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Swimming Itch: Anti Chlorine Itch and Swim Cream

About Swimming Itch

Swimming is a wonderful exercise and can have magical benefits to the body. But the refreshing romp in the pool may leave you with swimming itch. Severe cases may result in itchy, dry skin, accompanied by peeling and flaking and may lead to wrinkles and premature aging. In worse cases, some may experience blisters and rashes. These reactions are collectively known as swimmer's xerosis.

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No Single Factor

There is no single factor to blame. Quality of water such as temperature, pH and salt content, pool hygiene, type of disinfectant used; usually chlorine, are the external factors to be considered. Underlying skin disorders like eczema and skin composition of swimmer are internal factors.

Our skin is well protected by the lipid layer sebum when we immerse ourselves in the pool, the chemicals in the water strip the protective layer of the skin. Saltwater and the alkaline or acidic nature of pool water will exaggerate the stripping process. Also, the Chlorine is an intense irritant that opens up the pores so the skin absorbs more chlorine enough to affect skin integrity.

Moisture Supplement is A Key

Moisture supplement can be a key factor in solving swimming skin miseries. They come in a number of formats:
    Image of a smiling woman in the shower: Showering away the swimming itch
    Showering Away The Swimming Itch

  • Pre-Swim Lotions There are a number of commercial products available for swimmers. Find the one which suits you best. Some lotions even help prevent the chlorine smell of your skin. These lotions have long-lasting effect and act as a barrier between water and skin to prevents dryness. Inexpensive choices are petroleum jelly and mineral oil or even baby oil. They are excellent at blocking water and chemicals but as long lasting as they are they do eventually break down so they are most effective for short swimming.

  • Post-Swim Lotions Use ample oil based moisturizers or post-swim creams after bath, preferably non-comedogenic moisturizers which ensures your skin is just moisturized and not irritated.
It is often very effective to use both pre and post swim lotions.

Wash thoroughly but a hot steam bath may not be a good idea, it may further harm your skin as it will produce Chloramines by joining deposited chlorine. Weird! So it's wise to shower or bathe in Luke warm water; which is less in chlorine content. Use mild soaps, cleansers or no soap at all and rub gently. Remember it is just a chlorine deposit not a stain. Rubbing harder probably doesn't help.

Severe Reaction

For a severe reaction of itchy skin, anti-itching creams may be necessary. If itching is due to an allergic reaction, then you may need to see your doctor about antihistamines. Certain skin conditions like eczema gets worse while swimming. In such cases, you can seek medical help.

A true chlorine allergy is very rare, and most often people just have a chlorine or high PH level intolerant.


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