Can Swimming Pools and Hot Tubs Damage Your Skin?

Swimming represents a classic summertime activity. Whether you’re escaping humidity or laying poolside in dry heat, it’s hard to stop from slipping in for a dip between daily engagements. 

However, what you may not realize is that swimming can actually damage your skin if you aren’t careful. Remember to care for skin before and after swimming. Chlorine and saltwater can both harm your skin if you don’t follow preventative measures to keep your skin nourished. 

In today’s blog, the team at Emerge Medical & Well Spa in Tulsa will discuss the three best ways you can care for your skin when taking a dip this summer. 

Have a Pre- and Post-Swimming Skincare Routine

Carol Brzozowski writes What’s the Best Skin Care for Swimmers? for the U.S. Masters Swimming. Her research comes from Dr. Joel Schlessinger, who is not only a board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon but also the chief editor of Cosmetic Surgery, Practical Dermatology magazine

Brzozowski discusses the harmful effects of the chemical transformation of chlorine to chloramines. This occurs after chlorine encounters organic matter such as skin cells. Chloramine can be highly damaging to the skin and can potentially strip your skin of all-natural oils and moisturizers needed to keep your skin healthy. 

Having an established skincare routine that focuses on moisturization and cleansing will allow you to create a protective barrier for your skin that keeps harmful pool chemicals away from your skin.

Wear Sunscreen

We cannot overstate the importance of sunscreen because of the long-term benefits that come from regular use. There are two different types of sunscreen to use when preparing for a swim.

  • Chemical Sunscreen. This sunscreen is specifically for UVA and UVB ray absorption. Though highly effective against the sun, it is not the best for the environment. In fact, many places ban chemical sunscreen out of concern for harming the environment, specifically coral reefs. Be sure to do your research on your destination to see if chemical sunscreen is allowed when swimming. 
  • Mineral Sunscreen. This sunscreen uses non-nano zinc oxide and titanium dioxide mineral active ingredients. This allows the sunscreen to adhere to the skin for maximum protection that’s also environmentally friendly. 

The range of SPF begins with SPF 15, which protects against 93% UVB rays and gradually increases. SPF 50 to 70 block 98% of UVB rays and up. UVB rays cause the reddening of the skin and could lead to skin cancer with prolonged exposure over many years. Protecting against sunburn should be the utmost priority. 

Shower Before and After Swimming

Exposure to bacteria and chemicals while swimming is guaranteed, whether you’re swimming in a pool or the ocean. Therefore, it is important to shower both before and after getting in the water. We carry natural bacteria on our bodies, so showering before is a courtesy to others. This will reduce the overall creation of chloramine as well as the potential growth and spread of E. coli and parasites. Showering afterward cleans away a lot of harmful bacteria your skin may have accumulated while swimming.

Related Post: Emerge Tulsa Explains the 5 Best Ways to Prevent Sunburn

Skincare Tips from Emerge Tulsa

Whether you’re swimming in saltwater or chlorinated water, you must understand the risks associated with not protecting your skin. Here at Emerge Medical & Well Spa, we do our best to make sure you are informed and prepared to take on the elements as you embrace your daily routine or summer vacation. For more information on skin health and wellness, please contact us at one of our three locations.