Monday, July 30, 2007

Summer Swimming and Your Skin

As we welcome the arrival of summer, we are glad to put on our swimsuits to head to the water and cool off. Swimming is a great way to stay in shape and beat the summer heat, but your skin can also take a beating if you don't take the proper precautions.

Whether you swim in a pool or at the beach, there are skin care concerns. At the pool, there is chlorine in the water which can rob your skin of essential oils. At the beach, the sun reflects strongly off the water and sand, increasing your risk for sunburn. Additionally, if you swim near the ocean there is salt in the water which can be drying.

Lastly, hot tubs and fresh water may also cause skin distress called dermatitis, more commonly referred to as hot tub rash. Warm, still water contains the germ Pseudomonas aeruginosa which can cause a bumpy, red rash and pus-filled blisters to form on your skin. Although the rash usually disappears on its own after a week or so, it can be very itchy and uncomfortable.

Here are some tips to keep your skin looking terrific, no matter how often you go swimming:
  • Use a waterproof, moisturizing sunscreen to avoid skin damage while swimming;
  • Rub essential oil on your skin prior to swimming in an indoor, chlorinated pool - almond oil and olive oil work well;
  • Use a moisturizer all over your face and body after swimming - Vitamin E and aloe based products are great;
  • Keep your pool clean but avoid excessive use of chlorine;
  • If a hot tub or body of fresh water looks questionably maintained or slightly green, don't go in so you avoid getting dermatitis;
  • If you own a hot tub, make sure to check the pH and keep it clean to avoid skin irritation.
By taking a few simple steps to care for your skin, you can enjoy swimming all summer long.

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