Chlorine Rash – Cause, Symptoms, Prevention and Treatment

You got more than you bargained for.

All you wanted was a day in the sun next to the pool with a little swimming.

What you ended up with was itchy irritated skin. A chlorine rash.

According to a study published in the international Journal of environmental health research about one in four people report skin irritation after swimming. You just happen to be one of the lucky ones.

Cause of Chlorine Rash

chemical burn sign
Chlorine rash is a reaction between the chlorine and your skin cells. Not to be confused with hot tub rash which is actually a reaction between your skin and bacteria in the water that chlorine hasn’t killed off.

If you happen to be thinking that you have a chlorine allergy because you have a rash from the pool you’re not alone.

Unfortunately, calling it a chlorine allergy isn’t quite right. What’s happening is more like a chemical burn. The chlorine sits on your skin continuing to react even after you left the pool. Over time this irritation builds up creating this itchy sensation and sometimes even a noticeable rash.

Symptoms

Chlorine rash a.k.a. swimmers rash comes with a few noticeable and super irritating symptoms.

  • Itchy irritated skin
  • Dry rough skin
  • Red skin patches or eczema
  • Itchy watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing

Most like you will only develop minor symptoms like itching skin. However, you might have a more severe reaction. If you are one of the unlucky few who are more sensitive to chlorine you can develop red patches of skin or eczema very easily after time in the pool. These skin patches and skin rashes can be irritated further by some kinds of soaps and shampoos.

Note: If you have a series of small red bumps some of which may have pus inside you more than likely have hot tub rash not chlorine rash. This is a result of bacteria getting into your hair follicles. An antihistamine may help the itchy symptoms. See your doctor if you get a fever, swollen lymph nodes or develop any other swollen and tender areas.

Prevention

chlorine rash prevention swimmers lotion
They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Although there is no foolproof way to keep chlorine off your skin there’s a few things you can do.

  1. Shower before you get in the pool. Rinsing off any sweat or dirt you already have on your skin will help prevent some of the reaction with chlorine in the pool.
  2. You can use some kind of skin barrier like a pre-swimming lotion.This will help prevent the chlorine from getting into your pores. Making it easier to remove later.
  3. Take off your swimsuit and change into clean dry clothes as soon as you’re done swimming. Allowing the chlorine to sit on you will only hurt your skin more.

Despite taking preventative measures you may still end up with a chlorine rash. If you are a competitive swimmer, spend a long time at the pool during the day, or have frequent contact with your pool the prevention may not be enough.

Treating Chlorine Rash

Fortunately our skin is a very resilient part of us. We shed and grow about 1 million skin cells everyday. That means your body is actively working on repairing the damage from your rash.

The best way to treat a chlorine rash comes in two steps.

  1.  Get all the chlorine off of your skin.
  2. Help your skin cells regenerate and heal your already damaged skin.

The first step is usually the hardest. Chlorine is really bad about hanging around on our skin. Normal soaps don’t wash it all away.

The best way to get rid of chlorine is to break it up chemically. Now you’re probably thinking to yourself “won’t that hurt my skin more?” Sometimes yes, the most common chemical used in chlorine neutralizing soaps can irritate your skin. So the best way to break up chlorine naturally is to use vitamin C.

Vitamin C instantly breaks up chlorine it comes in contact with. Which is why we use 15% vitamin C in our swimmer’s body wash. It gives you the chance to break up chlorine naturally and wash it off without hurting your skin more.

Once you’ve removed the chlorine now you want to help your skin regrow and repair itself. Healing chlorine rash that you already have will take a little time. Along with vitamin C a couple other things that help skin regrow include vitamin E and MSM. You can also use aloe to help keep moisture in your skin.

If you use this supplements daily it should help speed up the process of healing your skin.

Most of these supplements can be found at your local drugstore. You can also find them all in our swimmer’s body wash.

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