Whether you are a professional swimmer or a typical aquaphile, you can absolutely agree that pools are something you can’t live without. It’s the sensation that you feel underwater—the weightless embrace of moisture—that brings you comfort and peace of mind.
Swimming, without a doubt, is a great way to cool down, relax and keep your body fit. But if you are sensitive to pool irritants like chlorine, it could be frustrating for you to spend time in and around the pool. Swimmers and athletes are most likely to experience chlorine sensitivity and allergies. Even if you’re not prone to allergies, chlorine in swimming pools can still become a source of irritation. So, how are you going to live with discomfort in order to pursue your passion?
Before we recommend the best solutions to your skin problem, let us first get to to know chlorine rash in greater detail.
What is a chlorine rash and how can it affect your skin?
Chlorine rash is a skin disorder that you can acquire from frequent exposure to chlorinated waters. Pool facilities are using chlorine elements as a cleaning solution to disinfect the water and make it a safe place to swim. However, this element can also have negative effects on your skin, eyes and respiratory system.
When chlorine reacts chemically with sweat, urine and oils that swimmers bring along with them in the pool, the reaction creates chemical compounds called chloramines. These compounds are responsible for causing the skin to get dry and scaly by removing the natural oils on the skin. This leads to skin irritation, leaving marks of rashes on sensitive skin parts. You can also encounter other symptoms of chlorine rash including small bumps or hives, itchiness and swelling.
Aside from the skin, your eyes and lungs may also experience sensitivity from chlorine exposure as other chloramines are released into the air. This results in frequent coughs and sneezes whenever you stay around the pool area.
Good news, you don’t have to completely avoid the swimming pool to protect yourself from chlorine sensitivities. Here are medically-reviewed ways to help prevent and treat chlorine rashes.
Expert Prevention Tips
- Take a shower before and after exposure to any chlorinated water. Avoid urinating in the pool and/or applying a highly-perfumed lotion on your skin before taking a plunge as it will only irritate your skin after a swim. Make sure that other swimmers you swim with will do the same for everyone’s safety.
- Instead of lotion, you can apply petroleum jelly on sensitive areas to create a protective barrier between your skin and the chloramines in the water.
- Wear your personalised swim caps to protect your hair and scalp from dryness and irritation. Also, wear protective goggles to avoid eye irritation. Simply rinsing your eyes with cool, freshwater can also help prevent discomfort.
- For non-athletes, go for well-ventilated pools. You can talk to a pool staff about their chlorine concentration to make sure it is managed carefully.
First-Aid Treatment and Proper Medication
- For mild chlorine rashes, you can have them treated with over-the-counter (OTC) products and topical medicines like hydrocortisone.
- For small bumps or hives, apply a diphenhydramine cream on affected areas. You can also take a medication that contains diphenhydramine, such as Benadryl. Doctors also approve the use of body washes and lotions that are clinically designed to remove the residual chloramines on the skin—SwimSpray Chlorine Removal Spray, TRISWIM Chlorine Removal Body Wash and Chlorine Neutralizing Body Lotion to name a few.
- If your chlorine sensitivities do not respond to any of these OTC products and cause more severe symptoms such as difficulty in breathing, visit a medical specialist immediately.