Swimming Pools – Great for the Body, Bad for the Skin
In my quest for better health I have been asking around, and doing a lot of reading, on what the best exercises for the body are. The answers generally are walking and swimming. Swimming is extremely popular since it works your whole body while being gentle on joints and apparently works fantastically for back pain.
There is one problem about swimming – the chlorine. Chlorine is a toxic chemical which is added to the water in small, approved safe doses to keep public pools sanitary. As unsavory as chlorine sounds to the human body it is relieving to know that you will not be sharing the germs of the strangers swimming around you. But your skin, nails, and hair notice chlorine’s effects fairly quickly, and the results are easily visible.
Water itself dries out the skin a bit, and the added chlorine will dry it out even more, so if you already have dry skin – you will notice it is a heck of a lot drier after swimming. Even if your skin is not dry you may notice you are a little tight after swimming. You may also notice that even after you shower (as advised) with soap the chlorine smell is not completely gone – it really clings on. Since it is so harsh it is getting right into your skin and can possibly get toxic after a while (accumulation). Plus the smell is kind of nasty. People with acne may notice that after swimming their acne appears worse for a while and if they swim often they may notice their acne getting consistently worse. Also, if you are using topical acne medication and you apply it after being in the pool it may sting or burn – this is because it is reacting with the chlorine that is still sitting on your skin.
Now that I’ve mentioned all the bad things chlorine can do for your skin – let me tell you what it can do to your hair. As I have already said – chlorine is quite drying so it can wreak havoc on hair. It also can get into the hair shaft just as it does the skin and can actually change the color of your hair. Blondes may notice their hair getting a little green, and red heads may notice their hair getting quite brassy. A chemical reaction is occurring causing these anomalies.
Even though there are these negatives to swimming at pools – there are a lot of benefits, so if you want to start a swimming routine – you should. There are just a few things you should do in order to help keep your skin and hair safe. You should always shower as soon after leaving the pool as you can – using a good, but gentle cleanser. Wear a swim cap (not really attractive but a lot nicer than broken off brittle, green hair!) and try to keep your face out of the water – especially if you have acne. Some pools are testing out different options for keeping the water hygienic so call your local rec centers to see if you can find one that no longer uses chlorine, like an ozonated pool. Be sure to moisturize your skin extra well and extra often.
You can also purchase barrier lotions specialized for swimmers, but make sure to use caution when walking around the pool as it may make your feet slip. And if your child has eczema, be extra vigilant with their skincare. Some parents even use oil on their kids prior to a swim session to prevent the chlorine from penetrating (usually against pool policy but you gotta do what you gotta do). Our Dermcare Lotion is ideal for post swim moisturizing.