I find most of Japanese women have a beautiful skin; they know how to maintain it and most of them, including me, have I been told many times…not to brag..;-).., look younger than they are! There is definitely a real rejuvenation among the Japanese women, that is more and more obvious these days. It is one of the reasons why I decided to write this blog: to share these women’s secrets.
Along with all the cosmetic products and techniques that they use, there are also natural elements, specific to Japan that help the Japanese women with maintaining their beautiful skin and youth. One of them deserves a particular attention.
Onsen, hot spring: secrets of Japanese women’s beauty and youth #1:
What is an onsen?
Onsen is the Japanese word for hot spring. In Japan, all over the country, we find many hot springs from different kinds. A hot spring naturally includes many minerals. There are 9 types of onsen according to the chemical composition:
- simple spring
- simple carbon dioxide spring
- carbonated spring
- chloride spring
- sulphate spring
- ferruginous spring
- sulphur spring
- acidic spring
- radioactive spring
The temperature of a onsen varies a lot: we can find “cold” hot spring from 25C to 100C. Some onsen regions dilute or heat the water to bring them to a suitable temperature.
The pH can be very different as well depending on the area:
- alkaline: acts like a soap, is known for its cleansing and exfoliating effect. It helps removing the old skin.
- neutral: similar to the skin natural pH, therefore mild and gentle to the skin.
- acidic: has a antiseptic and revitalising effect.
So there are as many types of onsens than the possible combinations of the 3 mentioned elements: the chemical composition, the temperature and the pH.
The beneficial effects of onsen
From the ancient times, Japanese people like to bathe in onsen for its numerous healing qualities. Depending on the type of onsen, we can find therapeutical effects such as recovery from fatigue, nerve pain, insomnia, hardening of the arteries, high blood pressure, rheumatism, muscle pain, etc.
Beauty skin effects
Among the various effects, there is the skin beautifying effect.
Why is the onsen good for the skin?
The minerals contained in the onsen have:
1. a warming effect:
When the organs such as intestines are kept warm, the blood circulation is fostered and it prevents constipation, the #1 enemy of a beautiful skin. It is said that to warm the body it is best to stay 20 to 30min in the water of 34 to 37 degrees.
2. a detoxifying effect:
When the body is warmed up, the metabolism is improved and the skin can get rid of excess water and toxine.
3. a coating effect:
The minerals of the onsen build a fine veil on the skin, that helps the body to stay warm and leaves the skin smooth.
The onsen types that are particularly in favor of a beautiful skin:
- sulphur spring: has detoxifying effect. Improves blood circulation, therefore the skin is more conditioned to both eliminate toxines and receive nutrients.
- hydrogen carbonate spring: has a cleansing effect. Exfoliates the skin, leaves it smooth
- sulphate spring: has an anti-aging effect. Stimulates collagen synthesis, prevents anti-oxidation and leaves the skin moisturised.
Some people go to an onsen cure from several days up to a few months, to deal with skin ailments such as atopic skin. Myself when sudden eczemas appeared on my hands without any particular reason, I searched and tried different onsens that healed my skin in a more sustainable and natural way than the steroid based ointments given by the many dermatologists I went to see.
There are 3 onsens that are said to be the top 3 onsens with skin beautifying effect:
Ryujin onsen, Wakayama
- sodium bicarbonate
Yunokawa onsen, Shimane
- sulphate, chloride, sodium, calcium
Kawanaka onsen, Gunma
So not only the onsen provides with you a high relaxation, it also improves your skin and health. I hope you will include a trip to an onsen resort when you will come visit Japan, as a step of a beauty pilgrimage!