Swimming – Fun or Damaging?

Skin cells consists of 70% water, so you would think water is imperative to your skin’s health and optimal functioning. This is true from an internal perspective. However, the question that should be considered is whether sea and swimming pool water benefits or damages the skin?

Seawater and your skin

Seawater has many health benefits due to the high salt content. Salt is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial substance which is beneficial to acne-prone skin. Seawater also contains high levels of minerals (Calcium, Magnesium etc.) which is especially important in the treatment of skin conditions such as Eczema and Psoriasis. Historically, bathing in mineral rich water was called “Balneotherapy” and showed results in the treatment of autoimmune (where the immune system attacks its own healthy cells) skin conditions.

Another type of therapy called Climatotherapy is where you expose yourself to cold water often. This stimulates blood circulation and therefore the skin’s immune system. It is highly beneficial to expose your body to cold seawater often. Just make sure you do not forget your SPF. Remember that sunrays penetrate through water and that can be detrimental to skin health. Based on these facts you can enjoy your daily dip in the seawater.

Swimming pool water and your skin

Let’s look at exposure to swimming pool water. You may have seen the effect swimming has on blonde hair, where the hair is left with a green tinge. Now imagine what it does to the skin! Keep in mind, we cannot always visibly see the effects on the skin immediately. Here we deal with high levels of Chlorine which is beneficial to keep the pool clean, but it can be extremely irritating, harmful and damaging to the skin.

Chlorine breaks down into two compounds when exposed to water. These are Hypochlorous acids and Chloramines which is needed to disinfect the pool.┬áThe effect on your skin is quite different to that of seawater exposure. It may lead to excessively dry and irritated skin, not to mention the burns and rashes that can develop. This is due to pores becoming slightly more enlarged which leads to a loss of essential skin protective oils. The Hypochlorous acid can also aggravate preexisting skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis because of the increased inflammation that it triggers in the skin. If your skin is already predisposed to any of the above conditions and you still want to swim, you can reduce the effect on the skin by immediately applying Vitamin C after showering off the chlorine water and moisturising with a product that will reinforce the skin’s barrier.

SkinPhD’s Silver Healing Gel and Sliver Healing Cream is the perfect product to treat irritated and dry skin that has been exposed to any of the above mentioned. It is also a great product to use on sunburnt skin.

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