This short guide is to let you know that you can get enjoyment from the pool and still protect your skin and body.
While in the pool, there is little you can do except for wearing googles to protect your eyes.
What about before you get into the pool? I quit a club because I did not trust its pool water, the water was cloudy and it shouldn’t be. Cloudy water, no water circulation, a (bacterial) film covering the surface are signals you must take seriously.
The chlorine tablets or solution that go into the pool into the water form different chemicals that kill microorganisms and bacteria by attacking the cell walls and oxidizing the cell content. These days we don’t have to worry that much about the polio virus thanks to the vaccine (thank science for that), but there are still some nasty infections that you can get from a pool, like Giardia, E. coli and cryptosporidium. Don’t swim in under-chlorinated water, don’t swim in over-chlorinated pools. If you are in doubt, you can test the water for chlorine content with a strip, they cost $7 for 50 strips, much cheaper than an infection, it takes 15 seconds to test the pool water.
Chlorine tables are made of calcium hypochlorite that in contact with water releases hypochlorous acid (HOCl), the active sanitizing agent. Hypochlorous acid kills bacteria, yeasts, fungus, spores, even viruses. Some organisms may be resistant to chlorine but this is still a very effective method of sanitation. The chemistry of disinfection is complex and depends also on the pH of the water, so you need not only the chemicals but also the expertise.
Showering before will decrease the concentration of byproducts of chlorine that forms when it encounters organic matters, like sweat. After the swim, remove the swimsuit as soon as possible and take a shower. Showering after the swim will remove chlorine from your skin.
What should we worry about? I am always good at worrying and pools are great for this. There is the direct effect of the chlorine on our skin, plus potentially toxic byproducts formed when chlorine encounters organic matter (monochloramines, dichloramines, etc). The presence of organic matter in the pool, including leaves, will affect the amount of byproducts so this is a good reason to keep your pool as clean as possible.
Always remember that your body has the tools to get rid of toxins, so don’t use this as an excuse to avoid swimming, which is one of the best forms of exercise, relaxation and leisure available to us.
What to do after? After you take your shower, your skin still has a lot of reactive oxygen species (ROS*) it could do without. You want to kill pathogens in the pool, but our own live cells will also be damaged by ROS*.
At Skin Actives, we know a lot about ROS* and pollution, be it in the air or in the water. Disarm ROS* with our products, which contain synergistic combinations of low and high molecular weight antioxidants to protect your skin from damage to proteins, lipids and DNA that ROS* can inflict.
Use any combination of products, depending on your preference for creams, algae based serums, or oil based serum. These products will disarm the ROS* and they will supply your skin with the nutrition they need to heal any damage the chlorinated water may have caused and will also help repair UV damage. For your hair and scalp, use our hair serum.
Our products will alleviate the visible effects of the chlorinated water on your skin, like itching and even some redness, but more importantly they will prevent all the “invisible” effects of reactive oxygen species.
Most of these suggestions are also good for when you swim in the sea. There will be no chlorine to worry about, but the sun will be there, and so will be the ROS*!