Do you ever wonder if swimming affects your skin? As someone who likes to swim from time to time, I often wonder if my skin changes from swimming. Well, I looked into it so you don’t have to.
Is swimming bad for your skin? The answer is yes and no, swimming is bad but only when you swim in pools. Swimming in the open sea has its benefits for your skin. Meanwhile, swimming in freshwater, well, it’s as beneficial as swimming gets.
Even then, you should hear me out first before you decide to avoid pools altogether. What if I told you there’s a way to still swim in pools and have great skin?
Is swimming in the sea bad for your skin?
Before that, let’s first talk about the sea and why you should go to the beach more often.
If you’ve gone swimming at the beach before, have you noticed that after a while, your skin feels smooth and brand new? What happens is the salt particles in the water rub against your skin. This scrubs away the topmost layer of your skin where the dead skin cells are and opens up your pores.
This process is called exfoliation and through this, you are allowing new cells to grow, making your skin glow. You don’t come across natural ways of exfoliation often, so you should take advantage of this as much as you can.
Did you know? Sea water is rich in minerals and nutrients that are especially good for dry skin. Magnesium, Potassium, Calcium, Selenium, Sodium, and Sulphur. These minerals together aggravate dry skin and other conditions like psoriasis and eczema.
Acne Reduction and pH Restoration
While the saltwater opens your pores, the minerals present in the water start absorbing the bacteria from your skin including those causing acne breakouts.
Redness and irritation from acne breakouts are never pleasant. Allowing your pores to open up helps calm irritations and also reduces redness—this is especially effective for acne-prone skin.
But wait! That’s not all, salt water absorbs excess oil from your skin which helps you balance your skin’s pH level. If you weren’t aware, your skin’s pH (potential hydrogen) level helps you combat acne growth and formation.
According to a 2006 study cited by Cherney (2022), the optimal skin pH level is below 5; a little acidic but only right since this breaks down microbes and harmful free radicals which cause acne and speeds up aging.
Balancing the pH level is often challenging so a quick trip to the beach will be a plus.
Skin Hydration and Balance.
With the excess oils gone and your pores open, the magnesium from the salt water maintains your skin’s moisture barrier helping your skin keep hydrated.
So if you’re worried about dehydrating your skin, don’t stay too long in the water. You should only swim in the sea for about 15 minutes at a time—more than that and the water might absorb too many natural oils from your skin, dehydrating it.
The key to unlocking these benefits is applying moisturizer every after your after-swim rinse. When you apply moisturizer on your newly opened nutrient-filled pores, it gets easily absorbed by your skin and leaves it feeling smooth and glowing.
I recommend the Mantisfy Edelweiss and Salicornia Lotion when it comes to moisturizers. It’s non-greasy, making it easily absorbed by the skin and it acts as a moisturizer that lasts all day and suits all skin types. It also has anti-aging effects and leaves your skin glowing.
The Edelweiss repairs your skin cells leaving your skin smooth and silky while the Salicornia improves your skin’s hydration all day long keeping you looking fresh and glowing. Although it’s a little expensive, the quality is up to par and worth the price.
Is swimming in the pool bad for your skin?
Is pool water good for your skin? Pool water is especially dangerous when the chemicals added to the water aren’t properly balanced. Depending on your skin type and condition, the effects can go from irritating to extremely harmful.
Chlorine, although useful for disinfecting and making sure the pool is clean, is harmful to your skin.
The Effects of Chlorine on the Skin
Is chlorine bad for your skin and hair? When chlorine is added to water, it reacts and forms hypochlorous acid, killing pathogens by breaking down their cells.
Hypochlorous acid is a natural irritant to the skin and the longer it stays in contact with your skin, the more it absorbs your skin’s natural oils leaving your skin dry, itchy, and irritated.
The same is true for your hair, after getting stripped of its natural oils, the chlorine irritates the scalp and skin causing the hair strands to crack and split.
It’s even worse when you have pre-existing skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, or dermatitis. The acid can escalate your condition, increasing inflammation of your skin, which in turn, also escalates the pain, dryness, redness, itchiness, scaling, or rashing already on your skin.
There’s also a gas byproduct formed from the chlorine-water reaction. If the pool isn’t well-ventilated, the gas could build up and upon contact with your skin, can leave you with burns, blisters, and hives.
After a while, the broken-down compounds start reacting with the hypochlorous acid forming chloramines.
Chloramines are the worst part of the entire process. They smell bad and hinder the chlorination process allowing the pool to build up pathogens and microbes again. When the chloramine attaches to your skin, it becomes a rash that inflames and can lead to blisters or hives.
Despite that, we all understand why chlorine is a must when cleaning the pool. It’s what makes the water clear and free from any organic matter or living microbe including organic waste products, which could cause infections or illnesses if accumulated.
It’s ironic but it’s our best choice if we want pools to continue existing. However, all is not lost. With the proper skincare routine, you can keep swimming in chlorinated pools and maintain your healthy glowing skin. Beside, we also have an in-depth skincare routine for men here.
Before and After Swimming Skincare Routine
Step 1: Apply moisturizer (really lay it on thick!)
Before swimming, especially for those with dry skin, you can apply a coat of thick moisturizer to block off the chlorine and hydrate your skin. I recommend using moisturizers with dimethicone, glycerin, oils, or petrolatum for maximum effect.
Step 2: Apply sunscreen lotion (SPF 30 or above)
The most important part of a proper skincare routine for swimming is SPF—50 is your best bet but 30 is enough. Get a sunscreen lotion and slather it on 20 minutes before you jump in the pool.
Step 3: Apply a leave-in conditioner or natural oils on your hair
Don’t forget to prep your hair for the swim. You can either wet your hair with clean water and apply a leave-in conditioner to serve as a barrier against the chlorine or massage natural oils into your hair to keep it hydrated.
Step 4: Shower and throw in some cleanser
After swimming, the first thing you should do is a shower to wash off as much of the chlorine as possible. Clarifying shampoo helps balance out the pH level of your scalp so use that before applying the leave-in conditioner to seal off the roots.
Using a mild cleanser to top it off will help reduce the likelihood of the chlorine staying on your skin and causing damage.
For cleansers, I recommend the Mantisfy Facial Cleanser and Shaving Mousse. It contains Edelweiss as its key ingredient which not only balances facial oils but also has an antibacterial effect, helping reduce acne in the long term and giving your skin a refreshing feeling.
The quality of the ingredients used in the cleanser makes it worth every penny. It’s part of my daily skincare routine now and it’s quite effective.
Step 5: Apply moisturizer (keep it coming!)
After washing off the chlorine, once again, apply a thick layer of moisturizer, making sure not to miss a spot, especially on the areas where the skin is thinner.
Step 6: Apply sunscreen lotion (don’t forget your face)
Finally, the cherry on top, slather some SPF again. This may seem like a lot of steps, but trust me, it’s worth it in the long run. You’ll leave your swimming sessions feeling extra refreshed.
If you’re thinking of hitting the beach, you should. Not only is it good exercise but also good exfoliation and skin care. It’s one of my go-to ways of refreshing and keeping my skin healthy while staying active.
If you’re looking for something more convenient, a pool is also great as long as you follow the proper skincare routine. With the proper tools, you can prevent skin damage and even have your skin feeling smooth and positively glowing.