Chlorine and Your Skin

How to Protect Your Skin From Swimming Pool Chlorine

For those of us not near an ocean, lake or river, a swimming pool is usually our go-to place for a cooling summer activity. But beware…unlike nature’s natural filtration system in most natural bodies of water, most pools are keep clean of bacteria with chlorine and other chemical cleaners. While we, of course, don’t want a dirty, bacteria-filled pool, chlorine can be harmful in it’s own right – to your hair, your heath and your skin!

What is Chlorine?

Chlorine is a chemical most often used to keep swimming pools and Jacuzzis free of bacteria and algae that can be hazardous to humans. It kills this bacteria through a fairly simple chemical reaction. The chlorine solution you pour into the water breaks down into many different chemicals including hypochlorous acid (HOCI) and hypochlorite ion (OCI). Both kill microorganisms and bacteria by attacking the lipids in the cell walls and destroying the enzymes and structures inside the cell, rendering them oxidized and harmless. Sounds kind of scary, huh?

Chlorine and Your Skin

While the bacteria-killing properties of chlorine can be very useful, chlorine also comes with some not-so-useful side effects for your skin. Chlorine strips skin of its natural oils, which can cause dryness and rashes for those with sensitive skin. Additionally, many people tend to experience an “itch factor” after swimming in chlorine where skin becomes itchy and irritated.

Immediately following your swim in chlorinated water, take a shower and wash the chemicals off your skin with a gentle cleanser. After showering, lather your entire body with a moisturizer that is high in antioxidants, which will help neutralize any environmental aggressors caused by the harsh chlorine water. Try our new Cell Renew EnviroExpose Repair and Restore Crème, which is scientifically formulated to help heal the body from sun and environmental exposure and has been clinically proven to reduce skin inflammation by 31%.

Chlorine and Your Hair

If you are an avid swimmer, you may notice your hair becoming dry and brittle – and maybe even a tint of green! You can thank the chlorine in the water for that…well, sort of. Chlorine does strip the hair of its natural oils, leaving it dry and fragile. But chlorine can’t be all to blame for leaving blonde hair a light green shade. It’s actually oxidized metals in the water that bind to the protein in the hair shaft. The metal that produces the green tint is copper, which is most commonly found in algicides.

Help keep hair healthy, and its intended color, by wetting your hair before you get into the pool. Hair follicles are porous, so wetting hair with non-chlorinated water prior will reduce the amount of chlorinated water your hair soaks up. If you are swimming more than a couple of times a week, invest in a latex or silicone swim cap and coat your hair with a silicone-based hair serum before you cover it up. Once you exit the pool, head straight to the shower and wash your hair thoroughly. Follow it with an apple cider vinegar rinse (one part vinegar to four parts water), then rinse out thoroughly.

Chlorine and Your Health

Exposure to chlorine in your water or in the air (ever said, “It smells like chlorine”?) can cause far worse damage to your health than just dry skin and green-hued hair. Studies have shown that chlorine exposure can cause an increased risk of cancer, specifically bladder cancer, and respiratory issues, including coughing, wheezing and asthma.

If you are the owner of the pool, consider using a chlorine alternative. Visit your local pool supply store and ask about a mineral disinfectant that reduces chlorine and eliminates the need for other harsh chemicals such as sodium bromide, phosphate removers and clarifiers. You’ll have safer swimmers to show for it!

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