Swimming is no doubt one of the most fun forms of physical exercise. It’s relaxing, therapeutic, and being outdoors come with a lot of benefits . Spending a lazy summer vacation by the beach or pool is a great way to enjoy the sunny season and warm weather.
But before you dive in, there’s an apprehension that comes with stepping into a chlorine-treated pool or a sunny beach. You expose your skin to chemicals, potential irritants, and of course, the harmful UV rays of the sun. Plus, it can also dry and damage your hair.
To protect your skin when you’re at the beach or pool, here are some helpful tips:
Take care of your skin even before your swimming trip.
Before participating in a race, you make sure you’re hydrated, right? The same goes with your skin before going to the beach or pool. UV exposure, sandy wind, salty water, or chlorine-treated water can all affect the skin by compromising its natural barrier, and it can cause dry skin. Going to the beach or pool is like putting your skin through a marathon, so make sure it’s not thirsty. It’s best to be taking care of your skin way before then.
Whether you’re going for a swimming trip or not, your skin absorbs UV rays from the sun every day. One of the best skincare products to include in your beauty arsenal is a moisturizer with an SPF of at least 15. Have a good skincare routine that involves different layers of hydration to replenish your skin’s moisture barrier.
But when it comes to moisturizers, the thing you don’t want to do before your trip using any treatment with retinol or AHAs three days before your beach outing. These products are thinning to the skin, which can make it more delicate and susceptible to sunburn. Waxing 24 hours before going to the beach or pool is also a big no-no, especially on your face.
You also need to be mindful of your medications, including topical treatments. Some ingredients are photosensitive, which increases the risk of sun damage.
Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a hat or using an umbrella.
If you’re out in the sun and you don’t have the opportunity to reapply your sunscreen yet, cover yourself up with hats and umbrellas to prevent your scalp from burning and keeping the sun off your neck, face, and arms. But even if you’re wearing sunscreen all day long, covering yourself up is always a good idea to limit your exposure. A hat can especially protect your hair too, and it’s a big help if you have highlighted or colored your hair in some way.
Prep your skin with sunscreen.
You have probably expected this one on the list. Wearing a form of SPF/UV protection before extended sun exposure is crucial. Because we have different amounts of melanin on the skin, everyone has different levels of sun sensitivity. If you wear SPF 30 sunscreen every day, it’s better to use a sunscreen with a higher level of protection, such as SPF 50 or higher.
Using a waterproof sunscreen isn’t just a practice to avoid tanning, but it also protects the skin from drying out excessively. If you are regularly under the sun, it can also help you prevent premature aging. Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before getting under the sun to make sure your skin absorbs the product first and let it work.
When applying, don’t forget to apply the tops of your hands, feet, behind the knees, ears, under your butt cheeks, and the front and back of your neck. Lips must not be an afterthought either – they can be susceptible to burning as well. Use a lip balm with an SPF to keep them soft.
When you’re splashing onto the water, make sure to reapply every 30 minutes. Or, if you’re just strolling or sunbathing on the poolside or beach, reapply every hour. If you’re not great at remembering to reapply sun protection, set an alarm.
Put conditioner on your hair.
Saltwater and chlorine are abrasive and can pull out moisture from your hair. Conditioner is moisturizing, and it can give you a buffer of protection. Apply a leave-in conditioner with UV and heat protection on damp hair. You may also want to slather on a deep hair conditioning mask to give yourself a little treatment while swimming.
Take a quick shower.
More often than not, a quick shower before dipping into the pool is mandatory at public pools. While stepping underwater before a dip might sound pointless, this keeps the pool from getting too dirty, which is to the benefit of everyone. Besides that, it can also rehydrate your skin cells and keep them from absorbing the pool water, reinforcing the sunblock barrier.
The sun is dehydrating not only for the skin but also for your whole body, inside out. It’s important to rehydrate with lots of water, especially if you’re drinking alcohol. Drink enough water throughout the day so your skin remains healthy.
Shower and moisturize immediately after swim.
It’s important to shower as soon as you get out of the pool or beach. If not, you’ll be doing your skin a disservice. Showering after a swim can remove the chlorinated water or saltwater from the skin and help open up your pores to allow for a thorough cleansing.
Skip the shampoo after swimming in saltwater – opt for a thorough rinse, then follow it with a conditioner. But if you’re swimming in a chlorinated pool, shampoo, and condition as normal to remove those chemicals in your hair.
Don’t let yourself air-dry, too. After rinsing off, dry yourself with a cotton towel instead of just letting the sun dry you off. Then, after all of that, reapply a moisturizer to keep skin hydrated.
Keep the moisturizer coming.
The most important part of a swimmer’s skincare routine is moisturizing. Rehydrate after you get home, especially if your skin is still feeling dry and flaky. Invest in a good hydrating moisturizer to use at home to ensure your skin stays healthy.
If you’re not sunburnt, you can use a gentle exfoliant to cleanse your skin and remove the built-up dirt and dead skin from your face and body. It can give you smooth and soft skin right away. Do this only once or twice a week, but don’t exfoliate if you’re sunburnt.