Swimming is, no doubt, one of the best and most fun forms of physical exercise. And one must not forget that it’s a life skill too! It comes as no surprise that swimming is also one of the most popular physical activities, especially during summers. However, the apprehension that comes with stepping into a chlorine-treated pool and exposing your skin to chemicals and irritants is unavoidable. And so, you will be glad to learn that there are measures you can take to protect your skin when you feel like going for a dip.
Following, I’ve put together a list of 8 important skin care tips for swimmers that will put all of your concerns to rest. But first, let’s look at how swimming can impact your skin.
Is swimming good or bad for your skin?
Most swimming pools have chlorine-treated water to keep bacteria and germs at bay. However, the same chlorine that kills bacteria can strip away protective natural oils when it comes in contact with your skin. This can cause a number of problems like:
- Dry skin
- Premature aging caused by dryness and protein damage.
- Itching and rashes caused by the tipped oil and pH balance.
- The excessive production of oils to make up for the lack thereof.
- Acne caused by excessive oil production and pore-clogging.
- Sun damage caused by the weakening of your skin.
However, taking the right precautionary measures can tip the scales in your favor. Swimming can help your skin by detoxifying your body through exercise. The right amount of chlorine exposure can also kill acne-causing bacteria, helping clear your skin. Keep reading to find out how you can maintain skin health while swimming.
How To Prep Your Skin Before A Swim
1. Slather On Some SPF
Using a waterproof sunscreen is not just a fancy practice to avoid tanning. The lotion will also form a protective barrier on top of your skin, keeping the chlorine from drying it out excessively. It will also prevent sun damage (and premature aging if you are a regular swimmer.) Investing in a pre-swimming lotion is also a good idea as these are specially formulated to block chlorine and retain moisture in your skin. Simply apply the products about 15 minutes before you intend to swim. This will give your skin plenty of time to absorb the sunblock, forming a strong barrier.
2. Take A Quick Shower
A quick shower before a dip is, more often than not, mandatory at most public pools. While stepping under water before a dip might sound pointless and like a bit of a drag, this keeps the pool from getting too dirty and it will also help hydrate your skin cells, keeping them from absorbing the pool water, reinforcing your sun-block barrier.
3. Hydrate And Then Hydrate Some More
One of the best ways to ensure that your skin does not get dehydrated is to keep sipping on some water while you swim. Make sure that you consume enough water throughout the day so that your skin is healthy and does not try to make up for lack of moisture by absorbing pool water. Think of your skin as a sponge, there is only so much water it can take on. And as long as it is moisturized, it’s not going to absorb excess amounts of chlorine.
Post-Swim Skin Care Tips
4. Shower With Warm Water
It is crucial that you shower as soon as you get out of the pool. It’s a good idea to start off your shower with warm water. This will help open up your pores to allow for a thorough cleansing. Next, use an anti-chlorine soap (another good investment if you swim regularly) to cleanse your body. Wash your hair thoroughly. Finish by turning the shower to cool water to help tighten your pores. This will prevent moisture loss.
5. Apply Talc To Help You Dry Off
Okay, first things first, a little talc goes a long way. Applying talc to areas such as your armpits will help you dry off quickly in the pool shower. It will also help absorb any residual chlorine that might be present on your skin. Just ensure that you don’t use the talc on the parts of your body that you need to moisturize.
6. Moisturize Your Skin
This is the most important part of your swimmer’s skin care routine; moisturizing your skin. Invest in a good hydrating moisturizer and use it regularly to ensure that your skin stays healthy.
7. Care For Your Swimwear
Keeping your swimwear clean is a vital part of maintaining your skin health. Chlorine can also damage your swimwear by fading its color. You can maintain your swimwear by adding about a tablespoon of vinegar to your wash. This will not only help neutralize the chlorine smell, but it will also help maintain the color of the fabric.
8. Drink Herbal Tea
It is also a good idea to start drinking herbal teas that have a rich antioxidant content. This will help relieve the stress of oxidative damage on your skin. The teas will supply your skin with antioxidants which will, in turn, neutralize free radicals that can wreak havoc on your skin. Moringa tea and green tea are two great options to choose from.
Here are some frequently asked questions about swimming and skin care:
Expert’s Answers for Readers Questions
How Long Does Chlorine Stay On Your Skin?
If you do not have a proper skin care routine in place, chlorine can bind itself to your skin, causing damage. If you swim regularly, this will cause issues such as rashes, acne, and premature aging.
Does Chlorine Water Darken Skin?
While chlorine by itself will not darken your skin, in combination with the Sun it can be the cause for a pretty bad tan. This is why you must always use sunscreen when you go for a swim.
How To Remove Skin Tan After Swimming?
Rubbing a tomato on your skin will help lighten and remove a bad tan.
Can you get a chemical burn/skin itch from chlorine?
The irritant present in a chlorine-treated pool can give you irritant-dermatitis. This is a lot like a chemical burn and may leave you itching with rashes. One way to avoid this would be to have an effective skin care routine in place for when you are swimming
Is it safe to use petroleum jelly to shield skin from dehydration when swimming?
Yes, it is safe to use petroleum jelly to shield your skin from dehydration. However, this will not prevent you from tanning.
Can chlorinated water cause eczema?
Yes, chlorinated water can trigger eczema if your skin is not moisturized and shielded.
There you have it, a complete swimmer’s skin care routine. These tips will not only help maintain the health of your skin, but they might actually help improve the health of your skin. Did you find this helpful? Let us know in the comments section below.
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