Skin issues due to swimming
July 27, 2008 5:51 PM   Subscribe

I am swimming for the first time in a swimming pool. I am facing 2 problems:- 1) My skin is itchy. 2) My skin color changes, i think due to water in the swimming pool. (due to chlorine ?). Is there any way i can prevent/minimize the above. I also use sunscreen.(walgreens zinc oxide version). Could 1 & 2 be due to sunscreen ?
posted by tom123 to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I grew up with a chlorinated swimming pool in my back yard and my skin would get itchy sometimes too because it got dry. Your skin may be itchy because the chlorine dried it out.

Skin colour changes, however, I haven't experienced. What color is it changing to?
posted by gwenlister at 6:09 PM on July 27, 2008

Light colored hair often gets tinted green from (I think) the chloramines; are you particularly light skinned and turning slightly green?

Itchy- does it itch while you're in the pool, or after? If it's while you're in the pool, can you check to see that the pool's chlorine levels aren't above normal?

If it's afterwards, make sure you always take a thorough shower right after being in the pool, and put on some lotion after you towel off; chlorine can really dry your skin out. It can make your nails peel something awful too so watch for that (clear nail polish helps mitigate that effect if you discover it).
posted by nat at 6:14 PM on July 27, 2008

Does the pool have a shower in the changing room? You could try showering after you swim, to remove chlorine or anything else that might be irritating your skin.
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:15 PM on July 27, 2008

how does your skin color change? i have never heard of that. the itch can be alleviated by showering right after with a moisturizing soap.
posted by thinkingwoman at 6:16 PM on July 27, 2008

I take shower after swimming.

It itches after being in the pool. (for a few days and still continues...)

I am not very fair skinned. Skin color changes from brown to black.
posted by tom123 at 6:31 PM on July 27, 2008

I also apply mosturizer after shower. But itching persists.
posted by tom123 at 6:32 PM on July 27, 2008

Is it possible that you are simply getting more sun by swimming than you are used to? There are medications out there that make people very susceptible to the sun, and from your previous questions I wonder if you may be taking something that may be causing the skin color changes.
posted by thebrokedown at 6:40 PM on July 27, 2008

What is the pool treated with? Bromine or Chlorine? I have read here and elsewhere that Bromine can cause skin reactions.

Skin irritation in users of brominated pools.
posted by LoriFLA at 6:41 PM on July 27, 2008

I do not know whether it is bromine or chlorine. But i guess it is chlorine.
posted by tom123 at 6:45 PM on July 27, 2008

Tom, I just sent you a MeFi Mail. I'm not an expert but the fact that your skin color is changing to black, I'm betting it is bromine.
posted by LoriFLA at 6:49 PM on July 27, 2008

Supposedly skin and hair can only absorb so much water so if you rinse thoroughly before getting in the pool you will get less chlorine in your hair. This never worked for me so my solution was to find a place with an ozone filter on their pool that did not chlorinate. They are so nice if you can find one nearby.
posted by fshgrl at 7:20 PM on July 27, 2008

This may not be an option, but can you find a pool that uses salt water instead of chlorinated water? I always hated the way I felt after swimming in a chlorinated pool, but salt water pools are fantastic.
posted by radioamy at 8:57 PM on July 27, 2008

Let me correct a few answers above. (IANYPG but I am a PCG) (i am not your pool guy, but I a swimming pool chemical guy)

green tinges to hair / skin are caused by copper residual in the water. Either intentionally placed in there from a copper based algaecide, or more likely a consistently low pH (acid) that has leeched copper from a copper source such as a heat exchanger in a pool heater. To remove green tinge, try washing your hair with beer, otherwise it will fade. Avoid that pool until the chemistry is corrected. The copper will prevent algea from forming, but does not sanitise the pool. (i.e. bacteria not being killed).

A salt pool is STILL a chlorine pool! there is a salt "bank" that electrodes creates the same form of chlorine that you would be putting in otherwise. It is the industry marketing tactic to make people think that salt pool doesn't have chlorine. (Salt is NaCl right... guess what Cl is :)

Bromine is a premium chemical, typically marketed as not as harsh as chlorine. Simply, when bromine is "used up" by oxidising bad stuff, it is not as irritating to people, as the equivalent form for chlorine (chloramines.) - You know that chlorine smell you smell in a pool... if you smell chlorine in a pool, you are actually smelling a dirty pool that has no chlorine available to oxidise further.

The reason for showering prior to getting into a pool is to wash the person, to prevent the person from bringing contanimants into the pool, and "using" up the sanitiser (ozone/bromine/chlroine unncessarily). (wash dirth, skin, oil, fecal off of you before using the pool (communal bath). Most public pools in North America have health codes that "require" a shower before hand...

To answer your question, I strongly suspect your skin color change is a result of poor water quality & interaction with the sunblock. Skin changing black is not a norml thing in swimming pools, can't say I have heard of that before. (I would have tens of thousands of swimming pools covered by our dealers, and strange things like this would filter to me). Try a different sun block.

The drying effect is probably enhanced by poor water chemistry, but may just be you. Water drys skin by removing body oils. The suggestion to briefly rinse afterwards is also good.

If it is your pool, have it checked at a reputable pool shop. If it is someone elses residential pool, have them get water checked & balanced properly, if it is a commercial pool - swim somewhere else.

Sorry to ramble
posted by dripped at 12:39 AM on July 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

What dripped said above, along w/ comments wondering if you're getting more sun than you were previously, and a brief mention that you may want to get checked out for allergies, just in case you've having an atypical allergic reaction.
posted by batmonkey at 1:36 PM on July 28, 2008

thanks to everyone who responded.

It is not something very speciific to me. My friends also get it. They said, it is
due to water.

It should be disappear after 3-4 weeks , is what they said. (i.e skin coming
back to normal color)
posted by tom123 at 12:51 PM on July 31, 2008

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