Both salt water and chlorine can have harmful effects on your skin, and it usually depends on the individuals. Some swimmers might develop discomfort in chlorinated water, and feel perfectly well in the ocean while others experience the exact opposite!

But generally speaking, skin problems occur twice more in chlorinated water than in salt water.

In most cases, salt water causes dry and itchy skin but chlorine triggers irritated skin and sometimes even a nasty rash which is much more noticeable and annoying.

It is inevitable to use bacteria-killing chlorine in swimming pools especially in warm water where the bacteria loves to grow and multiply, but being exposed to excessive amounts of chlorine can be as harmful as the lack of it.


How to protect your skin from the effects of chlorine?

  • The simplest solution is to stay away from chlorinated water. Other options can be: salt water pools, saline pools (that contain both salt and chlorine but in smaller amounts), ozone pools or the ocean.
  • If you can control the chlorine levels in your swimming pool, try to maintain it at appropriate levels, and avoid its excess (1.0 – 3.0 ppm; PH: 7.2 -7.8)*. But also make sure it’s not below average or you will risk causing bacterial infections.
  • Shower with anti-bacterial soap before and after your swim. Those signs that you see at the pool aren’t just intended for the not-so-clean swimmers; the role of pre-swim showers is to eliminate all traces of sweat on your body, because chloramine (a harmful chemical) develops when chlorine reacts with sweat.
  • Cover your skin with oils and lotions that can block chlorine from getting to your skin or at least minimalize its exposure. Coconut oil and Vitamin C are both highly recommended.
  • Apply a moisturizer after swimming.
  • Drink lots of water before and after your swim.

 More: Why does swimming make us sleepy?


How to treat skin irritation caused by chlorine?

Minor skin irritations caused by chlorine have easy remedies such as:

  • Corticosteroid creams or anti-itch lotions
  • Cold bandages/icepacks
  • Water and baking soda baths

But if the irritation persists or aggravates, visit your physician.

Meanwhile, stay healthy and have a happy swim 🙂


*One ounce of chlorine will give you a 1 ppm (parts per million) in 75,000 gallons of water.

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