Planning a winter vacation? These seven incredible destinations will not only provide a relaxing break for you, but will also do so much for your skin.
Located in the south west of Turkey, Pamukkale is famous for its natural, white terraced pools and bubbling hot springs. For centuries, people have flocked here to bathe in these mineral-rich waters, with the Sacred Pool in particular having been used as a healing spa since Roman times.
There are 17 hot springs in total here, ranging in temperature from 35 to 100 degrees, with the water being heated by volcanic lava that lies deep below the ground.
You’re probably wondering…
“What exactly is so great about this water?”
Well, the water here is packed with calcium bicarbonate and magnesium sulfate, meaning that it can:
- Rejuvenate the skin, while treating skin-related infections and diseases
- Regulate high blood pressure
- Boost the circulation
- Help with digestion
- Ease arthritis
Of course, you will not want to spend every single minute in these pools, but, fortunately, there is plenty else to see and do around Pamukkale, such as:
- Visit the ancient Hierapolis Theatre
- Tour the Hierapolis Museum
- Explore the 11th Century Pamukkale Castle
- Visit the Roman settlement of Laodikeia
If this all sounds good, here are a few extra tips that you will want to keep in mind when preparing for your trip:
- Sunglasses are essential in the pools, as the sun reflecting off the white terraces can cause a strong glare in your eyes
- Don’t forget to bring a waterproof bag for your valuables, as there is nowhere safe to store these so you will need to bring them into the pools with you
- There is also nowhere for visitors to change their clothes, so you will need to pack swimwear that you can wear underneath your regular day clothes
THE DEAD SEA, Israel
A salt lake that borders Israel, Jordan and the West Bank, the Dead Sea lies 400 metres below sea level, making it the lowest point on the planet. It is also one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world, with ten times more salt content than the ocean.
So, other than its high salt content, what exactly makes the Dead Sea so special?
Well, one of its highlights is the fact that the Bromine and other metals that can be found in the air of the Dead Sea filter out the harmful UV rays of the sun, meaning that you will only be gaining its beneficial, rather than its detrimental, skin effects.
In addition to the minerals found in the salt within the water, the Dead Sea mud contains calcium, magnesium and potassium, all of which can do so much for the skin, as well as the rest of the body.
There is also 5% more oxygen in the air here than at sea level, which can help with the following:
- Normalizing the cell division process
- Dealing with sun exposure
- Stress levels
In fact, the way in which psoriasis can be so hugely improved by a visit to the Dead Sea has triggered the launch of a number of spas in the area that specifically deal with this skin condition.
Wanting to plan a trip but not sure how long to stay for?
Well, a stay of around 14 to 28 days is ideal, as this really gives your skin the chance to soak up all the wonders of the Dead Sea. However, even if you cannot stay for that long, just a few soaks in the water will be enough for you to notice the difference in your skin. The minerals in the water are tiny enough to be able to quickly and easily penetrate your skin, leading to immediate results.
The temperature of the water in the Dead Sea stays consistent throughout the year, making it perfect for a warm winter vacation.
One of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea, Santorini is known all over the world for its white-washed towns and magical sunsets. Within the Santorini archipelago are two uninhabited volcanic islands; Nea Kameni and Palaia Kameni, and it is these locations in particular that are known for their skin-boosting properties.
The water that surrounds these islands is heated by the volcanoes, making it warm and pleasant, at around 30 degrees Celsius, throughout the year. In addition to this, the water contains a number of minerals that have some fantastic benefits for the skin, including:
- Sulfur – a gentle exfoliant, and one of the oldest acne-fighting ingredients out there
- Iron – treats dark circles and speeds up the skin healing process
- Manganese – packed with antioxidants and a great anti-inflammatory
Another huge health benefit to spending some time in Greece is the Mediterranean diet that you will be eating, as this is known for being the healthiest diet in the world.
Santorini itself is a thriving tourism destination, welcoming over 1.5 million tourists each year. With everything from ancient ruins to some of the finest natural beauty in the world, this is a destination that you will want to return to time and time again.
A desert city in Arizona, Scottsdale is one of the best spa destinations on the planet, with over 50 located in the central part of the city alone. You will find some of the most luxurious spas in the world here, including many that offer treatments that cannot be found anywhere else.
What makes these treatments so unique?
They make use of ingredients that are local to Arizona, of which there are so many that can work wonders on the skin.
Here are just a few that you can choose from:
- Turquoise Wrap at the Boulders Resort & Spa – this makes use of a rich layer of turquoise clay to draw impurities out of the skin
- Sanctuary Luxury Facial at the Spa at Sanctuary – this facial massage uses restorative crystals and precious stones that have been heated by the Arizona sun
- Desert Serenity Scrub at the Phoenician – several desert ingredients are used here, including mineral-rich clay, aloe vera, and native essential oils
- Desert Nectar Honey Wrap at The Spa at Camelback Inn – Arizona honey is the key ingredient here
- Desert Lavender Massage at the Talking Stick Resort – featuring wild chaparral oil and desert lavender, finishing off with a Pima cotton brush
When you aren’t spending your time spa-hopping, Scottsdale has plenty else to offer, including:
- The natural beauty at the McDowell Sonoran Preserve
- Hiking Tom’s Thumb Trail
- Exploring Old Town Scottsdale
- Touring some of the city’s many museums
- Visiting the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center
- Trying your luck at some of Scottsdale’s many casinos
COUNTY SLIGO, Ireland
Located in northwestern Ireland, County Sligo is famous for being the home town of poet W.B. Yeats, whose grave is a spot that many tourists visit. In addition to its literary importance, County Sligo has long since attracted visitors due to its local seaweed, which is packed with a wide range of vitamins.
The area used to be home to over 300 bathhouses, each of which specialized in skin care treatments that made use of this incredible seaweed.
Today, only two of these classic bathhouses remain in the area…
But, they are still the perfect spot to visit to give your skin a bit of a treat.
There are numerous studies out there that point to the fantastic benefits that seaweed can have for the skin, such as:
- Boosting hydration with its essential fatty acids
- A natural anti-inflammatory that can soothe acne
- Drawing out toxins from the skin
- Fighting against cellulite
One of the must-try skin treatments here is thalassotherapy.
This consists of a warm bath that is saturated with seaweed. After soaking in this bath for a while, you will notice a huge improvement in your circulation, as well as a much softer overall complexion, as the seaweed will have drained your lymphatic system of any toxins.
Japan is famous for its onsens, which are local hot springs that usually have resorts and inns located around them. While these can be found all over the country, there are certain areas that feature hot springs with water of an exceptional quality.
Kusatsu is one of these regions, with the Kusatsu Onsen being one of the most popular in the country, as it contains the largest amount of hot spring water in Japan.
While many tourists simply enter into the hot springs and enjoy a warming soak, there are actually a few distinct traditional bathing styles at the Kusatsu Onsen that are practised by locals:
- Yumoni – this is a process that involves using long wooden boards to beat the water, which cools it down to a temperature that the body can tolerate. While this is being performed, traditional songs are sung, which helps to relax the body and regulate breathing before you enter the water.
- Kaburiyu – this involves the bather covering their head with a towel and then repeatedly pouring water down the back of their head. The reason for this is to prevent anaemia or dizziness when entering the water, while also increasing circulation and opening up the pores.
- Jikan-yu – also referred to as timed bathing, jikan-yu consists of bathing in 48 degree water for 3 minutes at a time, as this has been found to be the optimum amount of time that the body needs to experience healing effects. While bathing, there is a dialogue going on between the bathers and the bath leader, which encourages the bathers to breathe more deeply and enhance the effects of the bath.
No matter which style of bathing you choose, the benefits that your skin will experience from the Kusatsu Onsen are vast:
- Anti-bacterial properties will heal chronic skin diseases and scars
- The mixture of volcanic gas and groundwater will soothe any inflammation
- The alkaline water exfoliates the skin and clears dark spots
- Sulfur in the water detoxifies the skin
- Alleviates muscle tension and promotes relaxation
While soaking in the hot springs does provide a warm respite from the chill of Japan’s winter, you cannot visit Kusatsu without making the most of the winter activities that are offered here. Skiing in particular should not be missed, with the Kokusai Ski Resort situated just a few kilometres from the Kusatsu Onsen.
ROTORUA, New Zealand
Located on the North Island of New Zealand, Rotorua is not only famous for its traditional Maori culture, but also for being the most dynamic thermal area in the country. With everything from steaming geysers to gurgling mud pools to bubbling hot springs, this is one of nature’s finest spas.
While the water itself is great for your skin, it is Rotorua mud that has really become popular. This mud is rich in a number of minerals, including zinc, potassium, calcium and iron.
Wondering how this helps your skin?
Well, it has a number of benefits:
- Repairing damaged skin cells and tissue
- Speeding up overall skin healing process
For those of you who have an interest in natural skin treatments, you are likely already aware of the benefits that Manuka honey can have.
You will be happy to hear that Rotorua is filled with Manuka and Kanuka trees, both of which produce honey that has long since been used for medicinal purposes. This is a great opportunity to sample the honey in its purest form, while taking advantage of the many spas in the area that use the honey in skin treatments.
When it comes to heritage and culture, 35% of the population in Rotorua is Maori, making this a great spot to learn more about local traditions. Some of the must-see cultural attractions here include:
- The Living Maori Village
- The Rotorua Museum
- The Tamaki Maori Village
Choosing a Destination
With so many fantastic skin-boosting destinations out there, deciding which one to visit can be quite tricky…
To begin with, identify the main skin issues that you want to tackle, whether this may be dehydration, psoriasis or acne. Then, pick a destination that will not only cater to this, but also contains other attractions that you will enjoy. Whether this may be the history and Maori heritage of New Zealand, or the pulsating action of Scottsdale, these destinations will not only help to heal your skin, but will also do so much for your mind, body and soul.