The warm weather is upon us and many families are looking forward to spending time at the pool. For kids with eczema, however, a dip in a chlorinated pool could be the cause of days or even weeks of misery. Chlorine is a bleach-like chemical that is added to many swimming pools and hot tubs to help keep the water sanitary. While this chemical is usually harmless and gentle for skin, some kids definitely have a problem with it.
Since chlorine is a chemical just like bleach or bromine, sensitive skin can get aggravated by it in a matter of minutes. The chemical can cause the skin to ‘prune’ faster than usual, and it can also cause irritation, dryness, and chapping on skin areas that aren’t well protected due to eczema flare ups.
On the flip side, the interesting thing about all of this is that some kids actually find that chlorine helps their eczema and may actually cleanse the skin so well that further flare ups are stopped. Just like a bleach bath, a common remedy used for kids with eczema, a day at the pool could help cleanse and sanitize skin to prevent infections, bacteria, and inflammation.
Since no two kids have the same skin, and it seems every case of eczema is truly unique – there’s really only one thing we can do as parents: experiment. Looking at the state of our kids’ skin before we hit the pool and taking periodic checks during, right after, and several hours after can help us see just how their skin is reacting.
We can also do things to help their skin stay healthy during a swim:
- Rinse off with cool water right after the swim
- Apply moisturizer while skin is still wet from the rinse
- Watch skin for several hours after the swim and apply moisturizer in any areas that appear irritated
- If you’ll be playing outside, make sure to apply swim-proof sun block regularly. Here’s a list of natural sunscreens we suggested.
How does your child’s skin respond to a day at the pool?
Share with us in the comments below!