Swimming is relaxing and very enjoyable for the whole family. However, if you don't prepare your skin before and after swimming, the sun, chlorine and salt in sea water may cause skin problems you will not appreciate later. Depending on your skin type, you may experience dry, peeling, stinging and even burning after a refreshing swim. A few simple tips will help you prevent skin and hair damage while loving your summer swim.
Swimmers Skin Care Tips
Chlorine and other chemicals are added to pools to prevent mold and bacterial growth. Salt is naturally in sea water, and depending on which sea or ocean water you're swimming in, pollutants may also be present. Both chlorine and the salt with environmental pollutants may lead to contact dermatitis for your sensitive skin.
Rules of swimming are to rinse before entering a pool or sea water. Start by using a hypoallergenic natural sunscreen with active ingredients of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These two ingredients are recommended by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) as the most effective and least irritating sunblocks. Here is a scoop on what amount of SPF you should use: SPF 15 filters about 93 percent of all UVB rays. SPF 30 is 97 percent effective in keeping out sun's rays. SPF 50 keeps out 98 percent of rays. No matter the percent, none will protect you from 100 percent of rays. Dermatologists recommend SPF 30 should be sufficient since it will give you 97 percent protection from the sun's rays.
To get better protection, if possible keep your sunglasses and a visor on your head while swimming or basking in a pool or ocean.
After swimming, shower immediately. This removes the chlorine, other chemicals or sea water from your skin, instead of letting them causing damage. If you're finished swimming, for sensitive skin, it's best to use a mild soap-free cleanser for your skin type that's free of harsh detergents like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS).
Apply moisturizer to hydrate your skin within 3 minutes after washing, as recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology. Dermatologists recommend to not lay in the sun afterwards to air dry, which can lead to dryness. If you're not finished swimming, rinse, dry and reapply sunscreen. Never lay in the sun for extensive amounts of time unprotected. Use a hat, sunglasses and umbrella for outdoors in the sun. Skin cancer is no joking matter, and prevention is the key, specially for fair skin, although all skin types can be affected.
Swimmers Hair Care Tips
Just as pool and sea water can damage your skin, your hair can also be damaged. While swimming, hats and swimming caps are the best way to protect your hair. Adding a small amount of emu oil to your hair and combing it through before swimming, can help protect your hair and scalp from drying out. Your shampoo and conditioner should be free of harsh detergents. If your hair is already dry, brittle and your scalp dry, chlorine and salt in the water will only make it worse.
After swimming, wash your hair and add a small amount of emu oil to your conditioner. Emu oil has been noted as a great home remedy for dry scalp. Washing your hair after swimming will prevent chlorine and other chemical buildup. Rinse well after shampooing to remove all residue.
How Much Sunscreen Should You Use
Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure. Most people don't apply enough or often enough if they're out in the sun all day. For all day sun at the pool or beach, you need about one quarter of an 8 oz bottle. You should reapply every two hours. It's best to reapply right after swimming, drying off your body or if you're sweating a lot.