Summertime means hot and humid weather. Everyone wants to cool it down by splashing in cold waters. Whether you’re a pro swimmer, just learning to swim or you want to go hang out with your friends in water parks to fight off the scorching sun rays, you should always remember to take care of your skin even in water. Here are some tips and guidelines for you to take proper care of your skin Pre and Post swimming.
Pre Swimming Skin Care Tips
1. Take A Bath Before Going Into The Water
You must be thinking “Why should I take a bath if I’m already going to be in water?”. Well to simply answer your question: Because of chlorine. As you know, chlorine is often used in pool waters even sometimes in drinking water to act as disinfectant. But it does not mean it is not harmful for your skin, as the amount used in swimming pools is way more than in drinking water and harsher chemicals are used to keep the swimming water clean and safe. So you should take a bath before entering the pool since your skin will soak up clean water and not the harsh chlorine water and get damaged.
Use of Chlorine in swimming pools:- Chlorine is a naturally occurring chemical used in swimming pools. It mixes well with water to form a weak acid called hypochlrous acid that can kill bacteria like salmonella and E.coli, germs and also viruses. Pools are often disinfected using a variety of compounds including chlorine gas, liquid bleach, calcium hypochlorite and lithium hypochlorite’s.
2. Hair Care
Before going into the chlorine filled water, you should definitely wet your hair as much as possible or apply a layer of hair oil to line your hair. Doing so can help prevent any hair damage that can occur in the harsh chemical filled pool water or any large body of water in general. If you want to avoid wetting your hair, a simple swimmer’s cap can do the trick.
3. Drink Water Before Swimming
A body hydrated from the inside will also stay hydrated from the outside. So, drinking water before swimming can help your skin stay hydrated for a longer amount of time.
4. Apply Sunscreen
Going in water does not mean your skin is free from being damaged by sunrays or UV rays. So applying a thick layer of sunscreen (preferably SPF 50 or higher) can prevent UV rays from entering your epidermal layer.
Ultra Violet Rays And Skin-Care
UV rays can be categorized into UVA, UVB AND UVC Rays. UVC is stopped by Earth’s atmospheric layer before it even can touch your skin.
UVA Rays: These rays can travel deep into the thickest layers of the skin ( also known as the dermis layer), and can cause wrinkles and aging.
UVB Rays: These rays have shorter wavelengths, so they only affect the surface of your skin, causing burn like symptoms leading to sunburns and are one of the biggest causes for skin cancer.
Sunscreens can be categorized into two types-a) Chemical Sunscreens and b) Physical Sunscreens
Chemical sunscreens are nothing but a mixture of many chemicals made into existence to fight off UVA and UVB rays. These ingredients deactivate the sunlight that falls onto the skin and create a chemical reaction that can transform UV rays into a form of heat, which gets released by the skin.
These are made of natural ingredients that are usually effective on the surface layer of skin. They deflect and absorb UV rays that try to reach the surface of the skin. The most common types of physical sunscreens contain Zinc Oxide and or Titanium Dioxide.
Although people tend to buy chemical sunscreens instead of physical ones, since physical sunscreen like Zinc oxide leaves a white cast on your skin after application and Chemical Sunscreens get absorbed into the skin leaving no trace at all. But a lot of dermatologists prefer physical sunscreens over chemical ones as physical sunscreen is effective immediately after applying onto the skin. Whereas chemical ones take more time to get absorbed into the skin. Physical sunscreens are also long lasting and gentle on the skin as compared to chemical sunscreens.
Zinc Oxide Sunscreens
The mineral zinc oxide is used in sunscreens for its reflective mirror like properties. It is oil free and does not clog your pores in any way. It is also antimicrobial, which in turn helps heal wounds quickly. Zinc oxide blocks almost all short and long UVA and UVB rays and can be considered as one of the most effective sunscreen ingredient. Sunscreens with Zinc oxide are also made waterproof so they do not wash away during swimming.
Titanium Di-Oxide Sunscreens
This ingredient is often found in sunscreens as well. Like Zinc oxide, it is also noncomedogenic (does not clog pores). Although unlike Zinc oxide, this does not leave an opaque layer on the skin, making it a better choice for people with a darker skin tone. It is extremely effective against blocking short UVA and UVB rays but lacks to protect skin from long UVA rays.
Both Zinc Oxide and Titanium di-oxide are better for acne prone skin, fights against the harmful rays to ward off sun damage and wrinkles and can be helpful towards excessive redness of skin.
Post Swimming Skin Care Tips
As soon as you get out of the chlorinated water; make sure to wash it off completely before it sets in your skin. Warm water helps open the pores of your skin for a better wash. Before finishing your bath, a splash of cold water can close any open pores in your body.
Wash Your Hair
Washing your hair with apple cider vinegar or shampoo containing apple cider vinegar can be helpful in getting rid of the built up chlorine in your hair follicles. Apple cider vinegar is said to be one of the best cleansing and balancing treatment for your hair as it restores your scalp’s pH balance and makes it healthier.
Moisturize Your Skin
After the deep cleansing; applying a thick layer of moisturizer can help your skin get the required moisture it is lacking. Moisturizers having Aloe Vera as an ingredient can perfectly soothe irritated skin. The skin in your face is quite thinner from the rest of your body. It is advised to avoid applying body lotion to your face as it can clog your pores and cause acne. Face lotions with Vitamin E can be used to hydrate your face after a long swim in the chemical pool water. For body lotions, lotions that claim to hydrate and rejuvenate your skin are recommended. Oils are a good replacement option for body lotions. Oils like Almond oil, coconut oil and Olive oil can act as moisturizers for your skin.
Exfoliating is the term used to describe the removal of dead skin cells from the surface of the skin with the help of a tool, or a granular substance. Dead skin cells sometimes clog the pores instead of shedding completely, and have to be removed. So a good exfoliant can always help do the job. Here’s a recipe for a body scrub to make at home:-
Brown Sugar Body Scrub
- ½ cup of Coconut Oil
- ¼ cup of Honey
- ½ cup of Brown Sugar
- 3 tbsps. of blended Oatmeal
- Add the coconut oil and honey together in a bowl.
- Add brown sugar and grounded oatmeal. Stir until it reaches a thick paste like consistency.
- After wetting your skin with warm water, gently rub the mixture on your body in circular motion.
- Rinse and pat dry to avoid irritation.
If you take a swim without applying sunscreen you’ve probably encountered skin tan. If your skin gets darkened by exposure to sunlight due to production of melanin pigment, this natural process is termed as tanning. Sometimes applying sunscreen also does not guarantee total protection from the sun and some tan can be visible in your body. Hence de-tanning may be effective. De-tanning is the process of removing tan by chemical or natural means. Exfoliating is also considered as a part of de-tanning. Chemical peels and Laser treatment are sought after for tan removal if the tan is severe and cannot be removed through home remedies. But it is always advised to talk to a professional regarding any of these procedures.
A short and simple solution to remove unwanted tan is to use home remedial recipes. Listed below are some of the recipes for you to try:-
Tomatoes help lighten tan because of citric acid present in them.
- Make a paste out of cut tomatoes and lemon juice.
- Apply to the affected areas.
- Leave it on for about 10-20 mins.
- Rinse off with water and towel dry your skin.
- Repeat this process once or twice a week for better results.
The fruit papaya is rich in Vitamin C and Vitamin E which do wonders for skin. So applying a papaya pack can help get rid of tan very effectively.
- Blend the papaya fruit into a fine puree.
- Add lemon juice to the fruit pulp.
- Apply this paste to the tanned areas and leave it on for 10-15 minutes.
- Rinse off thoroughly with cold water.
- Repeat this process once each week.
Aloe Vera And Cucumber
Both Aloe Vera and Cucumber possess similar soothing and hydrating properties which help lighten skin tan. A pack made of these ingredients is a must try for all.
- Blend the cucumber thoroughly to acquire a thick paste.
- Add Aloe Vera gel (or if you have Aloe Vera at home cut the Aloe leaf and scoop out the gel in between) and a tablespoon of honey to this paste and mix well.
- Apply to the tanned parts of skin and leave it on for 15-20 minutes.
- Rinse off with cold water.
- Repeat these steps once every week.
Potatoes are rich in lectins and niacinamide which lighten dark areas of the skin. So, applying potato skin or cut potatoes directly on the tanned area on a daily basis can somewhat lighten the skin. You can also apply potato juice to the dark area with the help of a cotton bud.
Things To Avoid When Going For A Swim
- Avoid jumping right into the water without any kind of warm up. Jumping into the pool without any stretching exercise can lead to cramps and injuries. Try to stretch your limbs and do quick workout exercises before entering the water.
- It is always advised to not overeat before entering the waters, as overeating can slow down your speed in water and cause damage to digestive system.
- Don’t hold your breath for too long underwater as it can lead to drowning if you’re not too careful.
- Avoid going into a pool which gives off too much of a chlorine smell. A higher concentration of chemicals used in pools can lead to skin damage.
- If you’re a new swimmer make sure to have proper gear while practicing and avoid swimming for a large amount of time continuously.
- Avoid going for a swim if you have any prior infections which can contaminate the water.
- Do not swallow the contaminated pool water as it can cause gastrointestinal, skin, ear, respiratory, and eye infections. The most common of all being diarrhea.
Swimming is a great work out activity as it helps you burn off the unwanted calories really quick, de-stresses your body and mind, keeps up your endurance and heart rate and tones your muscles and strengthens them. But in order to keep yourself healthy you must also take proper care of your skin. Skin being the protective barrier which helps your body stay away from being harmed by foreign substances, so a little care for your skin would go a long way in your life and help you stay healthy and glowing.