Swimming is a good way to beat the heat but do you know that pool water contains a generous amount of chlorine, bromine, salt and other chemicals? These are added to the water to keep it clean and free of disease-causing bacteria, but can spell doom for your eyes, skin and hair, rob you off of natural oils present in skin and hair, and harm your eyes.
“One must not step into the pool wearing contact lenses as it can damage these lenses,” says Dr Tandava Krishnan, Sr Consultant, Maxivision Super Speciality Eye Hospital. “It also causes infective organisms to adhere to the lens or to the cornea (black part of the eye) which can result in severe irritation and even a serious infection of the cornea called as infective keratitis,” he adds. Lack of proper care can cause your skin to dry, develop rashes, eczema or even sinusitis problems, while the hair can become dull and listless.
So what do you do to keep yourself safe while still enjoying the swim?
Here are some tips to protect yourself from the perils of chlorine.
Before you step into the pool, apply sunscreen lotion liberally on your body and take a shower. This will slow down the absorption of chlorine on your skin.
To protect your hair, apply coconut oil/baby oil/olive oil and rinse your hair with water before stepping into the pool as it will help reduce soaking of chlorine by the hair from the pool water. Chlorine has a huge tendency to bond with skin and hair. So, take shower after a swim and wash your hair with chlorine neutraliser shampoos, easily available in the market. Also, use a vitamin C spray or lotion on your hair and body to remove excess chlorine that sticks to your body.
It is important to apply moisturisers or body butter after a swim as being underwater for long periods can make you look shrivelled. Your skin can also become really dry. You can even use coconut oil or any baby oil to massage your skin. Chlorine in combination with the summer sun can lead to a harsh tan. A good way to remove this tan is to rub a fresh tomato on your skin.
Swimming is no protection against dehydration. To keep yourself well-hydrated, drink lots of water/coconut water/buttermilk/fruit juices. It is a good idea to begin drinking herbal teas as these are rich in anti-oxidants needed to prevent oxidative damage of your skin. Moringa (drumstick tree) tea and green tea are two great options to choose from.
Chlorine can wash away the protective film of tear from our eyes resulting in irritation, redness and watering of eyes. Chlorine by itself may be a source of irritation to the eyes. Cover your eyes with goggles to protect them in the pool. Also, wash eyes with water after stepping out. Using lubricating eye drops to prevent dryness of eyes is also a good idea.