Worried about the effect chlorine and sea water could be having on your skin? Here we reveal our top skin care tips for swimmers, whether in the sea or at the poolside.
DIP YOUR TOE IN THE WATER
Not sure how eczema-prone skin will react to heavily chlorinated swimming pools? Don’t dive right in! The National Eczema Society suggests initially swimming for a short time and monitoring how your skin responds to chlorine and other potential irritants[i]. Swimming in salt water however, can help calm and soothe skin that is prone to eczema and other skin disorders.
APPLY OCEANS OF LOTION
Being underwater can provide some protection from harmful UVA & UVB rays but swimmers can still be vulnerable to sunburn when swimming.
It is thought that half a metre of water will let 40% of UVB light through, and if the water is cool you might not realise your skin is burning[ii].
To protect your skin, apply a water-resistant sun lotion at least 20 minutes before exposing your skin to the sun.
If you are swimming in the sea, use a reef-safe sun lotion formula, such as Green People organic sun lotion, which is made without the chemical ingredients that are known to pose a threat to marine species.
High factor scent free SPF30 suitable for children with sensitive skin
Heading off in search of the surf or on a snorkelling expedition? Make sure you wear appropriate swimwear.
Wearing a wetsuit will not only keep you warm[iii] but can also provide some protection from irritation, jelly fish stings and the sun. Rash vests are made with UV protective materials designed to help protect the skin from damage caused by the sun, the sea or simply abrasion from your wetsuit[iv].
It’s advisable to wear a rash vest when participating in water sports or snorkelling, but young children and those with sensitive or sun sensitive skin may also benefit from wearing UV-protective clothing when simply swimming in the sea or in chlorinated water.
Prone to prickly heat? Be aware that wetsuits are often tight fitting and made with man-made materials so could aggravate your skin. You should also remember that neither a wetsuit, nor a rash vest, will cover the entire body. For this reason, water-resistant sun cream should be applied liberally to exposed skin before you get in the water, and reapplied once you get out.
MAKE A SPLASH
Heading poolside? Don’t forget to shower before and after swimming. Thoroughly drenching the hair and skin in water prior to swimming can minimise chlorine uptake and reduce the risk of hair discolouration and skin irritation. Rinsing the hair and body after swimming will help wash off salt water and chlorine, but chlorine can be clingy and it’s not unusual to notice that you can still smell it on your skin and hair long after you’ve left the pool.
Whilst you might be tempted to use fragranced shower gels to mask the smell of chlorine, if your skin feels dry or irritated after swimming, consider using a scent-free shower gel made without skin-irritating SLS.
Chlorine can strip the natural oils away from the surface of the hair and scalp, but washing the hair immediately after swimming with haircare containing artichoke leaves will help minimise damage to the follicles. Artichoke leaves, a key ingredient in Green People’s Quinoa & Artichoke hair care range, contain an extract that repairs chlorine damage and can help reseal the surface of the hair to reduce porosity.
What are your skin care tips for swimming? Join the conversation on social at @GreenPeopleUK or by commenting in the section below.
[i] National Eczema Society, 2018