How to combat dry skin from swimming

Lengthy dips in a chlorinated swimming pool can leave your skin feeling dehydrated and, in turn, make it appear scaly and/or feel itchy. Those with eczema will be more susceptible than others to these symptoms, but there are a number of key steps that anybody can take to combat dry skin when swimming.

But firstly, why does chlorinated water play such havoc with our skin? Health organisation, Livestrong, explains how the average swimming pool is awash with chemicals that play a vital role in preventing the spreading of harmful bacteria, viruses and fungus between swimmers. The chlorine in pool water, however, helps to strip your skin of the lubricating layer of fats that are produced by your sebaceous glands, making it feel tight and itchy.

How to combat dry skin from swimming - top 5 tips

1. Apply oil and lotion beforehand

Before entering the pool you can reduce damage to your skin by applying an oil or lotion to create a protective layer between your skin and the water. Many types of water-resistant sun lotions are specifically designed to withstand the chemicals in chlorinated water.

2. Rinse-off your skin and hair

Post-swim, the emphasis should be on rinsing the skin and hair immediately upon leaving the pool. As the chlorine will have done its best to leave you with dry flaky skin, it is wise to try to hydrate with a moisturising shower oil that will cleanse your skin of the harsh chemicals from the pool.

3. Rinse your costume

The British Swimming governing body emphasises how important it is to thoroughly rinse your costume after each swim too as skin rashes are often worse under the costume (plus it will make your swimwear last longer).

4. Apply a moisturiser

The best moisturiser for dry skin from a swimming pool is one that absorbs quickly into your skin, feels non-greasy and is ideally hypoallergenic to reduce the risk of any further skin irritation that may come from a result of being in the chlorinated water. An intense moisturiser may be needed in certain areas where there has been chaffing and/or rubbing.

5. Take daily supplements

Taking a daily supplement that contains ingredients such as marine collagen, vitamins C, B7, E and selenium will help to neutralise the effects of chlorine and replenish dry skin. The NHS recommends that you don’t overuse vitamin C supplements - taking anything under 1000mg of vitamin C daily is fine.

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