Chlorine In Swimming Pools: Side Effects On Skin And How To Prevent

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Chlorine In Swimming Pools: Side Effects On Skin And How To Prevent

Chlorine has the ability to open up your skin's pores and strip away its natural oils, making it a known irritant.

Chlorine has the ability to open up your skin's pores and strip away its natural oils, making it a known irritant

Image Source: Dinodia

Summer brings with it the perfect opportunity to indulge in extravagant pool parties and refreshing swimming sessions. Swimming not only offers a fantastic full-body workout but also provides a rejuvenating effect on the mind. 

However, frequent swimming in public pools can have adverse effects on both hair and skin. It often leads to flaky and itchy skin due to neglect in monitoring the pH levels of the water throughout the day.

Given this situation, it becomes crucial to take steps to safeguard your skin and hair from issues like dullness and damage caused by swimming. While chlorine in the pools effectively eliminates bacteria and germs that cause infections, it unfortunately also disrupts the protective layer of oil known as sebum. This disruption can result in dryness of the scalp and skin.

Side-effects of chlorine in swimming pools:

Chlorine's impact on skin

When you submerge yourself in a swimming pool, it may be surprising to learn that your skin is actually losing moisture. Extended periods in the pool can lead to increased skin irritation and itchiness. Furthermore, frequent and prolonged swimming in chlorinated water can have long-term effects, such as contributing to premature ageing of the skin.

Impact on beneficial bacteria

Chlorine serves the purpose of eliminating harmful bacteria and safeguarding our well-being when added to water. Nonetheless, it is not widely known that this chemical also has the ability to harm beneficial bacteria. Within our dermal layer, there exists a beneficial microflora. Several studies have revealed that chlorinated water, such as that found in swimming pools, can have a detrimental effect on these bacteria. Consequently, it can deplete our skin with polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E.

Triggers skin breakouts

Exposure to chlorine in swimming pools can contribute to skin breakouts. The water in the pool can strip your skin of its natural moisture, causing the dermal layer to produce excessive sebum. This excess oil production can result in the formation of pimples and acne. Therefore, people who spend extended periods of time in swimming pools should be mindful of the potential for breakouts. 

Skin darkening

When you engage in outdoor swimming, your skin becomes directly exposed to sunlight, which can stimulate the production of melanin in the deeper layers of your skin. Melanin is naturally present in our skin, and excessive production of this pigment can result in skin darkening. However, it is important to note that chlorinated water found in pools can compromise the protective barrier of your skin. As a consequence, UV rays can penetrate more deeply and adversely affect your dermal layer. This heightened UV exposure not only increases the risk of severe tanning but can also lead to skin burns.

How to combat the effects of chlorine on your skin

Use lotion

Prior to entering swimming pools, it is advisable to apply a high-quality body lotion specifically designed for swimming. This will aid in forming a protective shield on the skin, preventing the absorption of chlorine.

Apply oil

Before heading to the swimming pool, it's recommended to apply a few drops of essential oil such as olive oil, coconut oil, or baby oil. This acts as a barrier between the chlorine-infused water and the skin.

Shower before swimming in the pool

It is important to shower before entering the pool as it aids in the absorption of chlorinated water if the skin is dry. Failing to do so may result in the chlorine and bleach water penetrating deeper layers of the skin and causing additional harm. S

Take Vitamin C 

Including Vitamin C in your daily regimen offers numerous benefits for your skin. Notably, it acts as an antioxidant, safeguarding the skin against UV damage. Additionally, Vitamin C can effectively reduce the appearance of a sun tan by inhibiting the activity of tyrosinase, an enzyme responsible for melanin production in the skin.

Drink water

Dehydrated skin tends to appear dry and rough, while well-hydrated skin remains supple and smooth. Before heading to the swimming pool, make sure to drink plenty of water. This will ensure that your skin stays properly hydrated while swimming. 

Apply sunscreen

Remember to apply sunscreen prior to heading to the swimming pool. By doing so, you'll not only shield your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays while swimming but also create a protective barrier that prevents direct contact between the pool water and your skin. 

Apply lip balm

Ensure you apply lip balm before entering chlorine-treated water to combat cracked lips. This simple step will safeguard against bleeding and maintain lip health during extended pool sessions.


While swimming in public pools offers numerous physical and mental benefits, it is important to be aware of the potential negative effects on the skin and hair. The chlorine in the water can lead to dryness, itchiness, and other skin issues. Regular monitoring of pH levels in the pool is crucial to prevent damage. By following these precautions, you can enjoy their swimming sessions while preserving the health and vitality of your skin and hair.

Disclaimer: The above content is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a qualified physician or doctor. The Company does not vouch for or endorse any of the above content, and disclaims any and all warranties, express or implied, relating to the same.