Turns out sore, fatigued, muscles aren’t the biggest deterrent to making all scheduled swim practices. It’s pins and needles stinging and itchy skin. I’ve experienced two, what I would rate as moderate skin problems, from swimming in salt water (1. A Lion’s Mane Jellyfish sting 2. underarm chaffing), but it never occurred to me that my skin would suffer from doubling my hours in the pool.
Rash from Lion’s Mane Jelly Fish obtained on August Bank Holiday Monday, 2018 off Forty Foot in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland. I don’t recommend getting stung by a Lion’s Mane especially on a bank holiday as most pharmacies aren’t open. Ireland doesn’t sell items like contact solution and antihistamine ointment in grocery stores like they do in the states. Instead you have to hit up a pharmacy. I struck out three times searching for an open pharmacy before finally finding one that was open.
Underarm chaffing from Puget Sound qualifying swim. That wound on the right, oozed for two weeks and repeatedly got stuck on gauze bandages and clothing. I finally saw a random general practitioner (almost a week after the swim), who had an open appointment slot. He explained to me that the water I was swimming in must have been extremely cold since I didn’t feel the burns until after I was out and warmed up. He prescribed a burn ointment to prevent infection, which stopped the oozing. The marks are still on my arms (over three months later), but look like old bruises.
Possible Solutions for Treatment of Chlorinated Skin:
I frequently use four point rubrics at work to obtain baseline data and to monitor progress. After browsing Amazon and choosing a few products developed for swimmers, I created this rubric (link below), and started using the purchased products in isolation and varying combinations. The maximum number of points (all scores of “exceeds”) is 16.
Product 1: Swim Spray
Ingredients: Water, Sodium Ascorbate, and Ascorbic Acid.
Directions: Rinse off after swim. Spray 20-30 times on skin and hair. Shower as usual.
Rating: 11/16 (69%). Rids skin of chlorinated scent post-swim until early morning when sheets slightly smell of chlorine. Prevents widespread rash, but itchiness and a few pockets of bumps remain when product is used by itself and followed with normal, pre-heavy swim practice, washing and moisturizing routine.
Product 2: Zealios Body Wash
Ingredients: Many ingredients including, “a rich blend of arnica, white tea, lavender and calendula,” aloe and jojoba oil.
Directions: Use in place of water and soap.
Rating: 13/16 (81%). Prevents rash and red bumps on my skin, leaves skin feeling smooth and moisturized, rids skin of chlorine aroma until barre3 workout sweat, and it reduces itchiness.
Product 3: Solpri Swim and Sport Lotion
Ingredients: Many including: Aloe, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Shea Butter.
Directions: Pat skin dry after shower and apply lotion to skin.
Rating: 13/16 (81%). Leaves my skin feeling velvety soft and non greasy, skin emits a pleasant aroma (no chlorine scent until after a sweaty Barre3 workout), and it prevents bumps and rashes. I still experience mild itchiness during periods of calm and focus.
My Treatment Plan:
In addition to trying the above mentioned products in isolation with my previous skin care routine, I tried them in pairs as well. I found, however, itchiness continued to be a recurring problem. Especially on my shoulder blades and ankles. My skin feels best after using all three products in my routine (e.g., rinse, Swim Spray, shower using Zealios Swim and Sport Body Wash, dry off, and moisturize with Solpri Swim and Sport lotion). Occasionally, I forget to use the swim spray directly after my practices, and I do notice increased itchiness. Coming soon on the agenda will be hair care. Conditioning inside my cap pre-swim and normal washing and conditioning is starting to not make the cut!