In the age of digital addiction, lack of open spaces and childhood obesity being the norm, a lot of parents opt for swimming activity for their children since as early as 2 years of age. These swimming activities are generally conducted in swimming pool clubs, gymkhanas and 4/5 star hotels as there are very few dedicated isolated swimming pools. These swimming pool management departments are not well versed with guidelines for pool hygiene and recommended doses for chlorine addition to the pools because of which the swimmers, especially kids present with a host of skin & hair problems.
Taking this into account, Dr Fahima @theskindoctor clinic has listed a few easy; yet important pointers to make swimming least problematic for the skin and hair of our young swimmers.
- Shower before swimming. Rinsing washes off excessive sweat as this sweat can combine with chlorine forming harmful by products that make them photosensitive. Also ensure child does not pee in the swimming pool as ammonia from urine comes in contact with chlorine in the pool to form chloramine. Chloramine is a photosensitiser causing skin rashes, allergies and accelerates tanning.
- Use polyester swimsuits instead of nylon or spandex as they are not just durable but also give better protection against chlorine present in swimming pool water.
- If one can, wearing a full body swim suit (like a scuba diving suit) is recommended over a skimpy bathing suit.
- Oil your hair and tie it in a bun and cover with a water resistant swimming cap to avoid hair getting dry and frizzy from the chlorine in the pool.
- Swimming goggles are highly recommended to avoid dry eye phenomenon.
- Apply generous amount of coconut oil before entering the pool as it forms an acidic layer on the skin thus protecting the skin from alkaline structure of the chemicals and bacteria present in the pool.
- Opt for a medicated water resistant sunscreen which contains Zinc and Titanium oxide which are physical sunscreens and also safe for our young swimmers as young as 2 years old.
- Make sure to take a quick shower after leaving the pool as it will rid the skin of byproducts of chlorinated water interacting with our skin.
- Apply moisturiser generously to the skin to prevent it from getting dry and itchy.
- It’s very important to drink plenty of water before, during and after swimming to stay hydrated.
- Consuming Vitamin C rich fruits is advantageous to everyone and particularly so for swimmers.
- Tan post swimming generally resolves by 1 to 3 months on its own. To accelerate this, one can use a combination of curd, honey, chickpea flour and tomatoes and leave on for half an hour every day.