WOW ITS HOT!!! As the temperatures rise here, the idea of a long cold swim sounds AMAZING! But, as any professional or recreational swimmer will tell you, swimming is great for your body but can wreak havoc on your skin. How many of us actually really think about putting on sunscreen before we dive in that pool?! Not many! We put it on our kids but often neglect our own skin. It’s so important to take the proper skincare precautions to protect your skin before getting in that pool.
Today’s SPF is a lot more well-rounded then years ago. It’s designed to protect and moisturize the skin when applied properly. And boy does our skin need the double duty because a beach holiday can cause your skin some serious trauma if you don’t prep first. Even being a regular visitor to the hotel pool can dry out your skin – you know that weird chemical smell you get on your skin after a dip in a swimming pool? Imagine what it’s doing to your skin if it smells that bad?
It’s not just the salt, chlorine and other chemicals that can mess with your skin’s comfort zone. Sunbathing and sitting around in the sunshine won’t help your skin’s condition. Not using enough sun screen with a high enough SPF and forgetting to reapply sunscreen after a swim, or letting skin get too dry in the heat can all cause skin acre stress.
If your skin is dry and itchy, it’s probably down to chemicals in the pool. While it would be great to have a chemical free pool, they have to be there to kill bugs. But in some countries, they can be a little over-zealous and the result is itchy, dry skin that doesn’t look great when “uncovered” for your Instagram pool shots. Even ozone pools can irritate some people’s skin, so just be aware before you take a dip. Sea water can be harsh on your skin too; although in some places the mineral content is beneficial and can soothe skin conditions. But be very mindful of salt water as it can be an irritant.
There are some things that you can do to help from the inside out. Keep yourself hydrated – if your skin is thirsty it’s more prone to chlorine and other damage. Chlorine breaks down your skin’s natural defenses to other irritants too, so make sure that you drink plenty of water to help skin resist chlorine’s effects. Staying hydrated also prevents sun stroke and general dehydration which can creep up on you quickly in a hot climate. Always carry a bottle of water with you and sip from it regularly – your skin will thank you and you don’t always realize how much extra water you’ll need.
Always shower after you’ve been in the water – don’t just get straight onto the sun loungers. This washes off any salt, chlorine or other nasties that might have been in the water and gives you a better base on which to apply your moisturizing sun screen. Don’t forget to wash your swim wear thoroughly after you’ve been in the water – this prevents rashes and irritation.
When it comes to choosing a sunscreen, it’s more effective to use a normal sun screen and reapply it after you’ve been swimming than rely on waterproof. If you wash the chlorine off in the shower after your swim, you’ll be taking some of the waterproof sun screen with you and you never really know how much will be left. Opt for a decent SPF (50 if the sun is strong) and keep slapping it on, at least every 2 hours. Before you ask, anything over 50 is what we in the beauty industry like to call “misleading” because it makes you think you’ll get twice the protection and don’t have to reapply as often. In reality, it’s only marginally better and will only provide about 1% more protection. So save yourself some money and stick with SPFs that range between 15-50, and make sure they contain at least 15% zinc oxide to help protect your skin from the UVA rays.
When you’re indoors again, apply a good moisturizing body lotion all over to replenish the moisture you’ve lost through sun, sea and chlorine. But as we know, sometimes you can do all the right things and get a little over-exposed. If you do end-up with a bit of a sunburn, use organic aloe vera gel and an organic rose water to help the cool, hydrate, and help it the skin to heal. Be sure to hydrate and replace the fluids you lost while being out in the sun. Your skin can always use a little extra “tlc” during these summer months, try these tips to protect it and your body will thank you for it!