Being in the ocean waves is exhilarating. It refreshes, excites and certainly awakens the senses. Surfing and kayaking are both great for physical and cardiovascular health and for building balance and core strength. They’re also both good for resetting the mind after a stressful day or week, helping to improve mental health and wellbeing.
In fact, surfing is so good for all-round physical and mental health, that doctors in Devon and Cornwall are now prescribing it for young children with mental health worries and concerns.
Like with any outdoor activity; however, there are steps that need to be taken before heading off to the waves. Aside from the right training, wearing the right gear and being aware of the strength of the sea, we need to think about our skin. Here’s why…
The Downside of the Sea – Too Much Salt
Just like too much salt is bad for our heart and blood pressure, being exposed to salty water over long periods can cause dry, sore, dehydrated skin.
Saltwater contains important, health-giving minerals and trace elements such as magnesium, potassium, iodine and sulphur. And there’s no doubt that living the beach life makes us happy. Surfing is, in particular, is synonymous with glamorous, carefree souls, with sun-kissed skin and salty ‘beach wave’ hair.
But the reality is often very different. Knotty, tangled hair and dehydrated, sore, irritated skin. Sure, salt water is often useful for healing cuts and scrapes and keeping infections at bay. But as with so many of life’s pleasures, we can only have so much of a good thing.
Frequent exposure to salt water, as is the case with surfing and kayaking, can dehydrate the skin, as the salt sucks moisture from the skin cells. Especially so, if your skin is naturally quite dry and that is without mentioning surf rash and board rash!
Tips for dealing with salt water
Repeated exposure to salt water can cause areas of the skin to become sore and flaky, especially around the neck where the wet or dry suit ends. Surfers’ rash, caused by the skin’s natural barriers being weakened by salt water, and then being broken down further by the exfoliating nature of the salt and friction against the surfboard is a common complaint.
Our range of skincare products are ideal for surfers, kayakers and anyone who hangs out at the beach a lot. They’re all made with natural ingredients, organic where possible, that are proven to heal, nourish and protect weathered or stressed skin.
The importance of sunscreen
Even in a wetsuit, sunscreen is still important for your exposed bits of skin, such as your face and neck. Conventional sunscreens contain oxybenzone, which is a harsh, synthetic chemical linked to health and environmental concerns.
Oxybenzone mimics the female hormone oestrogen, and studies suggest that long term exposure to it can lead to fertility problems and a worsening of endometriosis symptoms. Not only that, but it’s also thought to contribute to coral bleaching when it’s washed off our bodies and into the sea. The problem is so severe that Hawaii has now banned the use of sunscreens containing oxybenzone.
For these reasons, we don’t include oxybenzone in any of our products. Instead, we recommend a mineral sunscreen. These kinds of sunscreens contain mineral-based ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. They form a physical barrier against the sun’s rays rather than a chemical one. A further benefit to surfers and kayakers is that they tend to stay on the skin better, even when wet.
Getting the most from life
At Balmy Fox we get it, you need simple, easy to carry and apply skin solutions to fit in with your active lifestyle. So, don’t let salty water ruin your enjoyment of your favourite hobbies or your skin.
Kind to you, the planet and the people who produce our ingredients, Balmy Fox surf balms, creams and rubs are inspired by nature, to work in harmony with nature. Choose “On the Water” formulas from our Anti Chafe surf rash cream, to our anti-inflammatory muscle rub and Enjoy!