Why the Icelandic Blue Lagoon is great for the skin

Contrary to popular belief, the Blue Lagoon is not one of Iceland’s many natural wonders. Known for its benefits for the mind, the famous monument is actually man-made. Since 1974, water from a nearby geothermal power station has supplied milky and cerulean water. The prospect of swimming in runoff from a power plant may seem terrifying, but geothermal energy is about 25% of the energy used in Iceland (you don’t wade through nuclear waste). The unique blend of lava rock, minerals, and seaweed creates a skin-soothing combination that gives the water a certain luminescence.

Locals and tourists alike have bathed in the lagoon for decades, noticing respite from ailments like psoriasis and enjoying perks like firmer, more hydrated skin. After extensive studies confirmed this phenomenon, the Blue Lagoon became a public attraction in 1987 and admission was regulated. The lagoon has since been moved and enlarged to accommodate nearly 3,000 visitors per day in summer and 2,000 per day in winter. (You need a reservation to visit; don’t show up without one!)

As well as being an Instagram supersite, the Blue Lagoon is also one of the world’s best ‘skin care wonders’, in large part thanks to scientists at its research and development center who design the perfect balance of ingredients in the waters, as well as in each of the healing products that the brand puts on the market.

Blue Lagoon Ltd. launched its skin care line in 1995, opened the Silica Hotel Wellness Retreat in 2005, and the exclusive, breathtaking, 62-suite Retreat at the Blue Lagoon in 2018. (You can spend the night or get a day pass.)

Here are some of the Blue Lagoon’s skincare secrets, courtesy of Ása Brynjolfsdottir, Head of R&D at the Blue Lagoon.

Lagoon seaweed has anti-aging properties

Clinical studies have proven that the algae of the Blue Lagoon stimulate the renewal of collagen in the skin. In addition, it helps defend against the harmful effects of the sun by preventing the degradation of said collagen. If you have the chance to visit the Blue Lagoon Research and Development Center (which is not open to the public), you’ll see that they grow their own algae in evenly lit, smooth-flowing water tubes.

“[Our] the algae are cultivated using geothermal seawater, a natural resource that comes from 2,000 meters in volcanic soil, ”says Brynjolfsdottir. “And it does not contain any external additives.”

This makes it an ideal ingredient to apply anywhere on the body, but especially on the face. The brand’s Algae Mask is nourishing and hydrating. You can use it after a deep cleansing mud mask, if you want to invigorate cleansed, dried skin with these pro-collagen anti-aging benefits. However, it’s also a good stand-alone mask if you have overly dry or sensitive skin, as it will hydrate and smooth while preventing fine lines and wrinkles.

Its silica preserves humidity

Silica is a mineral compound found in the Blue Lagoon, and is perhaps its most fashionable element. Silica enhances the skin’s barrier function, which means it helps retain moisture and keep toxins out. This, in turn, ensures a youthful and firm complexion, and also slows down the signs of aging.

When you visit the lagoon, you’ll likely be doing a half-soak mud mask – you’ve likely seen photos of guests drenched in the blue haze with white clay smeared all over their faces. You can buy a home-made variant, which is also rich in silica.

“It deeply cleanses the skin and reduces the visibility of the pores,” says Brynjolfsdottir, noting that the silica is hand-harvested from Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater. (There’s also a great silica body scrub.)

Lava rock can be used to exfoliate

The Blue Lagoon sits on a lava field, like most of Iceland. If you look out to the horizon you see moss growing from lava rock and even feel the rock under your feet as you wade through the lagoon. (It’s not sharp.)

Product engineers at the lagoon’s R&D center have extracted lava rock near their facilities. They ground it into a fine powder and made it the central ingredient in their Lava Scrub. It is a gentle exfoliant because it has been crushed so small. Besides lifting the dead cells from the skin surface, it stimulates blood circulation and nutrient supply, bringing healthier cells to the skin surface, so that you have less rashes and Brown stains.

All of The Blue Lagoon’s ingredients and products are sustainably made

Because Iceland is located on a volcanic field, it runs entirely on geothermal energy. This gives the country a huge advantage in sustainable production. The Blue Lagoon leads the way not only in skin care innovation.

“Sustainability is reflected in all dimensions of the continued evolution of our business,” says Brynjolfsdottir.

They depend on renewable electrical energy to power Blue Lagoon’s facilities, including the LAVA restaurant, the Silica hotel, the R&D center and the Retreat at Blue Lagoon. They even recycle the CO2 that leaves their production center. This means that eco-friendly methods have been used to create any of those products that you apply to your body, right down to the algae, silica, and minerals in it.

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