How to Reduce Chlorine Exposure & Prolong the Life of Your Swimwear!

A few of the simple tricks to minimise chlorine exposure when swimming and prolong the life of your swimwear!

I am all too familiar with chlorine.

One of my early jobs was as a swim teacher at a local swimming centre. I would spend hours in the pool teaching little ones to swim, and by the end I would emerge covered in chlorine water, but still manage to have skin as dry as the Sahara desert… go figure.

Plus, no matter what I tried, I just couldn’t get the smell of chlorine out of my hair.

To counteract the issue of dry skin, I would constantly have to moisturise to keep the flaky, dry skin at bay.

According to NBC News;

Swimming in a chlorinated pool may increase your risk of developing cancer, suggest a new suite of studies, which identified more than 100 chemical by-products in pools that use chlorine as a disinfectant.

But the impacts of chlorine don’t just affect people who swim in pools. There is a gas emitted by chlorine known as chloramine, and you may have smelled this before when in any indoor pool areas.

Chloramines can irritate mucous membranes, cause eye stinging and red eyes, and irritate the respiratory system.

Waste and chemicals like sunscreen, sweat, skin oils, and even urine mix with chlorine to create chloramines. You’ll know chloramines are in the air if you smell that strong chlorine scent wafting around. This gas can cause symptoms like coughing, sinus irritation and even asthmatic reactions.

How to Reduce Chlorine Exposure

You can choose not to swim in chlorinated pools and to filter your tap water, but this takes a lot of the fun out of going to the pool. So, here are some easy things you can do to minimise chlorine exposure while swimming:

  1. Rinse before you swim. Wetting skin and hair before entering the pool can help to reduce the amount of chlorine your skin and hair absorb. Plus, rinsing your body helps remove dead skin cells, sweat, lotions, shampoos, and sunscreens which can all contribute to the creation of toxic by-products (like chloramines).
  2. Create a protective barrier over skin. Using a natural oil (i.e. avocado, almond, jojoba, argan, or coconut oil) or a homemade moisturiser with added vitamin C to form a protective barrier over skin can help reduce chlorine exposure. Now, some pools may not allow patrons to swim with cream on their skin, so just double-check the pools rules if using a public pool.
  3.  Apple a vitamin C solution to skin, hair and swimwear. Studies have found that vitamin C can help to neutralise chlorine in water. Taking vitamin C (ascorbic acid) internally as well as applying it onto the skin, may help reduce a lot of chlorine exposure.

DIY Chlorine-Neutralising Swim Cream

A natural moisturiser to protect skin from chlorine exposure.

Ingredients:

 To make:

  1. Place the oils and beeswax into a large bowl placed over a pot of boiling water. Allow the beeswax to melt, stirring continuously throughout to combine with the oils.
  2. In another bowl, combine the water and vitamin C powder together, stirring until dissolved.
  3. Once the beeswax has completely melted, grab an immersion blender and start to blend the mixture together, slowly adding the vitamin C solution as you do so. Continue blending until completely incorporated.
  4. Store cream in an air-tight glass jar. Use within 6 months.

To use:

  1. Apply to body as you would a regular moisturiser before swimming (ideally after rinsing skin) to help minimise chlorine exposure.

As a post-swim option, you can apply an after-swim chlorine-neutralising spray!

DIY After-Swim Chlorine-Neutralising Spray

After a quick rinse under the shower, apply this spray to hair, skin and swimwear to neutralise chlorine.

An all-natural vitamin C solution to help neutralise chlorine after swimming.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tsp vitamin C powder (ascorbic acid)

To make:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the water and vitamin C powder together, stirring until dissolved.
  2. Pour into an amber glass spray bottle and apply to whole body after a quick rinse under the shower you’re done swimming. Use within 24 hours.

There are also some all-natural DIY Chlorine-Blasting Bath Bombs you can make for the tub.

How to Prolong the Life of Swimmers

When I arrive home, I throw my swimmers into a bucket and fill with cold water. I then add 2 tsp of vitamin C powder (ascorbic acid) and mix through to dissolve. From there, I pour the entire contents of the bucket into the washing machine (water, swimsuit, and all), and add my all-natural laundry liquid in, then run the washer on the delicate cycle. Once finished, I hang my swimmers up to dry.

This just helps to slow the breakdown of my swimmers.

As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor before trying or using any new products. It’s important to check with a doctor before taking this or any new product, especially if taking any other medicine or supplement or if pregnant or nursing. Be sure to check ingredients to make sure there is no risk of an allergic reaction.

What do you do to prevent chlorine exposure? Do you have some other natural tips to help? Share in the comments below.

Lots of love,

🖤 Vanessa

Sources:

Wells, Katie. (March 16, 2019). How to Minimize Chlorine Exposure When Swimming. Wellness Mama. Retrieved from https://wellnessmama.com/10658/minimize-swimming-chlorine-exposure/

Urbansky, E T; Freeman, D M; Rubio, F J. (June 2, 2000). Ascorbic acid reduction of residual active chlorine in potable water prior to halocarboxylate determination. Pub Med. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11256708/

5 Tips to Reduce Chlorine Exposure in Pools. (August 11, 2014). Adya. Retrieved from https://adyawater.com/blogs/adya-news-1/15069621-5-tips-to-reduce-chlorine-exposure-in-pools

McDaniel, Claire. (August 24, 2017). 4 Ways to reduce your pool chlorine exposure. Clear Comfort. Retrieved from https://clearcomfort.com/4-ways-to-reduce-your-pool-chlorine-exposure/

Sohn, Emily. (September 21, 2010). Chlorinated Pools May Increase Cancer Risk. NBC News. Retrieved from http://www.nbcnews.com/id/39139307/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/chlorinated-pools-may-increase-cancer-risk/#.XJl52pgzZPY

Land, Brenda. Using Vitamin C To Neutralize Chlorine in Water Systems. Recreation Management Tech Tips. Retrieved from https://www.fs.fed.us/t-d/pubs/html/05231301/05231301.html

Bren. Chlorine Itch and Swimming Pools: 5 Ways to Naturally Protect Swimmers. Bren Did. Retrieved from https://brendid.com/chlorine-pools-5-ways-naturally-protect-swimmers/

O’Mara, Kelly. (December 29, 2019). How Can I Get Chlorine Out of My Suit and Off My Body?. U.S. Masters Swimming. Retrieved from https://www.usms.org/fitness-and-training/articles-and-videos/articles/how-can-i-get-chlorine-out-of-my-suit-and-off-my-body

Adrienne. (Updated: July 23, 2021). DIY After Swim Chlorine Neutralizing Spray {and Why You Need It}. Whole New Mom. Retrieved from https://wholenewmom.com/diy-after-swim-spray-neutralize-chlorine/

Gianni, Annmarie. (Updated: August 9, 2021). How to Protect Skin & Hair From Chlorine in a Swimming Pool. Annmarie. Retrieved from https://www.annmariegianni.com/9-ways-shield-skin-hair-chlorine-damage/

Muttucumaru, Ayesha. (January 21, 2019). How to Look After Your Skin if You’re a Swimmer. Get the Gloss. Retrieved from https://www.getthegloss.com/article/the-best-skincare-for-swimmers

Phelan, Una. (May 30, 2018). How to Reduce Swimming Pool Chlorine Side Effects on the Skin. Econscious Living. Retrieved from https://www.econsciousliving.com/reduce-swimming-pool-chlorine-side-effects/