Body & Soul: Natural Sea Beauty


Kelp can bring a healthy glow to your complexion.

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Have you ever noticed the way cuts and blemishes heal quickly when bathed in seawater? Or how troubles seem to evaporate when you sit on the beach, listening to the crash of the waves?

Since ancient times, people throughout the world have turned to the sea for its remarkable healing power. Many of us spend weeks at the seaside each year to refresh body, mind and spirit by reconnecting with nature. Indeed, some even think of the sound of the ocean waves as the sound of the earth breathing.

More than 75 percent of our planet is covered in seawater, which contains natural salts and herbs (seaweed) and is one of our greatest sources of health and beauty. Consider the story of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty, who was born of sea foam off the coast of Cyprus. To the ancient Greeks, her image was one of beauty and love, and her beauty secrets originated in the ocean waves.

Some of the more popular sea herbs used in modern cosmetics include carrageenan, a gel extracted from Irish sea moss; bladderwrack, a brown seaweed often used in body wraps to eliminate excess fluid from the skin; and kelp, a brown algae used in facial masks and body scrubs for its exfoliating properties.

Sea plants provide beauty benefits because they are rich in minerals that are easily absorbed by our skin and hair. Thalassotherapy (seawater treatment) is growing in popularity as more people discover the many benefits of sea herbs and salts.

Incorporating the sea’s natural gifts into your own beauty routine is easy. You’ll find many dehydrated seaweeds and sea salts to choose from at your natural health store or online.  

Janice Cox is the author of Natural Beauty at Home and Natural Beauty from the Garden (Henry Holt & Company, New York). For more recipes and ideas, visit her website at