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Chlorine protects you from the harmful bacteria that can grow in swimming pools, but soaking in the stuff for too long takes its toll: The chemical strips skin of the natural oils in charge of keeping damage out and moisture in. Here's how you can avoid damage.
While it is true that most of the battle against chlorine happens after swimming, it starts right before you dive in. For starters, avoid the specially formulated pre-swim lotions. They may minimize chlorine damage, but some skin care products can interact with chlorine to create potentially carcinogenic byproducts. Plus, if you are swimming in an open pool pre-swim lotions can minimize the effect of your SPF —speaking of which: It's really important to apply 15 minutes before going into the pool!
What to do after swimming?
After swimming, you will definitely take a shower to remove chlorine from your skin. However, tap water has chlorine in it, too! This is why it is so important to moisturize after showering. Reach for a lotion with ceramides and alpha hydroxy acid to hydrate and help restore the pH balance of your skin, respectively. Most brands have at least one of these in their line. Moisturize every inch of your skin, taking extra care of the cuticles around the nails, as well as where the skin is thinnest and therefore most susceptible to chlorine damage (elbows, chest, shoulders, backs of your hands, and under the eyes).
If you want to minimize the impact of chlorine on your skin, the best you can do is go to the swimming pool with your healthiest skin possible. Your nails in particular become brittle when submerged too often in water, so try and wear gloves when you're doing the dishes. Don't use acetone nail polish remover too often, and apply a hydrating basecoat before a manicure, which creates a protective layer to keep your nails strong. At bedtime, make applying cuticle oil the last step before turning off the lights.
These are the best skincare products for swimmers
Dr. Sam's Flawless Cleanser
This fragrance-free cleanser suits everyone. Gentle but effective, it leaves skin nice and clean while respecting its barrier at the same time.
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
This non-comedogenic, fragrance-free and soap-free cleanser is gentle and it works wonders!
Eau Thermale Avene Xeracalm AD Oil
Parched skin will drink up this fragrance-free shower oil. It leaves limbs glowing.
Prestle & Mortar Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum
It boosts hydration levels and leaves skin springier. Chlorine will have nothing to do with your skin.
The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid Serum
This budget buy contains three different molecular weights of hyaluronic acid to reach the deeper layers of the skin.