rosacea + swimming
September 19, 2008 8:38 AM   Subscribe

I have rosacea which is kept in check with daily applications of MetroGel (metronidazole). I also like swimming as exercise. The problem is that swimming in a chlorinated pool leaves my nose area bright red, almost like a chemical burn. It takes at least 2 weeks of extra care on my part to reduce this redness. What are some things I can do to protect my face when swimming? Or will I have to give up swimming altogether? (Note that other types of exertion, such as jogging or cycling, do not result in this type of redness)
posted by needled to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe you can put a coat of Vaseline or something on your face before you swim? You'll look kind of shiny walking out of the locker room, but as soon as you're in the water it won't be noticeable. And you might swim faster!

OTOH, I remember the day after '50s night at summer camp there was a greasy film on the pool from all the guys who'd used Vaseline on their hair...
posted by bink at 9:00 AM on September 19, 2008

Try to find a pool that uses the UV method instead of chlorine. It is becoming more popular, even some Ys have it now.
posted by sulaine at 9:11 AM on September 19, 2008

Agreeing with Sulaine- also, there are some saltwater pools out there that use no chlorine; that might be worth the trek.
posted by jenkinsEar at 9:14 AM on September 19, 2008

Ask your dermatologist. But I bet Vaseline would work.
posted by Penelope at 9:31 AM on September 19, 2008

So far the responses of 2 dermatologists I have seen have been to "avoid exercise."
posted by needled at 9:43 AM on September 19, 2008

I do not have the answer myself, but there is a cosmetic dermatologist, Dr. Leslie Baumann, who answers questions about skin care for the Miami Herald - here. Perhaps you could write in and ask? Long shot, I know, but her book The Skin Type Solution was recommended on another ask.mefi question here about skin care, and it's been very helpful to me so far, so I thought I'd try and pay it forward.
posted by bettafish at 10:08 AM on September 19, 2008

You might try desitin (diaper rash ointment) OR, because that smells, some other kind of Titanium Dioxide based ointment/sunscreen. Linda Sy sells one that I have used. You will look funny, because it is white (although she has a tinted one too) and I don't know how well it will stay on in water, but it is a good thick barrier and you might find it soothing to your skin.
posted by MsElaineous at 10:29 AM on September 19, 2008

My totally, completely, IANAD thought is that maybe the MetroGel is exacerbating the reaction to chlorine? Did you swim in pools prior to starting the MetroGel and if so, did you get such a bad reaction?
posted by desuetude at 10:29 AM on September 19, 2008

My current daily regime of MetroGel came about because after I started swimming on a regular basis, the rosacea flared up alarmingly. Around the time I took up swimming I had not been on any kind of medication for several months, as prior treatment with both oral and topical antibiotics had controlled my rosacea significantly.
posted by needled at 12:17 PM on September 19, 2008

Well, there goes that theory. Sorry. Carry on.
posted by desuetude at 12:41 PM on September 19, 2008

What about using the oral antibacterial Soldoyne or something like it? That's what I use. That way, the rosacea would be under control internally and there should be no infected area for the chlorine to irritate.
posted by spicynuts at 12:51 PM on September 19, 2008

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