As if frequenting the pool wasn’t hard enough on your skin and hair, winter presents added risks for a swimmer’s skin and hair. When you combine the two, extreme dryness and damage are all-too-often the natural results. By carefully upping your hair and skin health regimen though, you can decrease the negative effects of winter weather and avoid any disruptions to your swimming routine.
1. Drink that water!
If you’re not sure how much you should be drinking per day to keep your body at an optimal hydration level, check out this chart. A good rule of thumb for most people is to make sure your urine maintains a light yellow color.
2. Take frequent showers.
The more time you spend in the pool, the more time you need to spend in fresh water; a quick rinse is not enough. Spend at least 5 minutes in the shower before jumping into the pool to ensure that your hair and skin are hydrated.
3. Add an extra protective layer to your skin.
Waterproof sunscreen is a good solution, since it is designed to create a barrier to chlorine.
4. Prevent chafing for areas subject to rubbing.
These areas will naturally be more susceptible to irritation when subjected to chlorine. You can give them added protection by applying a thin layer of Vaseline before jumping into the pool.
5. Provide extra protection for your hair.
Experiment with different kinds of oils to find the one that you prefer: baby oil, olive oil, and coconut oil are all healthy options. Simply put some on your hands, and run your fingers through your hair to coat your hair before entering the pool.
6. Cleanse hair and skin after pool time.
If you participate in an all-day event, be sure to shower between events to make sure no chlorine dries on your skin and hair, and then do the same after you’re finished. Be sure to thoroughly cleanse both your hair and your body.
7. Re-hydrate after showering.
For your skin, re-hydration means using an aqueous Cream (i.e. Aquaphor, Eucerin, or a specially prescribed dermatalogical cream). For hair, it means applying a conditioner.
8. Give your hair some extra TLC.
Especially important for swimmers with long hair, using hair products designed with swimmers in mind can help you reduce the harmful effects of chlorine. You can also prevent added damage by using a blow dryer only on the lowest setting and using a wide-toothed comb instead of a brush.
9. Wash your swim suit, every time.
Be sure to do this as soon as possible after each swim session. Not only will you prevent skin irritation from dried chlorine, but you’ll ensure that your suit will last longer, too!
10. Don’t wait to get help.
When the drying effects of winter combine with the effects of chlorinated water, seemingly minor skin irritations can quickly become major ones. If your usual skin-care regimen isn’t keeping problems at bay, make certain that you see a dermatologist as soon as possible.
Image credits: Top © Aida Koric/Fotolia; 2nd © MICROGEN/Fotolia.