Whether you are poolside, seaside, or inside this summer we’ve got helpful tips for you to keep your skin glowing and happy during the summer months.
Chlorine & Your Skin
Is there anything better than taking a dip in a cool pool on a hot summer day? We think not. Let’s take a look at what pool water and chlorine might do to your skin and your microbiome, and how you can prevent dryness while still enjoying a dip.
What Is Chlorine Anyway?
Chlorine is a chemical that is popular in public and personal pools. It can come in many forms including: tablets, liquid, & powder. Chlorine works in two key ways: sanitizing & clarifying. No one wants to swim in a murky, algae-filled pool…eek! Chlorine kills virtually all the microbes found in a pool and bacteria & fungi that come from human skin, preventing growth and promoting water clarity. When it comes to your skin overexposure to chlorine can cause: skin irritation, rashes, chemical burns & make existing skin conditions worse.
Chlorine is a direct attack on our skin’s microbiome, because it was created to kill all microbes, including the ones on your skin. Here are some tips on protecting your skin and preventing nasty side effects from chlorine exposure:
- Shower immediately after being in the pool, even a quick rinse will get a large portion of the chlorine off of your skin and prevent the chemical from drying and creating further damage to your microbiome
- Apply Vitamin C to your skin after being in a pool, many popular sunscreens today have vitamin C included, so you can protect your skin & remedy chlorine’s effects. Vitamin C can neutralize chlorine and chloramines on the skin.
- Moisturize after being in the pool to prevent the chlorine from drying on your skin. Many sunscreens are also moisturizing!
- Monitor Chemicals in the Pool, if you are lucky enough to have your own backyard oasis in the summer, make sure you are regularly testing your chlorine levels to ensure they are at a healthy amount. Chlorine levels that are too high can result in nasty chemical burns.
Note: in the summer when we are sweaty, going in pools, and out and about, you may think you need to wash your skin more than usual. But remember that your microbiome is delicate and over-washing can lead to stripping your barrier. Finding balance between products you use and the amount you cleanse your face is key to keeping your microbiome balanced.
What about the Ocean?
From the Atlantic to Pacific, summer is synonymous with being beachside. The good news is that saltwater is not at all harmful to your skin compared to pool water. In fact, salt water has been proven to help people with skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis!
So, Why Is the Ocean Beneficial to My Skin?
Author Isak Dinesen once wrote, "The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea.” We love this for so many reasons, and when it comes to our skin, salt water has been proven to be incredibly beneficial. Beyond just salt, ocean water contains more than 40 other naturally occurring minerals. These minerals include potassium, magnesium, calcium, and zinc.
Saltwater is also a natural, and gentle exfoliant. While we don’t condone persistent use of exfoliating, (see here for our blog!) Salt water can be beneficial in removing dead skin in a gentle way.
Saline solutions are used to flush out wounds and other injuries, this is because salt is a natural antibacterial, meaning it can prevent infections without harming your body and skin. If you suffer from acne or other skin conditions you might find yourself having clearer than normal skin after being in the ocean. This could be from salt water’s natural ability to remove unwanted bacteria from your skin, thus helping your microbiome.
Salt water can be drying, so be sure to apply moisturizer before and after being in the ocean, and yes, your sunscreen could count as a moisturizer!
Humidity and Your Skin
If you live in a city or anywhere in the world with high levels of humidity in the summertime, you might notice your skin acting up. Humidity certainly plays a role in skin blemish formation and can be exacerbated by the hot summer months.
Humidity can cause blemishes by the swelling of your “epidermal keratinocytes” ; this refers to the highly specialized group of keratinocytes that live on your epidermis, the outermost layer of your skin. The primary function of keratinocytes is the formation of a barrier against environmental damage by heat, UV radiation, water loss, pathogenic bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses. When your keratinocytes become swollen due to humidity your hair follicles can become obstructed, and this leads to blemishes.
This, in combination with heat and pollution exposure can lead to increased acne, pimples, and other blemishes. If you live in a city and feel your skin is worse during the summer months we encourage you to check out our piece on City Skin, and learn ways to combat pollution and improve your microbiome.
Curious about using minimal and microbiome friendly products? Discover our line of beloved serums & cleaners.