I just got back, still jet-lagged and full of travel adrenaline, from a two-week whirlwind visit to Israel. I went with a very small group of (highly inspiring) wellness bloggers and writers via Vibe Israel, a nonprofit organization that works specifically with media and influencers to help bridge the gap between perception and reality. Our group's mission was to discover what the country had to offer in terms of health, wellness, beauty, and general quality of life.
I’ll be honest with you: I decided to go on this trip with no real idea of what to expect and was even a little nervous about my safety. Prior to landing in Tel Aviv, all I knew of Israel was what we see on the news. Not so much.
I wish I could sit here and write about my entire journey from beginning to end, and with time, I'll share more. Right now, though, I'm isolating one experience that stood out, and pertains particularly to my skincare interests: a visit to the Dead Sea.
A Tour Around the Dead Sea
Our group was able to experience something many people don't: a private boat tour on the blue-green, glassy waters with a geological expert. There's only one company that offers this, and they're a tiny husband-and-wife team with a total of two small boats. This is because it requires a special kind of boat and expertise to float on top of the dense, shallow water. For perspective, on the day we went to the Dead Sea, we were the only folks boating in the water.
Doing this special tour allowed us to see the non-beachy, non-tourist-laden side of the Dead Sea. For example, we traveled to an abandoned beach that was closed down due to sink holes (a phenomenon that occurs when the "sweet" water meets the salty water underneath and causes the earth to collapse). We also visited unique shorelines, like the one pictured above where salt was very thick, and another where "salt pearls" form.
The Health Benefits
You're probably aware of how coveted the nutrient-rich salt and mud are from the Dead Sea and how several brands package it up and sell it to the public, including Ahava and Seacret. What you may not know is why it's so good for your skin.
The mud contains naturally occurring minerals, including silicon, calcium, aluminum, magnesium, iron, sodium, potassium and chloride, which the body absorbs. It detoxifies, nixes excess sebum, improves circulation, and noticeably softens the skin.
As for the salty sea itself, your body floats in it because it's 29% salt (versus a standard ocean salt content of 4%), which creates a natural buoyancy. Floating helps provide relief for your joints, the same as a trip to the ol' flotation spa would. Additionally, the water contains chloride and bromide, magnesium, sodium, calcium and potassium, and has been proven to combat psoriasis, acne, aging, and even other ailments such as arthritis.
Slathering myself with mud and then rinsing it off in the sea made my skin feel so remarkably soft that I couldn't stop touching it for the rest of the day.
Obviously, you can purchase products made with Dead Sea salts and mud, but actually being there has its own benefits, as well.
For starters, because it's at such a low elevation (the lowest in the world at -1,410.8 feet), the sun isn't as strong. The combination of salt and a milder exposure to sun is particularly good for those with psoriasis.
Another fun fact about the Dead Sea is that it has a higher concentration of oxygen (roughly 3.3% in the summer and 4.8% during winter), also due to low elevation. This provides a subtle but noticeable "high." I'll just say that we were a happy, giggly bunch by the end of the day.
My visit to this bizarre natural wonder was an exceptional life experience, and I say that with having had the privilege to explore many impressive places on this beautiful Earth. It was physically therapeutic, mentally stimulating, and spiritually nourishing. And yes, I'm already trying to figure out a way to go back in this lifetime.
- Have you ever used a product with Dead Sea salt or mud?
- What place on Earth makes you feel the happiest (and no, it doesn't have to have an abnormally high oxygen content)?
- Have you ever been to the Dead Sea?