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Skin problems after pool swimming
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Anyone has tips to minimize skin problems after swimming in a chlorinated pool? I feel like I've approached a point where continuing swimming there is detrimental to both health and results, and while I'm waiting for the better pool to open, wonder if folks have success battling this.

I had pretty bad neurodermatitis as a kid, but grew out of it for the most part, and was able to swim 3-5hrs a week in local pools without particular issues for a few years. It's always worse this time a year, and it's likely my pool is doing something different as far as its chemical content, but it's pretty bad: losing sleep, skin looks terrible. I know it's the pool because skin gets much better after 2 days of not going there... Saltwater pools are much better, it's just hard logistically.
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Re: Skin problems after pool swimming [friskyDingo] [ In reply to ]
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Unfortunately I don't have any tips but can probably guarantee that it's not "your pool doing something different." I run two pools and we pretty much NEVER deviate from our typical water chemistry. You may be experiencing this as it's a colder/dryer time of year and after living int hat for several months, the pool water is exacerbating the issue. While it doesn't happen as bad other times of the year.
Short of being sure to rinse thoroughly immediately after swimming, and again later after you have fully "dried off" from the pool water, followed by appropriate moisturizing, I don't know that you'll see much relief.

Best of luck to you.
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Re: Skin problems after pool swimming [bryan913] [ In reply to ]
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Thank you, Bryan. The pool I'm talking about is my only option on weekdays, but when I go to other pools on weekends, it seems to make a difference. I've reached out to the Aquatics Director to see if they might know what the story is.

I'm just wondering if there's folks out there dealing with bad skin that might have some tricks (like I'm hearing you can apply coconut oil to problematic spots before swimming - wonder if this ends up washing off into the pool for everyone to swim in...)
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Re: Skin problems after pool swimming [friskyDingo] [ In reply to ]
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I used to have dry skin problems in the winter especially, mostly on my sides and abdomen.

The past 2 years I haven't. I'm not sure if they've adjusted conditions at my pool (same pool). But one thing I have changed is that I do a dry sauna after every swim now, and stay for 10-15 minutes so that I am sweating a lot - lots of sweat beading up, running down and dripping off, then go take a shower. I haven't change shower soap/shampoo. I don't know if sweating helps get rid of the chlorine/poolwater residue or not. Just an observation.
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Re: Skin problems after pool swimming [friskyDingo] [ In reply to ]
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Not sure if this would help but I swim in a salt water pool. After my swims I usually go sit in the steam room for 10 minuets. I feel like I sweat out some of the pool smell. Then I shower off. In the evenings I make sure to lather up in some good lotion.
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Re: Skin problems after pool swimming [friskyDingo] [ In reply to ]
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This is my routine.

  1. After swimming soap up my bathing suit and spend 5 min in the shower scrubbing down every part of my body literally "sanding it down"
  2. After shower, full body lotion and face cream
  3. If I have time before the shower, 5 min sauna to sweat out the chlorine
  4. If I have time after the shower, 5-10 min jog on gym treadmill to further squeeze out residual chlorine

Last year, I had a mega swim year.....100K per month, all year, so ~25-35 sessions per month...no problems (I think I did 350 sessions in the pool last year0. The key is to get the chlorine out
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Re: Skin problems after pool swimming [devashish_paul] [ In reply to ]
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Thank you, will try that!
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Re: Skin problems after pool swimming [layaway tay] [ In reply to ]
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Yes, just got back from swimming in saltwater pool, and it feels great, no problems at all. Can't do this every time unfortunately, but it's definitely night and day difference.
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Re: Skin problems after pool swimming [friskyDingo] [ In reply to ]
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I used to have this problem and almost gave up swimming entirely.


Pools vary tremendously. This is in part due to having different recommended levels for contaminants, PH, and disinfectants including chlorine. It's also due to reaction products between chlorine and sweat, urine, faeces and other contaminants.


I would, as much as possible, try to swim in the early morning over any other time of the day. The water has the lowest levels of contaminants and has cleaned out overnight, and the operators have usually not dumped a huge load of chemicals in to counteract the accumulated human detriment.


Saltwater pools and outdoor pools (solar radiation decreases chlorine need) are also better than indoor freshwater.

'It never gets easier, you just get crazier.'
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Re: Skin problems after pool swimming [bryan913] [ In reply to ]
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bryan913 wrote:
Unfortunately I don't have any tips but can probably guarantee that it's not "your pool doing something different." I run two pools and we pretty much NEVER deviate from our typical water chemistry. You may be experiencing this as it's a colder/dryer time of year and after living int hat for several months, the pool water is exacerbating the issue. While it doesn't happen as bad other times of the year.
Short of being sure to rinse thoroughly immediately after swimming, and again later after you have fully "dried off" from the pool water, followed by appropriate moisturizing, I don't know that you'll see much relief.

Best of luck to you.


I'd suggest that the pool is the likely culprit. While you may not change your pool chemistry regime, changing people that take care of the pool chemistry can certainly have that result.

The OP seems to have narrowed it down to a change in pool chemistry that is affecting them, and I think they are probably right. I think their first reaction, to query the pool operator is perfect (as long as it was a query, not an accusation so to speak). On the assumption that the pool has remained constant, then that suggests the change is with the OP. They say they grew out of the condition as a kid so maybe they've grown back into reacting to whatever is in the pool. Since they are pretty much stuck with the one pool, then finding a treatment after the swim seems to be what's needed.

I concur that rinsing and washing well is the first step (rinsing at poolside right away if that's an option) then a really good wash with a suitable soap or soap product (I know that some soaps bother me and some don't, so work through what's best). Then, when dry, moisturizing or using a commercial product specifically for use after swimming could help, hopefully help enough to allow them to continue training.

TriDork

"Happiness is a myth. All you can hope for is to get laid once in a while, drunk once in a while and to eat chocolate every day"
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Re: Skin problems after pool swimming [friskyDingo] [ In reply to ]
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I never had any problems in pools until one 2 week period when I was away for 2 weeks and swam in another pool.
By the end of those 2 weeks I was rash all over and it was painful just to sweat in a shirt.
When home the symptoms lessened but never went away and sometimes would come back with a vengeance.
I struggled with this for about 3 years until a new indoor salted pool opened up 60km away and I found I could swim in that and symptoms just disappeared.

Now to cut a long story short, it turned out to be allergy to washing powder.

When away the first two weeks I had used the powder at the place I was staying to wash.
This triggered the allergy.

Now after I know I use a sensitive skin laundry liquid and have zero problems, although I can sometimes feel itchy if I sleep in somebody else's freshly cleaned sheets for more than a night or 2.

Took a lot of doctors appointments, pool chemistry sleuthing and blind luck to find the cause.
Then much later discovered that my mum had washed our clothes in Softly Woolwash all our lives because she experienced the same thing.
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Re: Skin problems after pool swimming [tridork] [ In reply to ]
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Thank you for trying to help!
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Re: Skin problems after pool swimming [lyrrad] [ In reply to ]
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Got laundry stuff in bulk and still using the same thing as last year, so not likely. But good to know, I didn't even think about it. I've been changing sheets and trying to wear trusty tech shirts that aren't really appropriate for work, but seem to be less irritating...
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Re: Skin problems after pool swimming [lyrrad] [ In reply to ]
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I have a strange condition I've never had diagnosed, but I have found the source and the solution. Interestingly, my adult daughter gets it, but my adult son doesn't. At one point we thought we'd narrowed it down to laundry powder but it wasn't.

After thinking I got it figured, I've paid close attention and confirmed it over and over.

I react to my own sweat!

I've narrowed it down further than that. If I perspire, as in get slightly damp, say walking around town on a warm humid day, then the dampness dries, I'm all good. However, if I sweat again, it seems to make the sweat reactivate. While I'm sweating or damp, there's no problem, it's when I dry out after the second sweat/perspiration episode, that I itch like crazy! At it's worst it's like bugs crawling under my skin. It makes me insane!

If I perspire, then dry out, then have a shower, I'll dry off and start itching like crazy. If say on a Saturday I'm out and about running errands, and mildly damp, but don't shower that evening, the next day I might cut the lawns, dry off THEN have a shower. After the shower I will be an itchy disaster.

Most of the time I cycle commute to work and exercise during the day. Most days I shower 2-3 times, and I'm fine. If I don't shower, then I just wait for the itches next time.

TriDork

"Happiness is a myth. All you can hope for is to get laid once in a while, drunk once in a while and to eat chocolate every day"
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Re: Skin problems after pool swimming [friskyDingo] [ In reply to ]
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The combination of dry air and swimming a lot in the winter leaves me kind of itchy. I find that Ivory soap is about as good as anything to get the chlorine out. I use a little bit of baby oil on the trouble spots. Some people also swear by the steam room to sweat it out after a swim.
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Re: Skin problems after pool swimming [friskyDingo] [ In reply to ]
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Got this back from the Aquatics director:

"My suggestions to you, which I also tell my staff who sometimes spends up to 3+ hrs in our waters when they teach, is that they have to take a 5min lukewarm to hot showers before they start, with no soap, to get their poars covered. The water on their skin with no chemicals will act as a buffer in their pours and will reduce the "itch" and then after lessons, again, they have to take a 5-10min shower and use mild soap, not AXE or Purfumy soaps but something moisturizing like Dove or anti-chlorine soaps."
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Re: Skin problems after pool swimming [friskyDingo] [ In reply to ]
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You can try to spray yourself with vitamin c diluted in water after the swim before you shower.
The vitamin c breaks down the chlorine. Its very cheap and easy to make the solution, google it
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Re: Skin problems after pool swimming [dorongo] [ In reply to ]
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Found https://www.swimspray.com, looks like they recommend to apply it *after* swimming. I guess I can give this a go, thanks!
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Re: Skin problems after pool swimming [friskyDingo] [ In reply to ]
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friskyDingo wrote:
Found https://www.swimspray.com, looks like they recommend to apply it *after* swimming. I guess I can give this a go, thanks!

I did not spend money on any of these products. You can get vitamin c very easily in crystal form and just dissolve it in water.
I did the calculation when I was using it and it was like a thousand time cheaper or something.
Not that these products are so expensive, its just annoying to pay $10 for something that costs a cent to make
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Re: Skin problems after pool swimming [dorongo] [ In reply to ]
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Definitely. Saw this as an example of DYI. Thanks again!
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Re: Skin problems after pool swimming [friskyDingo] [ In reply to ]
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Dermatologist told me to pat skin dry with a towel. Even leaving a bit of moisture on is good. Immediately put on moisturizer. Dry air in winter makes for dry skin which exacerbates the problem. Almost never see pts with dry skin in the summer see them frequently in Dec-March for the "winter itch"

Perhaps the real revolutionaries are those that keep their promises.
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Re: Skin problems after pool swimming [friskyDingo] [ In reply to ]
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The itching skin and the rashes I was getting after every pool swim was driving me nuts. It's hard enough to drag yourself to the pool to train, but knowing that every time I did, I was going to be itching for three days afterward was pretty debilitating. I scoured the Internet for a remedy, and tried Swimspray, all kinds of lotions before and after swimming, to no avail. Then as a last resort I tried rubbing Vaseline all over my body before I swam. Blam, problem solved. Haven't had a problem since. I was afraid that my body would be all greasy afterwards, but it's not. It just feels like I had used a regular moisturizer. I spray a homemade Swimspray on myself after the swim, but only to remove the chlorine smell. I didn't find it did much to prevent the rashes.
I hope this works for you.
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Re: Skin problems after pool swimming [friskyDingo] [ In reply to ]
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I looked at this post earlier in a search for a solution to terrible itching for a couple of days after swimming. Didn’t have any luck with swim spray but did have good success with something called pre-swim by Diva Products. It’s sort of expensive when you consider that I cover most of my body with it. Have tried Vaseline, but am finding that aquaphor seems to work ok for a barrier. Nothing has completely eliminated the itching but has reduced it substantially.
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Re: Skin problems after pool swimming [friskyDingo] [ In reply to ]
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Some good suggestions above.

I also get irritated and itchy skin from swimming and it is definitely worse in the winter time when humidity is low and my skin is already much more dry at baseline. Some things that help:

- take a quick shower before you get in the pool. Your skin and hair act like a sponge.
- shower immediately afterwards with a mild soap. Try a few kinds and see what works for you. I actually have baby soap/shampoo in my swim bag. Dev mentioned this but use a sponge/washcloth and scrub everything really well.
- moisturizer as needed

As for differences at the same pool or between pools, aside from the specific chemistry maintained, it's also possible that Chlorate levels fluctuate depending on the amount of waste and pathogens in the water at any given time. Kind of gross, but the more sweat and urine etc the more Chlorate which contributes to the dermatitis. Just a theory. Not sure how often combined chlorine levels are monitored.
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Re: Skin problems after pool swimming [jonmhicks] [ In reply to ]
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I found using soap free body washes (Dove and generic CVS make a good one) helped a lot. Also making sure to not take a super hot shower, and applying a nice mild unscented lotion immediately afterward was super helpful.
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