Image used for representational purposes only
Image used for representational purposes only

Protecting young swimmers: Tips to prevent skin issues this swimming season

Here are some special tips and tricks for young swimmers and their parents so that they can enjoy their pool time without skin troubles.

Swimming season is finally here, and your children would want to jump into that nice, cold chlorinated pool—except that it can be harsh on their delicate skin.

Here are some special tips and tricks for young swimmers and their parents so that they can enjoy their pool time without skin troubles.

Swimmer’s itch: It is an allergic reaction caused by tiny larvae from freshwater flatworms called schistosomes. These larvae can burrow into the skin when swimming in infested waters, leading to itchy red bumps. While these bumps typically resolve on their own within a few days, it is best to avoid swimming in affected areas. To soothe the itchiness and reduce inflammation, use cold packs on the affected areas. Antihistamines can also help alleviate the allergic reaction.

Green Hair: Have you ever noticed swimmers with green hair? It’s a common occurrence, especially for those with lighter hair. The culprit behind this colourful transformation is chlorine, which reacts with minerals like copper to turn your hair green. Use a swimmer’s shampoo specifically designed to remove chlorine and mineral buildup. If you prefer a do-it-yourself approach, grab some tomato juice, white vinegar, or lemon juice after swimming. Pour about half a cup onto your child’s hair and give it a thorough comb.

Swimmer’s xerosis or dry skin: When we swim, the natural protective oils in our skin, known as sebum, get diluted and washed away. As a result, the outermost layer of the skin loses its moisture, leaving us with a parched, scaly, and itchy sensation. Long, hot showers after swimming can worsen dry skin by further depleting moisture. To keep your child’s skin happy and hydrated, keep those showers short and lukewarm, and apply ample moisturiser after every swimming session.

Rashes: Chlorine, sunscreen, swimsuits, and pool water can cause irritating rashes. The good news is that they can be easily cleared up. To prevent them, always take a lukewarm shower after swimming and hand wash your child’s swimsuit regularly to avoid bacteria buildup. Apply a fragrance-free protective lotion before getting into the water, and consider using a rash guard to minimise skin contact with pool chemicals.

Pre-swimming care

Check pool hygiene: For a safer swimming experience, consider opting for indoor pools, especially during the peak afternoon hours between 11:30 AM and 1:30 PM, to avoid harsh sun rays. Additionally, it is essential to choose a pool that maintains good hygiene.

Dress smart for the pool: When dressing smart for the pool, prioritise loose-fitting clothes. Select swimming suits crafted from polyester for better defense against pool chlorine, avoiding nylon and spandex.

Nourish the skin: Begin by applying a thick moisturiser all over their body to maintain hydration and protection. Opt for natural options like jojoba oil, Vitamin E-enriched coconut oil, or baby oils with shea butter.

Follow up with a generous application of gel-based, waterproof, broad-spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen to shield their skin from harmful UV rays. Remember to reapply regularly. Encourage your child to take a quick shower before entering the pool to cleanse their skin of impurities .

Post-swimming care

After swimming, indulge your child in a warm, soothing bath, using a gentle moisturising soap to cleanse away chlorine residue. Pay attention to their scalp and hair, treating them with a nourishing shampoo for thorough care.

Following the bath, replenish moisture by generously applying natural oils like almond or coconut to their skin, leaving behind a delightful scent and ensuring hydration. These tips are beneficial for adults too. Taking these preventive measures can ensure a worry-free swimming experience.

Anti Skin Allergy Specialist & Consultant Dermatologist at Max Hospital Saket, Delhi

The New Indian Express