What’s there not to like about jumping into a crystal-clear swimming pool on a warm, sunny day? The chlorine, that’s what. Of course, chlorine is a necessary evil; without it, bacteria, algae, and other icky critters would be sloshing on and around you. But with it, a dip in the pool can leave skin and hair feeling parched and downright uncomfortable. Chlorine strips away your skin's natural oils, making it easier for the moisture within to escape. Fortunately, a few easy steps can provide some serious damage control.
1. Avoid swimming too soon after chlorine is added. That’s when the drying effects are strongest. Instead, wait a few hours and the water will be gentler on your skin. If you’re using a public pool, just ask when chlorination is typically scheduled.
2. Take a shower before dipping into the pool. Your hair can only absorb so much moisture; by drenching it before you jump in (and, even better, applying some leave-in conditioner), you’re limiting the amount of chlorinated pool water that your strands pick up. What’s more, you’ll wash away the naturally occurring compounds on the skin's surface, which would otherwise combine with chlorine to form skin-irritating by-products.
3. Wear waterproof sunscreen. Not only is it essential for shielding your skin, it creates a barrier between your skin and the pool water.
4. Wash up after your swim. It's best to remove chlorine from your skin as soon as possible, so shower after you get out of the water, even between dips. Use a gentle shower gel (because as we all know a quick rinse still leaves you smelling like chlorine); if you’re at a public pool where there’s no cleanser, bring your own. Finish up with a broad spectrum sunscreen.
5. Moisturize well. After you’re done and showered for the day, be especially diligent about applying a hydrating lotion (like Calendula Hydrate). Don’t forget vulnerable spots like your cuticles, backs of hands, neck. And preserve your skin’s moisture as you go about your daily tasks, like wearing gloves for cleaning and gardening.