17 Jun 2021
Should you rinse off using the showers on the beach?
Here are some reasons why you should.
Get the sand off of your feet, clothes, and the rest of your body
Clean off the bacteria from the ocean, which, if left unchecked, can cause infections in those with immune suppressive disorders.
It helps you cool down and heals your skin.
So you’ve made your trip to the beach, and on the way down to the access, you see what appears to be a wooden shower on the walkway to the beach. If this isn’t your first trip to the beach, then you have likely seen people in their swimsuits under the shower getting clean. Usually, there are two shower heads, one for feet and legs, while others are used for everywhere else. There’s, more often than not, some pretty good pressure out of these showers, so it can take sand (wet sand especially) off of your feet before returning to your car or room. But why should you stop here before leaving the beach?
Well, the first reason, as we just talked about, is forgetting the sand off of your feet, ankles, legs, or anywhere else where sand needs to leave before you can enjoy the rest of your day. Failing to rinse off can lead to burns or rashes from skin rubbing against sand and getting irritated. In the extremes of cases, open wounds can become infected, leading to extreme diseases or discomfort.
Secondly, the oceans (including the Gulf of Mexico) are home to all kinds of animals like fish, crustaceans, dolphins, and other water creatures and bugs popular on the Emerald Coast. All these animals bring different bacteria and microbes native to the water but not to our skin. The microbes have been shown to change our skin's biome, an ecosystem of bacteria on the skin's surface that works to guard against pathogens that can affect your skin and overall health for a short time. Still, a quick rinse can eliminate most of the harmful microbes that are present in the water. Without rinsing, studies have shown that after six hours, their skin’s biome began to return to what they were before swimming. Factors that can increase the risk of infection would be immunosuppression or an open wound where the ocean organisms may contact your skin and body and cause infection if left untreated.
Lastly, it’s important to cool down after spending time in the sun. This helps regulate your body's temperature and get salt from the water and air out of your hair and off your body. Not rinsing off at this point can damage your skin from the water’s salt content, but it can also drastically help other skin conditions; only you know your skin, so keep this in mind.
There are plenty of reasons to take a quick shower after leaving the beach, from cooling down your body to cleaning the bacteria off your skin from the water. An ounce of preventative measures is worth more than a pound of cure, so here is our ounce. Other than that, humans have been swimming in water for thousands of years, so don’t overthink it!