Written by Lisa Allen | Edited by Dr Mark Kapnoudhis
Swimming pool water contains many chemicals like Trichlor, Dichlor, Bromine, Cyanuric Acid and Calcium Hypochlorite etc. They are added to keep the water free from algae, bacteria, impurities, residues, dust and other toxic elements.
Water ph balancing, alkalinity balancing, hardness balancing sanitization and mineral balancing are the other benefits of adding these chemicals. However some of these chemicals could also have negative side effects on your skin depending upon their concentration levels, type, sensitivity and allergic characteristics of your skin.
In this article you can read about the various types of skin sensitivity to swimming pool water, their symptoms, probable causes and treatment methods. The methods explained are generic in nature and they may or may not be applicable to specific cases.
Before adopting any of the solutions listed here it is recommended that you consult your dermatologist.
Types of Skin Sensitivity
- Skin irritation, itchy feeling, red spots, bumps and rashes are the most common symptoms of allergic reactions. Dry skin patches can appear when you expose your skin consistently to swimming pool water.
- The word “bacteria” probably makes you think of only negative types which cause infections and diseases to your skin. This microbial community has many members which could be beneficial to your skin also. For example top layer of epidermis contains Micrococcus, Malssezzia and Staphylococcus etc. These symbionts (beneficial micro organisms) are specific to living in human skin for fighting the harmful pathogens that attack the skin. The chlorine in the swimming pool water has the potential to eliminate these beneficial bacteria also, leading to exposure of your skin to potential pathogen attacks.
- Chlorine can cause severe dryness in your skin accompanied with scaling of skin layers. This effect can be slow in some types of skin, while it can be relatively faster in the case of dry and sensitive skin.
- Chlorine can interact with the natural oils in your skin and make them go dry. Excess of chlorine also attacks the sebaceous glands and imbalance their activities. If you have a dry type of skin the natural production of skin oil may decrease further, leading to scaling of skin layers. On the other hand if you have oily skin, the sebaceous glands generate excess of sebum leading to acne.
- Chlorine could change the color of hair by entering their protein layers. If you have acne and spend too much of time in pool waters, it can result in skin inflammations and bumps.
Your skin can become highly sensitive to Bromine, another ingredient of swimming pool water. Bromine can extract the essential vitamins and nutrients from the top layers of your skin and reduce its immunity. Many types of skin allergies are said to be result of bromine sensitivity like the white spots, clogged nose, rashes, red spots and pimples.
Skin Protection Tips While Swimming
The other chemicals can also have similar allergic reactions from your skin layers. If you are using public swimming pools, the probability and percentage of these chemicals are high. In such cases you need to protect your skin while swimming.
- Applying waterproof sunscreen is said to be one of the methods through which you can protect your skin from chemicals in swimming pool water. Glycerin or petroleum jelly massage can also be helpful.
- You can prepare a skin care liquid with the help of honey, glycerin and Aloe Vera Gel. Take ½ cup of each and mix them well in a bowl. Apply to all the parts of your skin which get exposed to the waters during swimming. Let it soak your skin for about 15 minutes before entering the waters. Some swimming pools have a rule that you need to shower before entering the pool. So you need to apply the liquid after you have taken the shower.
- If you are swimming in seawaters you need extra protection for your skin as the sea salt can make your skin go dry faster than chlorine or bromine. So you will need to cover your skin with a combination of castor oil, essential oils, coconut oil and Aloe Vera oil will be able to protect your skin and hair from sun, salt and chlorine. You need to take ½ cup of all these ingredients and mix them well in a bowl. Apply on your skin parts which get exposed to sea waters. Also ply onto your hair. Now your body is completely protected.
Skin Protection From Chlorine
Your skin can be protected from effects of chlorine before and after swimming. You have seen the protective recipe before entering the pool or sea waters. You also need to follow a simple procedure to remove the deposition of chlorine on your skin after swimming.
Shower in chlorine free water and dry your skin with a towel. Take ½ cup of essential oil, Vitamin C oil, 1 teaspoon of Tuberose oil and 1/4th cup of lemon syrup in a bowl.
Mix them well and heat to moderate temperature. Let the liquid cool to lukewarm temperature. Apply all over your skin and let it soak for about 15 minutes.
Your skin will absorb all the ingredients within this time. So you will not need to wash it.
Skin Protection From Swimming Pool Water
- One of the recommended practices for long time practicing swimmers is to shower in non chlorinated water frequently between consecutive training sessions. It is one way of reducing the method of chlorine absorbed by yours skin.
- Scrub your skin gently after massaging with vitamin E, Lemon syrup and Aloe Vera liquid combination. Take 1/4th cup of each ingredient and mix them well in a bowl. Apply onto skin areas exposed to pool or seawater. Let it soak your skin for about 10 minutes. Gently scrub your skin with a flat scrubber for about 4 to 5 minutes. Now you can shower in chlorine water. When you do it after swimming your skin could remain relatively immune to the chemical effects of chlorine, bromine and other swimming water pool chemicals.