As you probably know, spending a significant amount of time in the pool or other bodies of water can be pretty harsh on your skin. The water itself, along with chlorine, additional pool chemicals, the salt in salt water, and other compounds strip your skin of its naturally occurring oil. This oil serves some important purposes—not the least of which is keeping your skin hydrated.
Rehydrating your skin is essential to preventing it from drying out and becoming itchy, flaky, scaly, cracked, or otherwise irritated. But—while it may help—just occasionally slathering on some random moisturizer isn’t going to deliver the best results.
The following tips for effective skin moisturizing can help any swimmer keep their skin looking and feeling great.
How to Moisturize Effectively
- Choose a high-quality moisturizer with aloe vera that’s made for frequent daily use, such as Summer Solutions Moisturizer Therapy
- Steer clear of moisturizers that contain petroleum-based ingredients, as these can actually promote drying out
- Apply moisturizer liberally, paying close attention to problem areas; don’t neglect your face, elbows, hands, knees, and heels, where the thinner skin tends to dry out faster than skin elsewhere
- Massage moisturizer gently into your skin; don’t aggressively rub it in
- Put moisturizer on within 3 minutes of getting out of the shower or bath and washing your face or hands; these products work primarily by locking existing moisture into the skin (as opposed to introducing it)
- Keep showers and baths to 10 minutes or less, as they dry out your skin just like swimming; stick to lukewarm water, as hot water is more drying
- If you apply multiple products to the same area of skin (e.g., acne medicine and moisturizer to your face), put them on in order of thinnest consistency to thickest
- Drink lots of water—especially after swims and other workouts—since that’s a crucial way of making sure your body has moisture to lock in
- Use a gentle, moisturizing, chlorine-neutralizing soap, like Summer Solutions Soap+ bar soap or Summer Solutions Swimmer’s Own shower gel
- Avoid soaps with lye, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and other harsh chemicals, as these are drying and irritating
- Exfoliate once or twice per week—more often, and it can be detrimental—to remove dead skin cells that prevent moisture from entering the skin and moisturizers from working as well as possible
- If your hands and/or feet are especially dried out, slather them with moisturizer right before bed and sleep wearing gloves and/or socks made from a thin, breathable fabric
- Run a humidifier at home when necessary to maintain an atmospheric humidity level between 40 and 50 percent; this is most important during the dry winter months
- Take a 10-minute lukewarm bath with around 2 cups of colloidal oatmeal mixed in for some all-natural moisturizing effects
- Dampen a washcloth with milk and press it gently on particularly dry areas of skin for about 5 to 10 minutes
- Eat a diet rich in vitamins A, C, B6, and E, as well as omega-3 fatty acids, as all are essential to your skin’s health and hydration; ask your doctor about supplementing with fish oil, flaxseed oil, or another source of omega-3s if you struggle with excessively dry skin