When most people think of a pool, they think of relaxation or fun, but did you know that taking a dip in a chlorinated swimming pool can actually have a positive impact on your skin? Wounds, such as minor cuts, abrasions, or burns, can benefit from contact with chlorine. Although further studies are needed to substantiate chlorinated water’s effect on skin, many people affirm and enjoy the positive effects every summer.
Because chlorine has natural antibacterial properties, it is used in pool water to kill germs. As a result, an individual with a wound may find that his wound begins to heal quickly after a dip in the pool. As the chlorine in the water penetrates the exterior of the wound, it helps kill the bacteria in the sore. As the bacteria dies, the infection begins to subside.
In recent years, the chlorine used to treat swimming pools has garnered a negative reputation. Individuals who are aware of chlorine’s adverse effects upon the body in large doses have assumed that swimming in waters treated with chlorine can have a negative impact on the skin. Although chlorine can damage skin and wounds if too concentrated, chlorine is also known to have a healing effect when it contacts the skin via pool water in controlled doses, a result of its germ-killing properties.
Wounds such as acne sores on the face can greatly benefit from contact with chlorinated water. The water has a drying and antibacterial effect that penetrates the skin and removes the grease and bacteria deep within the pores. It is important to note, however, that if the skin becomes too dry from excessive exposure to chlorinated water, the body begins to overcompensate for the dry skin and produce more oil, exacerbating the problem. For this reason, it is best to apply a light, oil-free lotion to the skin after swimming to enjoy the chlorine’s benefits but prevent worsening the acne.
Although chlorine in the water can help external wounds, it should never be used to treat internal wounds, such as those on the inside of the mouth or eyes. The linings inside the mouth and the eyes are soft tissues capable of absorbing harmful bacteria in pool water. In addition, the chlorine can produce irritation to these areas, including burning. Chlorinated water should not be allowed to touch these areas. Because the skin is the body’s protective covering, it is more “immune” to the negative effects of chlorine.
An individual with a fresh, open wound or should never enter a swimming pool. Wounds that are oozing blood or other body fluids will not only infect the water, but they are also more likely to become further infected by any bacteria in the water. Once the body has formed a scab and can keep out any bacteria, it is safe for individuals to enter the water and test the healing effects of the chlorine on their wounds. Also, remember that chlorine is a chemical, and the body should be exposed to it only in small doses to avoid the adverse reactions that it is often known for.
References and ResourcesFacts on chlorine's properties.
Individual stories about chlorine's effects on skin.