Poolside Problems: Chlorine and Eczema

Last updated: July 2021

Water is one of my two-year-old daughter's favorite things to play in and with. She loves helping me wash dishes. She loves playing in the shower and has blast during her baths as well. In the summertime, going to the pool is one of her favorite pastimes. However, pools can be problematic for my skin sensitive sweetheart.

Chlorine and eczema

The chlorine in some pools and water parks seems to have a calming and soothing effect on her skin and atopic dermatitis. Yet, at other pools, it seems to be more problematic than not. I am not certain if it's the amount of chlorine or some other cleaning agents used at each pool that cause different effects on her skin.

Temperature and environment

I have noticed that whether the chlorine is a help or a hindrance seems to differ based on the temperature of the water and environment as well.

Indoor pools and water parks

For example, at an indoor pool/water park, with higher levels of chlorine in which the environment felt humid or felt like dry heat, her atopic dermatitis seemed to worsen. At this pool/water park or water park the chlorine level was so high it burned our eyes when we went under the water or water got in our eyes. We could also smell the chlorine and either the chlorine or humidity gave me and several others a headache.

Outdoor water park

Yet, when we went to an outdoor large water park, which was made to simulate a beach, the chlorine levels seemed lower because it did not smell as strong or burn our eyes. It seemed to help deescalate her already existing flare-up rather than causing more flare-ups or worsening her existing flare-up.

Is it the chlorine?

We had experiences at multiple pools and water parks, this year and last, but there was a noticeable difference in the levels of chlorine or whatever cleaning agent was used. Perhaps, other factors played a role in the differing effects the water had on her atopic dermatitis but this was the only consistent variable I noticed.

After-swim care

But after any pool experience, no matter the level of chlorine, it is always imperative that my toddler takes a shower with her own personal moisturizing skin products, is patted dry with a soft cotton towel and then uses her moisturizing lotion immediately afterward on her damp skin to minimize or prevent her AD skin flare-ups.

Packing for the pool

This means making sure to bring all her products with me when we go to a public pool with a shower and not using the soaps and products some pools and water products have in their shower. It helps me to play out her skincare routine in my head as I pack her bag. A list of products may also be helpful as well. I also have to have a text message ready to inform anyone who takes her to the pool of the proper steps to keep her routines as consistent as possible. Finding what works for her and how it differs at each pool has been challenging, but being prepared and consistent has made all the difference in her preventing the poolside side affects.

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