Effective Natural Protection against Pool Chemicals
Chemicals like chlorine do a great job of keeping pools free of harmful organisms. When properly monitored and regulated, they can ensure that your pool water is perfectly clean and crystal clear. However, because you are an “organism” as well, these chemicals can affect you — most often in the form of drying out skin and hair.
Thankfully, there are a number of simple ways to offset the effects of chlorine and other sanitizing agents. If you are a frequent swimmer, consider taking these steps.
Rinse before getting into the pool.
The signs at a public pool asking swimmers to please shower before getting into the water do so primarily because rinsing can keep some of the oil, dirt, and skincare or haircare products on your body from making their way into the pool and its filtering system. An added bonus of heeding that request is that your hair and skin are like a sponge, and if they are saturated with clean, unchlorinated (or less-chlorinated) water, they can absorb less of the chlorinated water. Rinsing can also remove excess sweat from your skin, the ammonia of which can react with chlorine to form chloramines, which are compounds associated with skin irritation and other health issues.
Apply coconut oil or skin-safe sunscreen
Applying oils or lotions that create a protective layer on your skin can help defend it from the effects of pool chemicals. Doing this after you’ve followed the pre-swim rinse advice above compounds your protection.
Wear a swim cap
While they may not be the height of fashion, swim caps can minimize your hair’s exposure to pool sanitizing agents. Applying the cap over hair that’s been rinsed in fresh water makes it easier to get on and, again, adds the “full sponge” effect to your defenses.
Apply topical vitamin C after swimming
While rinsing in fresh water after you finish a swim will remove much of the chlorine, some will likely remain on your skin for a time. The chemical properties of vitamin C neutralize chlorine and chloramines. Spraying a vitamin C solution on your skin and hair, rubbing in, and then rinsing with fresh water is far more effective than rinsing alone.
After you’ve removed the chlorine from your skin, replenish its natural moisture with an antioxidant-rich lotion.
Consider discarding daily contact lenses
If you wear contact lenses, you may find they increase the irritating effects of treated water by absorbing and retaining some of the chemicals. To eliminate this problem, you can use inexpensive daily contacts for swimming and then discard them afterward in favor of extended wear versions.
Pool sanitizing agents are a necessary part of pool maintenance. Knowing how to minimize their effects on your hair and skin allows you to enjoy a swim or soak as often as you like for as long as you like.