Anyone who starts taking swim classes regularly needs also to take care of their skin and hair to protect them from the sun and pool chemicals. Learning to swim is an important skill set. It’s also an activity that can bring the whole family together for a fun time and exercise. From the youngest ages to more advanced swimmers, everyone should have fun but also protect themselves in the water.
Swimming classes can start very early for babies and toddlers. This can build muscle strength, coordination, and brain synapses, and it also gives babies fun time with their parents. Parents need to make sure that their child is protected from the elements. As students grow and develop more advanced skills in swim classes, they also need protection for their hair, skin and nails. Students who decide to participate in competitive swimming need protection even more because they are usually in the water for hours at a time, every day.
When talking about pool chemicals, we are generally referring to the chlorine in the water. This chemical is added to protect swimmers from any bacterial growth. This can have many effects on a swimmer’s skin and hair, but there are steps that can be taken to lessen or prevent any negative effects. Even a short time in the pool can cause swimmers to have brittle nails, dry skin, and dry, damaged hair. Taking even a few of these steps can care for skin and hair regardless of whether your child is learning to swim or is competing in big meets – and if the parents are in the water too, this advice also applies to adults.
Skin. Take steps to care for the skin before you ever get into the pool with a waterproof SPF protection sunscreen. This is important whether you are swimming in direct or indirect sunlight. This should be done about 15 minutes prior to getting into the water so that it will be absorbed into the skin. Moisturizer can be added on top of the sunscreen if skin dryness is a problem for you or your child. As it is absorbed by the skin it develops into a protective barrier against the chlorine and any other chemicals in the pool water.
Hair. After spending time in the water, hair tends to become dry and lack moisture. Some experts suggest getting the hair wet before getting into the pool and treating it with a leave-in hair conditioner. Other recommendations include coconut, avocado, or other natural oils to keep the hair protected and retain moisture. Finally, swimming caps protect hair from the effects of water, which is useful if you swim frequently, though it does not keep the hair dry.
Taking a shower after swimming will rinse off any chemical residue. This is beneficial for both the skin and hair.
Skin. Using a thick moisturizer, cover the entire body to protect it from dryness. It’s good to apply extra moisturizer to the face, hands, and elbows where the skin is more at risk for damage. This can be followed with an SPF sunscreen again to protect during the day.
Hair. Hair and the scalp are particularly at risk for damage from chlorine and other pool chemicals. A clarifying shampoo is designed to balance pH levels and protect from chlorine dryness. Rinse the hair with cool water to remove any residue. When the hair is completely clean, you can finish with a leave-in hair conditioner for further protection.
Nails and Cuticles. Nails can become brittle after repeated exposure to chlorine, so it’s important to care for them. While you cannot cut or file them when they are wet or even damp, there are steps to prevent damage when they are completely dry. Cuticle oil or even oil rubbed into the nails and cuticles every day can protect them from damage over time.
Ears. It’s also important to take a moment to gently take something soft to make sure your child’s ears are clear from any excess water. If your child gets water in the ears, turn their head to each side and pull the earlobe in different directions. This will help the water run out. Children have sensitive ears, and taking the time to remove extra water will help keep their little ears clear from any discomfort.
Swimmers need to pay attention to their bodies, particularly if they are in the water every day. These are a few helpful steps to keep your skin glowing and your hair glossy. Don’t ever let the risk of damage prevent you from getting into your regular swim sessions. Simply take the steps needed to protect your skin, hair and nails.