Can swimming in a chlorinated pool or a salty ocean hurt or help eczema skin? When my son was little I noticed his skin would improve in the summer months filled with swimming and sunscreen. Whether it was swimming in the ocean or a pool his skin seemed better. At the time, I didn’t do much research to find out why – I was just happy to have a reprieve. But I suspected the continued application of all the moisturizing sunscreen and the chlorine bleach in the pool might be part of the reason.
It turns out people with eczema can enjoy a swim at the pool or the ocean. Just relaxing awhile may be beneficial for skin because of less stress. Some people with eczema do report having less eczema on a vacation. But even if you have a day trip planned you can still take a swim. Just be sure you or your child doesn’t have any oozing open sores or infections as they can be irritated by the chemicals used in the pool and saltwater in the ocean. Here are a few tips we found to help make a day at the pool or beach a success.
- It’s recommended to apply a sunscreen made for people with eczema and sensitive skin. This can be the first step in minimizing a reaction and preventing sunburn.
- For children and adults it can be helpful to wear long sleeve sun shirts and for babies there are full bathing suits to help protect skin from sand and sun.
- Immediately after swimming rinse with fresh water. If you’re at the beach look for a location near a public shower to rinse off.
- If you plan to soak up some sun reapply sunscreen immediately after rinsing with fresh water.
- When you’re done for the day shower with a gentle cleanser and immediately apply an emollient to skin to seal in moisture.
- Don’t forget to bring lightweight breathable clothing such as a long sleeve caftan or cover up and a couple of soft towels, and chairs to relax on. It could be irritating to sit on sand or the rough side of the pool with sensitive skin.
- Have fun!
National Eczema Association https://nationaleczema.org/eczema-fact-vs-eczema-fiction/
American Academy of Dermatology https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/eczema/eczema-resource-center/triggers/swimming-pool