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SKINCARE

Iceland's Blue Lagoon: A Skin-Saving World Wonder

Doug Arnaudin

iceland_blue_lagoon

Being a skin therapist (and fanatic skin health enthusiast!), I've spent years dreaming of soaking in the healing waters of perhaps the world's most famous spa, Iceland's acclaimed Blue Lagoon. Last month, that dream was realized as I found myself waist deep in the magical mineral-rich water. What makes this destination so special? I'm glad you asked! Here's the need-to-know about masking + basking in the Blue Lagoon. 

Blue Lagoon is a short half-hour drive from Keflavik International, Iceland's largest (award-winning) airport. (Insider tip: swing by Joe and the Juice on the upper level before exiting the main terminal. Beat jet lag with "The Bodyguard" juice, a verdant blend of cucumber, kale, spinach, broccoli and apple!) The Reykjavik terrain is otherworldly. Bursts of tiny purple wildflowers growing among craggy, moss-covered volcanic rocks, modern apartment complexes, and impressive stacked stone formations that look hauntingly like human silhouettes in the distance. 

On the horizon, a smokestack rising toward the heavens. Plumes of smoke unfurling from metallic chimneys. Is that a power plant? Could it be a factory? Nope! It's the Blue Lagoon. In fact, it was once used as an experimental facility studying geothermal energy, and the industrial equipment still remains onsite. Interestingly enough, the lagoon also shares real estate with Svartsengi geothermal plant, which heats and filters the water being circulated through the spring. 

Fast forward past the not-unexpected line (this is a bucket-list destination, after all!), the issued bracelet which tracks your spending, and the mandatory rinse-off shower before entering (a welcomed request after hours on a stuffy plane), and you've made it. You stand before the pale milky blue waters of the Blue Lagoon. 

The swimming area of the lagoon is a pleasant soaking temperature, 98-102 degrees Fahrenheit, and it's loaded with a trio of earthly ingredients -- silica, algae, and a powerhouse cocktail of minerals. All of which play a role in its skin benefits including clearing acne, eczema, atopic dermatitis, and psoriasis. Experimental Dermatology published a report, which concluded silica mud and microalgae to "improve skin barrier function and prevent premature skin aging." It's true! After the day spent hopping from lagoon to sauna and back to lagoon again, my skin was absolutely glowing. My advice is to skip the Blue Lagoon in-house line of skincare and come prepared with your own eco-luxe moisturizer to apply after your visit (I used Om Aroma & Co. Pumpkin Serum, $58 omaroma.com.) This photo was taken later that afternoon... hashtag no filter! 

Want to enjoy these Icelandic skin benefits, no matter where you are in the world? Here's a DIY mask recipe that I dreamed up to recreate the geothermal adventure anytime, anywhere!

Ingredients:

1 tsp. Rhassoul clay | contains hightest percentage of silica & magnesium compared to other clay

1/4 tsp. Spirulina powder | super antioxidant blue green algae harvested from warm inland lakes

 1/4 tsp. Sea salt (not processed table salt) | rich in minerals which balance skin

Mix together with warm water until a paste consistency is formed. Apply to skin, neck, and décolleté for 10-15 minutes. Remove with a warm towel or rinse with water and pat skin dry. 

Have you every visited the Blue Lagoon or similar thermal spring? I'd love to hear your questions, comments & feedback about this #globalbeauty ritual. Share your comments below or email me directly at jessica.arnaudin@gmail.com!