Whether you're a swimmer, triathlete, or just enjoy getting in the pool, protecting your skin against the harmful effects of chlorine is important. What are some common practices and products that the swimming community is using to prevent chlorine effects on skin and hair? We take a look.
Is swimming in a pool bad for your skin?
Chlorine has drying effects on the skin and hair. The chlorine strips your skin of its natural oils and can make it feel dry and itchy and is also proven to discolour hair. If you have a pre-existing skin condition like eczema, the chlorinated water of a swimming pool can make the symptoms worse. The chlorine in swimming pool water also breaks down Vitamin E and fatty acids in your skin which makes fine lines and the effects of ageing appear worse. If you wear make-up to the swimming pool, it's very important to wash your face straight after as bacteria can sit on the skin.
How do I protect my skin and hair while swimming?
Before you buy any expensive products, it's important to consider that dry hair absorbs chlorine much faster and easier than wet hair. By wetting your hair in the shower before you get in the pool, you can reduce the harming effects of the chlorine. This is a really simple trick and should fit in with your swimming routine as most people shower before they get in the pool anyway.
It's also important to wash with soap or natural body wash as soon as you get out of the pool as the chlorine can bond to your skin. Moisturise your skin after your session to prevent your skin drying out too much and wash your hair with shampoo and conditioner to rid it of any lingering chemicals. Finally, purifying your skin from the inside by drinking plenty of water will also reduce the harmful effects.
Wearing a swim cap is not only practical for keeping your hair out of your face while you swim and keeping you streamlined but it will also protect your hair from the chlorine, especially coloured hair.
Which products should I use?
Try to find natural skin care products that won't do any further damage to your skin and will instead nourish and care for your skin.
Taking care of your sportswear is very important, especially if it has special active technology and was expensive to buy. Follow this guide so that you never ruin another pair of cycling shorts again!
Get A Mesh Laundry Bag
Especially when it comes to pro bib shorts, parts getting caught in the machine is definitely something you want to avoid. Putting your cycling gear in a mesh laundry bag will mean it won't get caught on the spindle, and it also means that the zip on your jersey won't cause any damage either. Always wash your cycling gear separately from your other laundry. If you don't have the time or means to get a mesh laundry bag, a pillow case does the job too.
Make sure you wash your Lycra gear on a cool setting of 30 degrees or below. Most machines will have a button where you can change the temperature. Also make sure the spin cycle isn't too aggressive and that it doesn't go on for too long. An extra rinse can help to make sure the material stays fresh, and an extra spin at the end will speed up the drying process. I recommend a temperature of 30 degrees, spin cycle of 1000, and duration of 30-40 minutes.
Never put your Lycra cycling gear in a dryer! Hang it up and let nature take its course. It shouldn't take too long to dry, and this will ensure it stays premium quality for as long as possible.