The Effects of Chlorine On Your Skin: How to Protect Your Skin During Swim Season

July 22, 2016
Jessica Khorsandi
By: Jessica Khorsandi | by L'Oréal
The Effects of Chlorine On Your Skin: How to Protect Your Skin During Swim Season

As temperatures soar, more and more people opt to cool down with a dip in a swimming pool. It’s a great way to relax, have fun, and exercise muscles from head-to-toe. (Anything to keep your summer beach bod in tip-top shape, am I right?) But all that splashing around can lead to dry, itchy skin and brittle hair. The culprit? Chlorine. 

“While chlorine is great to kill harmful bacteria, it’s not so great for your skin and hair as it also kills good bacteria, in addition to stripping natural oils,” says board-certified dermatologist, and expert, Dr. Dendy Engelman. Talk about a sticky situation. On the one hand, chlorine helps safeguard us from bad bacteria—‘cause, you know, we’re not trying to fall ill—but on the other hand, it can wreak havoc on our skin, leaving it the opposite of soft and smooth. So how do you take advantage of swim season while also maintaining healthy-looking skin? With a few easy steps, you can protect your skin from the harmful effects of chlorine. Go ahead, have your cake and eat it too. 


Alright, here’s the lowdown. It’s no secret that chlorine can make hair and skin feel dry and rough. To protect your hair and scalp, Engelman suggests wearing a swim cap. If you don’t want to look like you’re swimming at the Olympics (let’s be real, it’s not the most fashionable look we’ve seen), coat your strands with oil—we like coconut oil for this—or a silicone-based hair product before jumping into the pool. This can help create a barrier between your hair and the water. 

As far as the skin on your body goes, you’ll want to get the chlorine off as soon as possible. “Once you’re out of the water, immediately wash and rinse off any residual chlorine that may be clinging onto your skin,” Engelman says. Instead of hanging around in your swimsuit, take a quick shower and thoroughly wash your skin with a gentle body wash, like Kiehl’s Bath and Shower Liquid Body Cleanser. We love that it’s scented—pick from Grapefruit, Coriander, Lavender, and Pour Homme—to help kill the strong smell of chlorine lingering on the skin. Post-shower, follow up with a rich and creamy moisturizer—like The Body Shop Coconut Body Butter—while skin is still damp to lock in lost moisture and to give skin a soft and conditioned look and feel. 

Happy swimming!  

Read more

Back to top