Pool Days: How to Protect Your Skin From Chlorine Damage
One of the many joys of summer is being able to take advantage of the warm, sunny weather and go swimming. Swimming can actually be far more than just a fun and relaxing activity, as it is also a wonderful, low-impact, total body workout. Unfortunately the chlorine content in pools, which is necessary to kill off harmful bacteria, can cause damage to your skin and hair as it removes natural, healthy oils. Immersing your body in water can cause your skin pores to open up, which unfortunately allows more absorption of chlorine. Once chlorine gets into your cells, it strips away water, natural oils and sebum. This can cause your skin to dry out and crack, which can lead to wrinkles, small skin lesions and premature aging. Fortunately, there are things you can do to protect against this damage.
Countering the Effects of Chlorine
Chlorine damages your skin and hair by drying them out, which means that countering its effects includes retaining and restoring moisture in these areas. Hair that is wet prior to swimming and coated with a simple barrier product such as coconut oil or conditioner will better resist the damaging effects of chlorine. For your skin, there are some pre-swimming lotions that are specially formulated to block chlorine absorption. That said, barrier products don’t always work well on the skin and they can affect the pool’s chemistry. In this case, it is far better to counter chlorine’s effects after swimming.
You should always try to take a shower immediately after swimming, using shampoo or even apple cider vinegar to remove all chlorine from your hair and soap to remove all chlorine from your skin. Once you are satisfied that you have removed all the chlorine from your body, step out and gently pat your skin dry with a towel. Vigorously rubbing your skin with a towel not only removes some valuable moisture, but it is rough on your skin. Finally, moisturize your skin with a product that is high in antioxidants like vitamin E and vitamin C. Not only are these great for your skin, they can help to neutralize any chlorine that may be remaining.
In addition to taking action to try and counter chlorine damage to your hair and skin, you can also work to reduce your exposure to chlorine. Some pools use natural, mineral-based products to reduce chlorine and obviously ocean water uses no chlorine at all.