Swimming pool season is almost here and who can say that they are not excited, right? Well, at least until after the fun in the sun by the pool when we look in the mirror and see just how harmful chlorine is to our skin! Before we find out how to protect our skin from chlorine water, let us review on where it can be found and what exactly is it used for.
Chlorine is a chemical used to kill off the bacteria in swimming pools. Naturally, it is absolutely necessary, especially when it comes to public swimming pools, as not everyone has proper hygiene habits, and even if they did, the chemicals on the skin of one person may not agree with the chemicals of another person’s skin. Multiply that by approximately five hundred, and you have a cesspool of bacteria instead of a fun summer activity. That is not good at all, and this is why chlorine must be added to pools. Of course, the chemical does its job very well, but unfortunately, it also can do a lot of harm to you skin.
Chlorine is not only found in swimming pools, but also in tap water and other everyday products such as textiles, plastic, medicine, paper, et cetera. Since chlorine is an oxidizing agent (which basically means that it oxidizes other substances), a lot of free radicals are formed in contact with it, and they can lead to all sorts of inflammation, especially when it comes to fragile and sensitive skin.
How Does Chlorine Affect the Skin
First of all, we all know that chemicals are bad for us right? When it comes to chlorine, even though the concentration of it in swimming pools may not disintegrate your entire body, in a long term it can damage your skin to an extent, so protecting yourself is always better than regretting that fun day outside. Better safe than sorry when it comes to chemicals!
Chlorine can lead to all sorts of hair and skin issues and some of them include: discolored and frizzy hair prone to breakage, dry and itchy scalp, cuticle damage, flaky and dry skin, itchiness, rash, or even burns, various allergic reactions, especially when it comes to sensitive skin, acne and pimple breakouts, and last but not least, appearance of fine lines and wrinkles which adds to the overall look of aging skin.
So how can you protect yourself?
Shower Before Swimming
Your skin will be less likely to absorb the chlorine water from the swimming pool if it is already wet. Most showers, even the public ones, do not spray out super chlorinated water like the one in the pool, so having a quick shower before entering the pool can be a good protection. Make sure to soak your skin and hair well right before you get into the pool.
Choose an Outdoor Pool
If you can, swim in an outdoor pool. Since it is outside, the gasses from the water will be able to escape into the atmosphere easier, which means that less harmful substances will cling on to your skin. Generally speaking, these pools are better for your hair and skin, as well as your lungs and sinuses. If you absolutely must swim in an indoor pool, make sure that the whole room is well ventilated.
Put Some Lotion On
Just like you would put conditioner on your hair, putting body lotion on your skin will provide a layer of protection from the harmful chemicals in the water. If you are swimming outside, make sure to use a sun protection cream or lotion, and if your choice if an indoor pool, a simple body lotion or body oil will work.
Shower After Swimming
This one is a no brainer, but always make sure to shower after you are done with swimming. Use a gentle body wash to wash away all those chemicals from your skin. Shower for at least five minutes after swimming to make sure that you have washed everything bad away. It is also quite relaxing for your muscles!
Powerful Apple Cider Vinegar
By now we know that apple cider vinegar is a magical thing that can help with a lot of skin issues, and this one is no different. When you get home, you can have a little apple cider vinegar relaxing bath by adding some of it to your regular bath water. You can also wet a cotton pad with apple cider vinegar and apply it all over your skin to remove the buildup of chemicals. Either way, you cannot go wrong with ACV.
Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize!!!
Always remember to moisturize. Since chlorine is very drying to our skin, applying a good moisturizer after the after-swim shower is an absolute must. Choose a body lotion with ceramides and alpha hydroxy acid to help your skin reach an ideal pH balance. Make sure to pay special attention to your cuticles, elbows, shoulders, and chest, and use a face lotion for your under eye area.
Use Coconut Oil
By using coconut oil, you are not only opting for a natural solution to the skin issues, but you are also protecting your sensitive skin from chlorine. Coconut oil provides an extra layer of protection against chemicals, and it is very beneficial for the overall health of your skin, so why not try to use it next time you go swimming?
Use Topical Vitamin C
Did you know that vitamin C actually neutralizes chlorine? By using an inexpensive and readily available topical vitamin C shower head, you can neutralize the chlorine from tap water, and for swimming purposes, mix one teaspoon of vitamin C powder with two cups of filtered water and spray it all over your body before entering the pool. Make sure to rinse everything off after swimming, and apply some of that coconut oil for maximum protection.
Make Your Own Lotion
One of the best things you can do is to make your own chlorine-fighting lotion. The recipe is quite simple: you will need half a cup of olive oil, quarter of a cup of coconut oil, same amount of beeswax, a teaspoon or two of vitamin C powder, some water, and, optionally, an essential oil of your choice or some cocoa butter.
In one bowl, combine the vitamin C powder and a couple tablespoons of warm water. In a separate bowl, combine all the oils with beeswax. Melt everything over a steaming saucepan and transfer everything to a blender. Slowly add the vitamin C water to this mixture and blend until smooth. Use this before swimming to minimize the effects of chlorine on your skin.