A dermatologist reveals why sun and saltwater are the secret to clear skin


Hailey Bieber is quickly becoming one of our fave IG skin-fluencers.

After giving us the greatest quarantine gift of all – sharing an acne-prone skin routine alongside husband Justin Bieber – she has now revealed another clever clear skin tip.

And the best part? It won’t cost you a single cent (unless of course you are paying for the island / superyacht / luxury hotel Hailey was on while revealing said tip). 

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Sharing a photo of the ocean to her Instagram story whilst on vacation, Hailey revealed “my skin is always the best when I’ve spent time in the ocean.”

She then followed on to add that ocean water is an exfoliant, and the beneficial minerals found in sea salt water, (including magnesium, calcium and potassium) boast anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.

Image credit: @haileybieber

And while a dip in the ocean in the depths of winter might be a hard pill to swallow right now, we spoke to Melbourne based dermatologist Dr Shyamalar Gunatheesan, to find out if this is a tip we should be back pocketing for when the warmer months roll around.

Dr Gunatheesan confirms that those suffering from acne and psoriasis are likely to see improvements when they swim in the ocean, but also that there may be another beneficial element at play: the role sunlight is playing in combination with sea water. 

“It is thought that blue light, which is part of the visible light spectrum of sunlight, is absorbed by porphyrins produced by acne-causing bacteria.”

Another factor complementing the skin benefits of the ocean is “the combination of moderate exercise”, due to the fact that “exposure to nature and the meditative properties of the ocean work synergistically to reduce stress which then has a positive impact on our skin health.”

Image credit: @haileybieber

Two to three seaside sessions per week is the ideal frequency to reap the benefits and while Dr Gunatheesan recommends “15-20 mins for the optimal blue light exposure and the anti-inflammatory effects of sea water” she also warns not to over do it due to the “dehydrating effects” of salt water.

If you don’t have easy access to the ocean, or want to see results but aren’t ready to get in the water, Dr Gunatheesan says “some gentle early sunlight for a short period” may provide a similar result.

*This article has been updated since its original publication.

Main image credit: @olivecookeHave you ever noticed the benefits of salt water on your skin? Will you give it a try?

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Comments 125

  1. oh my goodness, the best excuse to travel to the beach everyday. The thing is it can be a little tough to just stroll to the beach and back gotta dedicate certain amount of time

  2. I 100% agree with this. My skin is always it’s best when I’ve had a dip in the ocean. I love the morning sunlight tip, but I wish there was a product that mimicked the benefits from the ocean too.

  3. This makes sense. Fifty years ago while living in Newcastle my brothers were told by our doctor to take a dip in the ocean a few days a week to clear up their acne – and it did.

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  6. Swimming in the ocean is a great way to cleanse your skin, depending if the water is clean. The more salt content, the better. I experienced the Dead Sea and my skin was great but you can’t go under the water due to the strength of the water content and you can actually float ‘sit’ on the water but heaven help if you tip over. It really stings the eyes badly. Back to our great beaches in Oz. Also very healthy to go for a dip.

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