Swimming is a great exercise that’s also a career option for many. It keeps your muscles toned and is a fun activity to indulge in. However, long exposure to sunlight and chemicals in the pool water can exacerbate skin issues for many, especially those who have acne!
It’s not all bad though. Pool water can contribute to helping your acne as well. Surprising, isn’t it? In this article, we explore how swimming can help or harm your acne.
Does the pool help or harm?
Both. Swimming might irritate your skin, but it also helps to destroy germs that cause acne.
How does it help?
Swimming may be able to aid in the treatment, minimization, or even prevention of acne outbreaks.
- Chlorine is good to an extent - The reason for this is that chlorine is an antibacterial agent. These chemicals eliminate all of the microorganisms that cause acne while also drying up excess oil on your face. In addition, soaking up more sunshine keeps the skin clean and fresh.
- Sunlight aids in combating acne - A sufficient quantity of sunshine provides vitamin D and other nutrients required for healthy skin. The sun also accomplishes its work by eliminating excess oil from the skin, resulting in glowing, acne-free skin.
The exercise in itself helps - Your breathing rate increases while you swim, and, the more you breathe, the more oxygen you inhale. More oxygen in your blood implies faster removal of acne-causing germs from the skin's surface, as well as faster healing of present breakouts and the formation of new healthy skin cells.
How does it harm?
Acne can worsen from swimming as your skin becomes dry and itchy as you stay in the pool for longer or longer amounts of time. It stimulates the creation of more body oils. Oil is a key component of pimples, and having more oil implies you're more likely to have acne.
The outermost layer of skin (barrier) is significant because it retains water within the skin. Acne sufferers often have a compromised barrier function, and spending too much time in the pool might degrade this barrier and make it less effective.
There's also the idea that sunscreen might exacerbate acne, but this isn't a reason to forego sunscreen. If you're prone to breakouts, look for a sunscreen that says "non-comedogenic," which indicates it's not designed to clog your pores.
How can you keep your skin protected while swimming?
There are several ways in which you can keep your skin protected while going for a swim.
- Use sunscreen - Sun protection is not only important for preventing skin burns, but it is also important for premature ageing, hyperpigmentation and worsened acne scars. Look for a waterproof sunscreen that will protect your skin from UVA and UVB radiation while also establishing a barrier between your skin and chlorinated water. This reduces the chances of acne flare-ups or other skin issues worsening.
- Time your swims - Swims should be scheduled right before you apply your usual anti-acne products and begin your daily anti-acne routine.
- Wash your face after exiting the pool - Use a mild cleanser like the Carmesi Foaming Face Wash to gently cleanse your face of the chemicals and other impurities in the pool. This cleanser is also formulated especially for sensitive, acne-prone skin.
- Keep your skin moisturized - After getting out of the pool, apply a moisturizer that is suited to your skin type. Since you have acne-prone skin, use the Carmesi Soothing Moisturizer which is lightweight and non-greasy.
- Apply a thin layer of oil or petroleum jelly - Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly or facial oil like rosehip oil or jojoba oil to form a protective layer on your skin which will prevent the absorption of excess chemicals. These oils and petroleum jelly will not clog your pores and make your acne worse.
- Try a calming mask - If you find your skin irritated, inflamed or reddened, try a soothing clay mask or sheet mask with calming ingredients like cucumber, aloe vera or green tea that will reduce acne and irritation.