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4 Potential Skin Benefits of Seawater

sea and sand / seawater has beneficial effects on the skin

If you reside in a coastal area and frequently go for a swim in suitable weathers, then you – in terms of maintaining as well as improving your health – are one step ahead of someone who lives in a crowded city with no coastline.

This is because you are not limited to annual holidays to swim in the sea. You can go for a swim whenever you want (in your spare time) thanks to your residential proximity to the sea.

Swimming itself is a quite healthy exercise regardless of what type of water you swim in. However, swimming in seawater can multiply the benefits of swimming owing to the fact that saltwater contains various beneficial elements for the human body.

In this article, we will be discussing one of the benefits of seawater; namely skin benefits.


Highlights of the Article

The main reason that seawater is good for your skin is that seawater contains many beneficial elements for the human body. Magnesium, potassium and iron can be given as examples.

When you are in the sea, your body is directly exposed to nutrient-rich seawater; therefore, it shouldn’t be surprising to hear that seawater is good particularly for your skin.

As for the potential skin benefits of seawater:

  • Seawater may help combat acne
  • Salty seawater is a natural exfoliant
  • Seawater can be good for psoriasis
  • Seawater may improve eczema symptoms.

If you want to know more about these claimed benefits of seawater please keep on reading. Below, you will find a detailed explanation of how seawater brings the skin benefits in question.


Beneficial Elements In The Seawater

Before, diving into the skin benefits of saltwater, we need to know what substances in the seawater can improve your skin health; after all, they are the main reason why seawater is beneficial for your skin.

Primarily, it is important to underline that by no means does seawater consist of only water and salt. Seawater also contains dissolved inorganic and organic materials, particulates, and a few atmospheric gases, according to Britannica (1). 

More importantly, though, seawater contains approximately fifty naturally occurring minerals such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, boron, iodine, copper, zinc and iron, according to Stanford University (2).

Bear in mind that minerals are essential for healthy skin, they aid in regulating pH levels and play a crucial role in cell structure (3), (4).


4 Skin Benefits of Seawater 

In this section, we are going to talk about 4 potential skin benefits of saltwater and try to provide scientific evidence for each benefit.


1- Might Be Temporary Cure For Acne

Yes, you heard that right, seawater can be a natural remedy for acne!! However, as is evident in the subtitle, the positive impact of sea saltwater on acne will most likely be temporary.

Before explaining why seawater brings only temporary relief for acne, we need to answer what makes seawater useful for this skin condition in the first place.

The answer is obvious! Seawater contains zinc, sulfur, magnesium, potassium, sodium chloride and also other trace minerals. The presence of these minerals can help you combat acne when you soaked your skin in seawater.

To be more precise, though, these essential minerals and other nutrients found in the seawater can balance the amount of oil on the skin and also reduce bacteria on the skin surface. That, in turn, can prevent acne breakouts temporarily. And, multiple studies point out the same conclusion (5),(6),(7),(8).

That being said, continual exposure to the seawater along with the sun’s UV rays cause dry skin, which may worsen acne breakouts, let alone healing it (9).

Considering all, it should be said that seawater can be a natural but temporary solution for acne. Yet, if you frequently expose your acne-prone skin to saltwater on hot summer days, the result can be the opposite for you.


2- Might Be Ideal For Eczema Sufferers

It would be misleading to say that ” swimming in a salty seawater is totally safe and soothing for people with eczema”. This is because the opinions and experiences vary.

While some people with eczema find swimming in the ocean soothing, others with the same skin condition report that swimming is painful.

Though, anecdotal evidence collected from parents whose children suffer from atopic eczema mostly points out that swimming in the salty seawater improves eczema (10).

Furthermore, in one study, researchers discovered that applying concentrated deep seawater inhibits the development of atopic dermatitis (11).

Nonetheless, more and more studies are necessary to fully understand the effect of mineral-rich seawater on eczema.

If you have eczema and love swimming in the sea, don’t forget to rinse off your entire body and moisturise your skin both before and after swimming.


3- Might Be Good For Psoriasis

NHS defines psoriasis as a skin condition that causes red, flaky, crusty patches of skin covered with silvery scales (12).

Unfortunately; there is no cure for psoriasis, but there are treatment methods that can improve symptoms. The claim is that mineral-rich seawater can help improve psoriasis symptoms!

For instance; in one study, researchers aimed to evaluate the effect of the Dead Sea, which is a salt lake located between Israel and Jordan, on a total of 27 psoriasis patients.

Results showed that soaking in the Dead Sea is a highly effective treatment for moderate to severe plaque-type psoriasis (13).

There are also other studies in which patients reported feeling better after being exposed to salty Dead Sea water along with sunbathing (14),(15).

Seawater and Dead Sea water have nutritional similarities, for instance, both of them contain various minerals. For this reason, people with psoriasis, in general, see improvement in their psoriasis symptoms after ocean swimming, too.


4- Seawater Has an Exfoliating Effect

Another potential benefit of seawater is to give you smooth and soft skin after a day spent on the beach.

Because seawater is a natural exfoliant. The salt in the seawater helps your body to produce new healthy skin cells by exfoliating the dead skin.

That indicates, you may not need to use cosmetic exfoliating products on hot summer days to rejuvenate your skin. You can slough off dead skin cells by simply soaking your body in the salty seawater.



Although, swimming or hanging out in seawater is beneficial both mentally and physically, there are some things to keep in mind.

  • Avoid swimming in the sea with an open wound. After all beneficial minerals are not the only substances in the seawater, there are also bacteria living in the ocean.
  • Don’t forget to rinse off seawater as soon as possible.
  • Unfortunately, we human beings pollute our environments including oceans. So, make sure the water you desire to swim in is clean enough. Otherwise, let alone getting benefits, you may harm yourself.
  • If you expose to the sun UV ray, it can damage your skin. So, remember to protect your skin with sunscreen on the beach.



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