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Why Is My Skin Dry After The Beach And How To Care For It?

Are you suffering from dry skin after beach vacation? Exposure to sun and salty water can dry out our skin if we’re not careful. The first thing to know is that prevention is the most important step. However, it’s not too late to take care of your skin after getting too much sun and sand while swimming in saltwater. When it is time for rescue, follow these tips for post-beach skincare!

Anett Victoria - Author of SeaSpiration

Written by Anett Victoria

When it comes to a beach vacation, Anett is the person who certainly has tips on where to go and what to do no matter it is a luxury tropical holiday, a romantic seaside getaway, or a fun family trip to the ocean. As a world traveler with years of experience in exploring tropical countries and a water sports fan, she creates this inspiring site where she writes travel guides, reviews and recommends beach gear, and gives travel tips to make planning your trip quicker and easier! Are you curious about where She wanders now? Follow her adventures on IG too!

Why is my skin so dry after the beach?

Ocean water is good for the skin in a number of different ways. Salty water can actually clear out, nourish and moisturize the skin because it is full of selenium, magnesium, and other essential minerals that help to restore the natural moisture barrier.

dry skin on the hand while at the beach

However, it often happens that the skin feels dry after a beach vacation. To learn how to handle such conditions, let’s discuss first why your skin can feel scaly and dehydrated.


People may be confusing irritated skin for dehydrated skin. The dry feeling isn’t necessarily loss of water in the cells but can be the result of swimming in contaminated water.

Debris and bacteria can leave the skin irritated, blotchy, and inflamed. In addition, it’s possible that abrasive sand has left little scratches on your body that feel like dry patches.

Sun and heat damage

The biggest cause of dryness after a beach day is sunburn. Sun damage can occur after just a few minutes in the sun without proper UVA/UVB SPF protection, even when there’s cloud coverage in the sky and can create long-term wrinkles, creasing, discoloration, and risks for skin cancer.

close photo of a woman's sunburnt face

When skin is exposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays without proper sun protection, the outermost layer of it begins to thicken and dehydrate and you notice a rough, flaky appearance.

In addition, the heat from the sun depletes the natural oils and essential fatty acids. While salty water won’t necessarily draw moisture from your skin, swimming in the ocean after your skin has already been exposed to the sun can increase the symptoms of dehydration because salt can aggravate and irritate tender, burnt skin. You may actually feel the “sting” of the salt on your burnt skin before you notice the redness setting in.


The last reason why your skin feels dry after a beach day has nothing to do with sand, salty water, or sun. It may be dry simply because you’re dehydrated after a day in the hot sun.

girl drinking water at the beach

Walking on the beach, baking in the sun, and swimming in the ocean require more exertion than most of us are used to when going about our daily lives. Sweating is one of the most common causes of dehydration.

If you’re experiencing sensations of thirst on a beach holiday, your skin is also thirsty. It’s recommended that you drink 8 ounces of water every 20 minutes when being active in the heat.

Beach day skincare tips

There are many great ways to care for your skin while at the beach so you can prevent it from getting damaged. First, make sure that your beach vacation preparation list includes setting up a bag full of useful skincare products including the following:

  • A high-quality UVA/UVB full-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. Sunscreen should be applied every two hours.
  • A good lip balm. We often forget to keep our lips moisturized at the beach.
  • Aloe vera that can be applied in case you get sunburnt.
  • A hat that protects against sun exposure.
  • A bottle of lemon water. While drinking regular water is fine, lemon water is a great way to hydrate your skin from within and is full of antioxidants and vitamin C.
bottle of water and sunscreen

How to care for your skin after a beach vacation?

There are also plenty of things you can do to restore the beauty of your skin after a beach vacation once you arrive home.

  • take a post-beach shower! Use a mild body wash or shower gel to wash off salt particles, as well as potential dirt or debris.
  • apply moisturizing lotion or cream before your skin fully dries after a shower to help seal in the moisture! Products absorb better when the pores are still slightly opened from the steam of a shower. Body butters are especially good for restoring moisture!
  • pay extra attention to the delicate skin of the face! If you’re noticing redness, peeling, and irritation on it, consider a nourishing, hydrating face mask. Masks containing shea butter, peptides, ceramides, vitamin B, vitamin C, aloe vera, and fatty acids are ideal for helping to replenish moisture lost during a drying day at the beach. High-end masks with hyaluronic acid (HA) can provide deep moisturization. Don’t forget to treat the neck and decolletage too!

Not only your skin, but also your hair requires extra attention after being at the beach – make sure to treat it with special deep conditioning products!


It’s important to take care of your skin right during a beach vacation. While the sun and sea air may feel relaxing for our bodies and souls, the truth is that your skin takes quite a beating at the beach and might get dry and irritated. However, if you have some good body care products in your bag, stay hydrated and protect yourself from harmful sun rays, you can ensure that you get home with a dewy, refreshed glow instead of crocodile skin!

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