Are you unaware?
Put this away in the back of your mind and think of it each and every time you head to the Ocean or the pool. We all love escaping to the coast to soak up the Sun’s rays and dip in the Sea. If not the Ocean, then most of us certainly enjoy a cool refreshing dip in the pool on a hot Highveld afternoon.
There is no harm in refreshing yourself, and this article is certainly not about scaring you into remaining indoors. But it does provide a beautiful little insight into how salt water and chlorine can damage your skin, increase your visible age and scupper all of your anti-ageing regimes. The joy is that precautions are easy to take and when know them you can cool off and stay skin safe.
The salt is a natural antiseptic. You can gargle with warm saltwater to help disinfect sore throats or use it to clean wounds when nothing better is available. The same could be said for the effect it has on the skin.
That is, however, until you leave it on for too long without combating the natural side effects it will naturally have.
Salt absorbs water. We can save the chemistry lesson another day. Ultimately if left on the skin for too long salt hastens skin dehydration. Dehydration is your skin’s worst enemy. Dry skin simply means a fragile skin structure that hastens ageing by destroying collagen, elastin and fibroblasts – a dehydrated skin is weak and susceptible skin to visible ageing. Hence we avoid it at all costs.
Immediate signs that your skin has had enough salt include:
- Dry and itchy skin
- Dry salt visible on your skin
- Incredible thirst
Salt water does have its benefits on the skin, but unfortunately chlorine has none. In fact twice as many people report skin problems from chlorine than from salt.
Chlorine will affect your skin’s hydration, pH levels and the harmful chemicals will actually damage your skin’s protective outmost layers making your visible age more at risk to free radical damage. This essentially means irritated skin, more susceptible to Sun damage, environmental damage and dehydration.
Common skin conditions caused by chlorine include:
- Irritated skin
It’s not all doom and gloom, as I already mentioned this article is a warning toward the dangers of excess pool or Ocean time, but the solutions are simple and easy to follow.
Here are my top tips:
- Maintain chlorine in your pool at appropriate levels, and avoid pH levels exceeding 1.0 – 3.0 ppm or pH: 7.2 -7.8.
- Grab a quick shower (preferably with anti-bacterial soap) before and after your swim. A quick pre-swim shower eliminates sweat that chlorine loves to harmfully react with.
- Apart from sunblock (make sure to reapply), also apply to your skin coconut or vitamin C oils and creams. They can help protect you against skin dehydration or horrible chemical effects.
- Apply additional body and face moisturizers following any swim. Make sure to do this after your post swim shower.
- Lastly, drink lots of water before and after your swim – this is a permanent solution to year-round plum and healthy skin.
Many of us do not follow any of these steps, and are unaware of the skin damage we are causing ourselves. In that case, adding just a single step will minimize skin ageing caused by chlorine or salt water exposure, but of course, the more steps you follow the better.
If you have any questions about a specific skin worry or anti-ageing regime, simply make an appointment at my practice. I pride myself on offering natural and individual treatments unique to your skin type, desired result and problem area.