Yep, that's right. Today we are going to talk about the ever so important, yet rarely highlighted topic: The three "s" words.
No, not those three 'S' words; what were you thinking?! Oh! You meant skin, shower and salt? So did I! I'm so glad we're on the same page!
Skin. Shower. Salt (Epsom, of course.)
All of these three components work together in tandem to make the overall floatation experience a healthy and beneficial one. How is that so? Well, that's why I'm here to explain it all! Onward we go to the first S...
While your skin is made of three layers including the subcutis and the dermis, hot showers affect the outermost layer, the epidermis.
The epidermis is mostly composed of skin cells loaded with keratin, the same substance that makes up your hair and nails. These cells, called keratinocytes, not only provide a tough defense against the environment but also help your skin to retain moisture. To help keratinocytes retain the skin's moisture, your body produces a thin layer of oil.
Together, the outermost layer of skin cells and oil comprise the stratum corneum, and it's this layer that takes a beating during a hot shower. (All of this is important, I promise.)
First, the heat from the shower makes the skin's oils soften, much as butter softens and melts when heated. Add some soap into the mix, and the skin's oil barrier will be stripped away in no time. Granted, this isn't an altogether bad thing; that same oil barrier traps dirt and sweat, which leads to body odor. Still, without those oils, the moisture in your skin easily escapes, leading to dry and itchy skin.
The longer and hotter the shower, the faster this process takes place and the more moisture you're likely to lose. Once you step out of the shower, you may notice your skin reddens and itches, a sure sign your skin has started to dry out. With regular hot showers, you might also notice dry patches of skin that feel scaly or even start to crack.
Unfortunately, dry winter air only exacerbates the problem, wicking away even more moisture from the skin, so try to avoid the temptation of a hot shower when the temperature plummets.
Skin and (Epsom) Salt
If you're plagued by dry skin from continuous hot showers, cold weather or other skin condition, it might help to know that the magnesium sulfate (Epsom salt) we use in our tanks can benefit you!
The ionic nature of magnesium sulfate makes it a natural skin softener. It also serves an an anti-inflammatory, which can benefit those with eczema, psoriasis, or other skin conditions that cause irritation and/or dryness.
Onto the second S...
There are several basic reasons we ask our clients to shower before and after their float. We already have an amazing blog on these reasons: The anatomy of a pre and post float shower. In it, you will find answers to most of the commonly asked questions regarding the showers, including a pretty detailed walk through of what to do once we have completed your intake and you are nice and secluded in your private room.
'Shower' is included in the three 'S' words for two main reasons:
- The temperature at which you take your shower contributes to the health of your skin and may potentially affect the ability to enjoy your time in the flotation tank.
As I mentioned earlier, hot showers can exacerbate dry skin and make it worse. This isn't good for your skin. Hot showers can also contribute to your feeling a little chilly inside of the floatation tank. The water temperature in our tanks is pretty close to 94.1 degrees Fahrenheit. If you take an overly hot shower and warm up your surface skin temperature, you might feel a little on the cool side once you get into the tank and begin to relax.
The key is to take a fairly warm, but not overly hot shower before your float. Use the provided body wash to get off any dirt or excess oil, then slip into the tank and enjoy the skin rejuvenating benefits of the magnesium sulfate.
- Using the salt that accumulates on your skin during your float can be used in your post-float shower.
Using the Epsom salt as an exfoliation agent can leave your skin supple and soft. Don't forget to apply a small amount of lotion after you dry off, though! Adding back some of the moisture the body wash got rid of is important. Epsom salt is also a natural volumizer for hair, so be sure to scrub it in with the provided shampoo for a nice, natural lift.
Salt, Epsom salt.
The Epsom salt utilized in our floatation tanks is beneficial to more than just your skin. Here are some of the ways in which magnesium sulfate can benefit our bodies:
Eases stress and relaxes the body
Stress drains the body of magnesium and increases levels of adrenaline. When dissolved in warm water, Epsom salt is absorbed through the skin and replenishes the level of magnesium in the body.
The magnesium helps to produce serotonin, a mood-elevating chemical within the brain that creates a feeling of calm and relaxation. Research shows that magnesium also increases energy and stamina by encouraging the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the energy packets made in the cells.
Magnesium ions also relax and reduce irritability by lowering the effects of adrenaline. They create a relaxed feeling, improve sleep and concentration, and help muscles and nerves to function properly.
Helps muscles and nerves function properly
Studies show that Epsom salt can help regulate electrolytes in your body, ensuring proper functioning of the muscles, nerves and enzymes. Magnesium is also known to be critical in the proper use of calcium, which serves as a main conductor of the electric impulses in your body.
Helps prevent hardening of arteries and blood clots
Epsom salt is believed to improve heart health and help prevent heart disease and strokes by improving blood circulation, protecting the elasticity of arteries, preventing blood clots and reducing the risk of sudden heart attack deaths.
Makes insulin more effective
Proper magnesium and sulfate levels increase the effectiveness of insulin in the body, helping to lower the risk or severity of diabetes.
Come visit us!
If you are interested in taking advantage of the aforementioned benefits, we'd like to invite you to book a float. To learn even more about floating and its benefits, check out the Float page on our website. If you're interested in the history of floating and floatation tanks, we have a page on our site for that as well!
Until next time, be well and float on!