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A New Spa and Wellness Center Offering Ocean-Inspired Skincare and Wellness

By Tessa Permar

That wonderful feeling you realize after a day at the beach: exfoliated by salt and sand, awakened by brisk waves, and warmed by the sun. The new DermaSea Spa and Wellness Center draws inspiration from the healing powers of the ocean to offer that same beach day feeling. “We’re going to focus on skincare but also overall mind, body, and skin wellness,” says owner Paula Karol. She has created a spa experience that incorporates all the best parts of a trip to the sea.

A nurse practitioner specializing in dermatology, Karol has been helping clients on Martha’s Vineyard care for their skin since 2008. “My first ideas for this place were inspired by these seaweed baths that I saw in Ireland,” Karol recalls. Seaweed contains a remarkable variety of vitamins and minerals. “When seaweed is applied to your skin,” Karol explains, “the vitamins, minerals, and polysaccharides are easily absorbed. Detoxification takes place at the cellular level.” In addition to reducing inflammation, seaweed also helps balance oil production and protect, heal, and moisturize the skin.

While training in cosmetic dermatology, Karol learned about the benefits of cold water immersion, popularized by Wim Hof. Wim, also known as “The Iceman,” is a Dutch motivational speaker and extreme athlete noted for his ability to withstand low temperatures. After experiencing a profound reset and sense of wellbeing after her own polar plunge, Karol knew she wanted to bring the experience to DermaSea. Like many of her services, the cold plunge at DermaSea is both gentle and powerful. In a serene room, accented with soft towels and sea kelp, Karol kindly guides first-timers as they step into a basin of water cooled to 52 degrees. To the right of the cold plunge, like a glowing beacon, is the infrared sauna where guests can warm up, improve circulation, and release their muscles and worries.

After braving the cold and softening in the heat, guests can hydrate their skin with DermaSea’s signature seaweed facial. Karol begins with a gentle cleansing and exfoliation. She sweeps on a nourishing seaweed mask, over which she lays a patchwork of fresh kelp imported from County Clare, Ireland. The familiar marine scent of kelp blends with soothing aromatherapy from Irish skincare company Inis Perfume and Body Lotion. Following the mask, Karol applies Island Bee Company’s Hive Five moisturizer, a lip moisturizer of your choosing, and a warm coconut oil. After layers of lush products and hot, aromatic towels, Karol finishes the facial with a zinc-based sunscreen that’s as light and smooth as silk. The experience is more than just a spa treatment. It’s a small journey during which the body experiences contrasting temperatures, luxurious textures, and skillful care and comes out changed for the better.

Karol currently offers facials, seaweed wraps, foot baths, skin care assessments, neurotoxin injections, microneedling, dermaplaning, chemical peels, and some medical dermatology procedures. Starting this Summer, DermaSea will add massage therapy and wellness consultations. Karol will collaborate with Katie Campbell, an integrated wellness coach, to offer small-group retreats that combine spa treatments with Vineyard experiences. She’s also dreamed up “DermaSea after Dark: a customizable spa party” as well as community pop-up shops with local vendors.  

Like a trip to the beach, a visit to DermaSea engages all the senses. Deep tones of meditation music welcome guests as they enter. Karol gives each guest a sachet of Himalayan sea salt scented with exhilarating tangerine. They may experience a rush of cold, the ease of heat, and the expert touch of DermaSea’s experienced staff. After their sessions, guests are invited to recline in the lobby with a grounding cup of tea.

Days later, when life is buzzing once again, guests can raise the salt sachet to their nose and transport back to the profound relaxation and care they experienced at DermaSea.

To book an appointment Call: 508-627-2023, Email:,