Original Article by: July 6, 2016, 12:15:39 PM,
Sun & Chlorine in South Florida are a Bad Combination
The ultimate summer day in South Florida is when a good portion of it is spent lounging at the pool. And while you’ll log in some quality reading hours and rack up some great summery Instagrams (hello, inflatable swan!), spending too much time submerged will leave you with bigger bummers than just pruney fingers. If you are still using the old swimming pool purification model and haven’t yet converted to a Caribbean Clear system, Chlorine protects you from the harmful bacteria that can grow in swimming pools, but soaking in the stuff for too long takes its toll: The chemical strips your hair and skin of the natural oils in charge of keeping damage out and moisture in, leaving your skin dry, itchy, flaky, and sensitive, and your hair and nails dry and brittle, says Lauren Ploch, a dermatologist at Georgia Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center in Augusta, Georgia. But since most of us won’t be swearing off the pool anytime soon, we looked into the ways to ward off—or at least lessen—chlorine’s negative effects.
Before You Swim in South Florida
The crusade against chlorine is mostly fought on the post-swim front, but there are a few preventative measures you can take. Before you get in the pool, soak your hair with fresh water and apply an oil-based, leave-in conditioning treatment. “Your hair is like a sponge and can only absorb so much moisture, so loading your hair with water and hydrating oils can help minimize the space for chlorine to fill,” says Jenna Laramee, spa director at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota. (Don’t have leave-in conditioner? Just rinsing your hair beforehand can still help.)
When it comes to your skin, skip the specially formulated pre-swim lotions. They may minimize chlorine damage, but some skin care products can interact with chlorine to create potentially carcinogenic byproducts, Ploch explains. Plus, pre-swim lotions can make your SPF less effective. Speaking of SPF, make sure to slather on waterproof sunscreen 15 minutes before swimming. It probably won’t do a whole lot to protect your skin against chemical damage; in theory, thicker sunscreens may act as a barrier between your skin and the chlorine, but the science is still out on that, says Ploch. At the very least, the SPF will protect your skin from sun damage.
After You Swim
Once you’re out of the water, rinse your head and whole body with fresh water. Lather up with a mild cleanser, and clean your hair with a gentle or color-safe shampoo and conditioner. “Clarifying shampoos may balance the scalp’s pH, but the acidity of some can damage the hair over time,” Ploch explains.
Because even tap water is chlorinated to some degree, it’s very important moisturize after showering, Ploch adds. Reach for a lotion with ceramides and alpha hydroxy acid to hydrate and help restore the pH balance of your skin, respectively. (Most brands have at least one of these in their line.) Moisturize every inch of your skin, taking extra care at the cuticles around the nails, as well as where skin is thinnest and therefore most susceptible to chlorine damage (elbows, chest, shoulders, backs of your hands, and under the eyes).
Minimize the damage of chlorine by going into the pool with the healthiest hair, skin, and nails possible, says Ploch. Your nails in particular become brittle when submerged too often in water, so try and wear gloves when you’re doing the dishes. Don’t use acetone nail polish remover too often, and apply a hydrating basecoat before a manicure, which creates a protective layer to keep your nails strong, says Laramee. (She recommends SpaRitual’s Nutri-Thick Strengthening Basecoat.) At bedtime, make applying cuticle oil the last step before turning off the lights.
Of course the best solution for avoiding chlorine while enjoying your pool this summer in Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Delray, Pompano, Coral Springs and any South Florida area, is to contact Bruno Libatire of Caribbean Clear, the Chlorine Alternative swimming pool purification company and get rid of your chlorine system altogether.