Do you love going to the pool but worry about absorbing chlorine through your skin? Do you end up with itchy, irritated skin or dry, brittle hair after a fun day in the pool?
Do you cringe at the thought of how much chlorine your child’s body is absorbing during swim lessons? Or how much vaporized chlorine you’re inhaling while simply sitting on the sidelines watching your kiddo in the pool?
I know I do! 🙋🏻♀️.
While chlorine in public pools is necessary to keep us all safe from germs that can make us sick, the skin irritation and health impact of absorbing it are valid concerns.
What’s The Problem With Chlorine?
The problem is not the chlorine itself, but rather the slew of by-products (such as trihalomethanes and haloaceticacids) that it forms after reacting with organic debris that makes it’s way into the pool (think lotions, dead skin, sweat and other bodily fluids – yuck!). Those harmful DBPs (disinfection by-products) can then be swallowed, absorbed through skin, or inhaled. Chlorine exposure has been linked to certain cancers as well as increased asthma and allergy symptoms.
So What’s A Health-Conscious Parent Or Pool Lover To Do?
You can still enjoy the pool and/or put your kids in swim lessons, you’ve just gotta take a couple of steps to get rid of the chlorine both on and in your (or your kid’s) body afterwards:
- Don’t pee in the pool! And shower before getting in to remove any lotions, dead skin, sweat, and body oils. The less debris you bring in to the pool for the chlorine to react with, the better for everyone.
- Spray a vitamin C-based spray such as C-Spray or Swim Spray all over after getting out of the pool, then shower as usual. You can use it on your swimsuit too to prevent fading. I’ve been using C-Spray on both myself and my daughter the last few months after getting out of the pool and it has worked like a charm – no more itchy skin, dry hair or lingering chlorine smell.
- Take an antioxidant supplement like vitamin C or glutathione before swimming to help your body neutralize any chlorine that does make it’s way into your bloodstream. This is even more important if you are in indoor pools as you are more likely to inhale vaporized chlorine molecules. Vitamin C can be safely given to children as well (follow the directions on the bottle or ask your doctor or nutritionist for dosage information). I prefer the liposomal versions of these supplements as they have higher absorption rates.
Implementing these steps has given me peace of mind while still being able to have some summer fun in the pool.
What If You Have Your Own Indoor or Outdoor Pool?
If you have your own pool, you presumably have more exposure to chlorine than the average person.
However, since you own the pool you can choose whether or not to chlorinate it. Obviously not sanitizing it at all is not a good option because, well, gross 🤢.
You can, however, look into alternative sanitizing systems that either replace or greatly reduce chlorine, such as saltwater, UV filters, ozone, or a mineral system. While some of these methods still require a little chlorine, they significantly reduce your exposure to chlorine by-products compared to a regular pool so they’re definitely worth it.
Article written by Kiran Sidhu, Holistic Nutritionist. To schedule a 1-1 nutrition consultation with Kiran, select “book an appointment” from the menu bar and choose the service that best fits your nutrition counselling needs.
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