There’s a question that lingers on every swimmers mind: Are swimming pool chemicals harmful? The answer is, no.
What chemicals are used in pools?
Chlorine is a chemical you are probably familiar with. This chemical is used in every type of pool from indoor, outdoor, to salt water pools. Chlorine acts as a sanitizing agent because it kills bacteria and germs and deters algae from growing. It also oxidizes our body’s oils and keeps them from mixing with the pool’s water. Chlorine gets a bad rap because of the smell associated with it. That sterile chlorine-y smell is actually caused when chloramines get into your pool. Chlorine actually keeps them out.
Is extensive chlorine exposure harmful?
In the long-term it can be, but you’d have to be Michael Phelps to see any of the effects. Unless you’re spending eight hours a day in your pool, 365 days a year, you should be fine. Olympic swimmers do tend to develop wrinkles earlier than those who only swim recreationally but if you’re not going for a gold medal, your skin won’t be affected. Long-term exposure can cause your hair and skin to dry out. So, if you do plan on spending the summer poolside, wear a bathing cap. They may not be fashionable but they also keep your hair from getting into the pool and stuck in the filter.
What about allergies?
Some people do develop allergies to pool chemicals which usually manifest themselves through the appearance of red eyes and itchy skin. If you notice that you have some of these symptoms, try wearing goggles the next time you swim. To combat itchy skin, avoid wearing perfumes, deodorants, and oils before swimming, and if possible, shower before entering the pool. Your body’s oils (natural and added through the use of antiperspirants and scents) mingle with ammonia and chloramine and can cause reactions. Ammonia and chloramine mixing occurs generally when you don’t have enough chlorine in your pool. Technically, these allergic reactions are not caused by too much chlorine, but not enough. Many people think they should have less chlorine in their pools. This is not the case.
If you’re unsure if your itchy, red eyes and skin are coming from your pool, visit your doctor. If pool chemicals are the culprit, contact a professional pool company like Solda Pools to help you determine your chlorine levels and fix the issue. You shouldn’t have to wear a wetsuit and snorkel equipment just to swim in your own pool!