Because of this composition, seawater is more and more used to treat skin problems through thalassotherapy for example. Moreover, in recent years, the demand for cosmetic products from marine resources has increased due to their unique chemical and biological properties that are not present in terrestrial resources.
The Effects of Deep Sea Water on the Skin.
Deep sea water has proven to have many benefits for the skin, due to its high mineral and trace element content:
Deep sea water and skin pathologies.
According to a study, deep sea water improves skin lesions of people suffering from eczema and atopic dermatitis by decreasing inflammation, lichenification and cracked skin.
Note: Lichenification is a scratch-induced skin lesion characterized by a thickening of the skin. The lesion is usually purple-red to brown and is covered with scales.
In patients with eczema and atopic dermatitis, we generally observe an imbalance of various essential minerals in the scalp, as well as the presence of toxic minerals. Deep sea water helps to restore essential minerals and reduce toxic mineral levels. Another study has shown that deep sea water reduces allergic responses in the skin.
Deep sea water and healing.
Deep sea water also has healing properties. Studies have shown that it can heal atopic skin lesions by improving skin symptoms such as edema, erythema, dryness, itching, transepidermal water loss (TEWL), decreased epidermal thickness and inflammatory cell infiltration.
Caution! Do not bathe in seawater in case of open wounds. This could lead to an infection.
Deep sea water and skin cancer.
A study suggests that deep sea water is involved in preventing the development of UVB-induced skin cancer. Deep sea water has been shown to increase cell death by autophagy of skin cells damaged by the sun's UVB rays.
Note: Autophagy is a physiological mechanism of cell destruction by its own lysosomes.
Focus: the Dead Sea.
Dead Sea water, with its high magnesium content, strengthens the skin barrier, improves hydration, and reduces roughness, redness and inflammation.
In fact, it promotes the production of proteins involved in the maintenance of the skin barrier, such as filaggrin, involucrin and transglutaminase. Moreover, it increases the cutaneous secretion of beta-endorphin which has calming and analgesic (pain-relieving) properties. This secretion of beta-endorphin is very useful to calm itching related to pathologies, such as eczema, psoriasis or the atopic dermatitis.
To note: Beta-endorphins are neuropeptides produced in epidermal skin cells after an external stimulus.
An attenuation in the expression of cytokines related to inflammation and irritation by Dead Sea water has also been observed, justifying its anti-inflammatory effects.
Good to know: The Dead Sea is 10 times saltier than other seas! According to some studies, 28 to 33% of salt is found in the Dead Sea. Other seas have a salt concentration of 2 to 4%.
URQUHART C. & al. Bathing in a magnesium-rich Dead Sea salt solution improves skin barrier function, enhances skin hydration, and reduces inflammation in atopic dry skin. International Journal of Dermatology (2005).
MUSA M. N. & al. Potential health benefits of Deep Sea water : A Review. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2016).
NAM K. S. & al. The preventive effect of deep sea water on the development of cancerous skin cells through the induction of autophagic cell death in UVB-damaged HaCaT keratinocyte. Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy (2018).
MA'OR Z. & al. Dead Sea minerals: new findings on skin and the biology beyond. Experimental Dermatology (2019).
PINTO M. & al. Marine-derived compounds with potential use as cosmeceuticals and nutricosmetics. Molecules (2020).