Swimming and Acne  

by Pool Builders on 05-15-2013 in Articles

Swimming, as a physical activity, is great for overall health including skin health. The way you breathe while swimming increases the flow of oxygen within your body, and the extra oxygen that enters your blood stream promotes the growth of new skin cells and heals inflamed skin. But, have you thought of the effect of the water, i.e. chlorinated pool water, on your skin? There are controversial theories on the effect of chlorine on skin. Let's discuss the science behind the effect of chlorine on acne-inflicted skin.

What is the chemistry of chlorinated water? Chlorine is powerful in fighting E-coli bacteria found in improperly filtered water. It is used in water-treatment plants and in swimming pools to keep microorganisms at bay. The chemical structure of chlorine breaks down the bacterial cell walls and purifies water. The same chlorine is also capable of attacking acne-causing bacteria and eliminates excessive oil accumulated in your skin pores. This perspective has led to the misconception that pool water aids in acne removal. In reality, the relief is temporary because constant or repeated exposure to chlorine can be harmful. Chlorine has a positive effect only when used in minute quantities; in fact, several skin care products contain small amounts of chlorine.

What happens when your skin is repeatedly exposed to chlorine? The acidic property of chlorine could inflict damages to sensitive skin, particularly facial skin. It not only destroys harmful microbes present in water and acne-causing bacteria, but also strips your skin off its natural oils, Vitamin E and other good bacteria. Eventually, your skin loses its oil balance and becomes dry and irritated. In response, your body triggers the oil glands to produce more oil to make up for the loss. Excessive oil starts trapping dirt and bacteria that tend to clog the skin pores and increase acne breakouts.

Now that you know the adverse effects of chlorinated water on acne, it is easier to adopt means to counter that problem. After each swimming session, use a mild exfoliating agent to remove chlorine trapped on the skin surface and apply a good moisturizer. It is best to use natural acne products, such as Aloe Vera based lotions. If your skin is already affected by chlorinated water, acne home remedies or herbal remedies are the best option to prevent aggravation. The idea behind the acne treatment is to eliminate any chlorine accumulated on the skin. Leaving it untreated could cause wrinkles and lead to premature aging.

Perhaps, you're pondering about the effect of chlorinated tap water. What happens when you shower in chlorinated water? Water treatment plants do not use as much chlorine as swimming pools. In fact, chlorinated water will not have any adverse effect on your skin if the pH balance is optimal, i.e., a pH level of 7 to 8.

The irritation caused by chlorine also depends on the skin type, i.e. how your skin reacts to chlorine. Some people may just experience some dryness, while other can see their acne problem worsen. Protective measures will help you reap the benefits of swimming as a physical activity, while eliminating chlorine-induced problems.

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