6 Skincare Tips for Pool Lovers
Swimming is fantastic exercise for the mind and body, no question.
Whether at the beach, a resort or at home, we associate swimming with relaxing, heathy bodies and fun.
However, many people I know who are into skincare often refrain from indulging in a quick dip in the pool because of concerns about the effect of chlorine or salt treated water on their skin.
If they grew up in swim crazy Australia, they will with their logical minds say it should be fine, but there is a nagging hesitation and concern about what ‘the chemicals may be doing’.
So, I thought it a good idea to share some common-sense tips on skincare for swimmers.
Let’s ‘dive in’ (sorry couldn’t help it).
What pool water can do to your skin
Chlorine or pool salt is needed to keep bacteria and germs manageable, but when you swim they can also work to strip away natural oils which protect your skin. Depending on your sensitivity, this may cause:
- Dry skin
- Itching and rashes
- The excessive production of oils to make up stripping
- Sun damage facilitated by the weakening of your skin.
- Acne caused by excess oil production and pore blockage
Before you Swim
- Be conscious of the health of your skin barrier and if in doubt, ‘keep your head above water’. Seriously, a lot of skin irritations can come from contact between broken skin and pool chemicals. Especially if you have sensitive skin. And before you say ah-duh, swimming can be a spontaneous act so keep your skin health in mind.
- When you go outside be obsessive about sunscreen
It is a no brainer to slather on and reapply waterproof sunscreen when you swim or go to the beach.
We do it to our kids and should do it to ourselves. Sunscreen forms a protective barrier and should help stop chlorine from drying the skin out excessively. Obviously, it will also prevent sun damage which is the number one cause of wrinkles and premature ageing. Think about applying lotion 15 minutes before jumping in to give your skin plenty of time to absorb the lotion and form a barrier
- Keep hydrated inside and out by drinking lots of water throughout the day, especially if it is really hot. I have read that showering before swimming also helps hydrate the skin, but I am not sure how much this would help in reality.
After you swim
- While tempting, don’t air dry. Leaving chlorine on your skin will dry it out like a crisp so grab a towel and head for the shower.
- Take a shower with warm water as soon as you get out of the pool. Warm water will help open the pores of your skin to allow better cleansing.
If possible, I use my normal body wash but wait to cleanse my face until I get home. If you colour your hair, wash it thoroughly as chlorine will have a field day stripping the colour and, in some cases, turn a beautiful blonde into a not so lovely green. I also suggest adjusting the temperature of the shower down to cool as I am convinced it helps close my pores at least a little and less of a chance of drying out the skin.
- Another no-brainer step is to moisturise your skin. If you are going to lounge around the pool or beach reach for the sunscreen, otherwise apply your usual moisturiser or favourite body oil. Your skin will probably be screaming for a bit of hydration.