Nothing screams "fun in the sun" quite like a trip to the beach. The sights, sounds, and smells at the shore are somehow both exciting and relaxing. Picture yourself basking in the sunshine with sandy toes, salty hair, and the ocean breeze on your skin. For many, a fun-filled day at the beach is the ultimate summer getaway.

What's more, there are also numerous benefits of ocean water on skin—not to mention how the beach benefits your health in general. If you needed even more of a reason to hit the beach this summer, consider the many benefits for your mind and body.

Benefits of Ocean Water on Skin

Ocean water gives you just the right refreshing dose of cool you need after running across hot sand and feeling the sun on your skin. You might not know, however, that it also provides an excellent dose of minerals that soothe the skin. Seawater contains many beneficial substances like magnesium, potassium, zinc, iodine, sodium, and iron. When you take a dip into the ocean, it truly is a mineral bath for your skin.

People with sensitive skin or conditions like eczema may find ocean water to be especially beneficial. Mineral-rich ocean water can calm irritation and reduce inflammation in skin. Soaking or bathing in sea salt water is recommended to soothe symptoms of psoriasis and other dry skin conditions. The magnesium in ocean water can also encourage good skin health.

Additionally, you may be familiar with the drying effect of ocean water on skin. Salt water can help soak up excess oil in the skin and have a regenerative effect, which is why people with oily and acne-prone skin can attest to clearer skin after a day at the beach, assuming they're protected properly.

Some bath and skin care staples try to emulate the benefits of ocean water on skin. Such products include dead sea mud masks, sea salt soaks, and spa treatments containing marine ingredients. Although these aren't the real thing, bath and skin care products are one way to bring the ocean to you year-round, no matter where you are.

Benefits of the Beach

The beach has more to offer than just seawater, though. Going to the beach is remarkably beneficial both physically and mentally. Here are just some ways a beach day can change your health for the better.

  1. Increased Exercise
    You may not even realize it, but the beach has a way of getting you moving. Whether you're swimming in the ocean, walking along the shore, or playing volleyball in the sand, you're bound to get in some physical activity at the beach.
  2. Mood-Boosting Sunshine
    Sunshine is known for being a potent source of beneficial vitamin D (although not the only one), but the benefits don't end there. Sunlight can release chemicals like serotonin into your system. Nicknamed the "happy hormone," serotonin is thought to regulate your mood and may even reduce anxiety and depression.
  3. Skin Exfoliation
    Have you ever noticed your feet feel softer after taking a walk on the beach? The sand at the beach is a fine abrasive, which can gently exfoliate the skin on your feet. This helps get rid of dead skin cells, smoothing and rejuvenating your outermost layer.
  4. Mental Health
    Being out in nature is important for mental health. Interactions with nature have even been used as part of some therapies. The beach is an especially calming environment, which can have a positive effect on your mind.
  5. Stress Relief
    While happy hormones like serotonin increase at the beach, stress hormones like cortisol decrease. Each time the tide goes back out, it's thought it takes some of your stress with it. Stress management is important for overall well-being, so a visit to your local beach may be just what you need.

Sun Safety at the Beach

Although the beach is known for its warm sand, salty waters, and costal sights, it's also notorious for causing sunburns and lasting damage to the skin. The fact that people often show more skin at the beach, coupled with ultraviolet (UV) rays reflecting off the water, means it's especially important to protect your skin at the beach. Wearing sun-protective beachwear and relaxing in the shade can minimize UV exposure, but be sure to pack sunscreen, as well.

Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 30, and preferably one that's water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. Apply liberally to your face and body, and don't forget commonly missed places like behind the ears, eyelids, backs of hands, and tops of feet. As you try to squeeze the most out of your beach days, its important to reapply at least every two hours for continuous protection.

Whether you visit the beach for the benefits of ocean water on skin or simply to frolic along the shore, practice sun safety so you leave with a smile instead of a sunburn.