Overlooked Danger Ages Summer Skin
As summer approaches, you probably think of the effects of sun on your skin. And too much sun can make your skin look old before it’s time. But there’s a summer danger that can be far worse than sunburn… but it’s rarely recognized.
The problem is chlorine. It’s everywhere… and in summer, it can take quite a toll on your skin. Repeated exposure to chlorine can leave your skin looking dry and rough – old before its time.
Chlorine is found in most water supplies… so you probably drink it and bathe in it every day. When you add hours of pool time in the summer, chlorine can do real damage to your skin.
Chlorine is a poison. It’s added to drinking water to kill bacteria. But it also damages and kills the cells in your body. And here’s where part of the problem comes in. You see, you don’t just drink that chlorine.
When you shower, you’re washing in it. And it absorbs well through your skin. So every shower you take does a little damage to your skin.
Add heat to your shower – as in hot water – and the chlorine releases small amounts of poisonous gasses – such as chloroform. When you breathe these gasses in, they do even more damage.
We get hot and sweaty in the summer, so we tend to shower more often. This increases our exposure to chlorine even more. When you add in a few hours at the pool, you’re asking for real trouble.
You know how pool water often stings your eyes? That’s chlorine… and the stinging is telling you cells are being damaged.
When chlorine gets into your skin it forms acids – such as hydrochloric acid – which damage and destroy skin cells. Chlorine also lowers your skin’s ability to hold water, drying it out. And if you already have skin problems, chlorine can make them far worse.1
Plus, chlorine has been linked to breathing problems2 and even reproductive issues in males!3 so avoiding this summer danger is doubly important.
Fortunately, you can.
An easy way to cut your exposure is to keep your showers as cool – and as short – as you can. Shorter, cooler showers limit the amount of chlorine you breathe in or absorb through your skin.
Filters are an even more effective solution. Activated charcoal does a good job removing chlorine from tap water. Even if you can’t afford a whole-house system, you’ll find many inexpensive tap- and shower-mounted filters.
Many pool disinfection systems that don’t use chlorine are available. If you own a pool, these non-chlorine systems are a healthier option. If you belong to a club or live in a condo with a pool, urge the management to switch to a non-chlorine system.
Many city pools still use chlorine, too. Urge your local officials to switch to safer disinfection methods. Meanwhile, swimming at a lake or at the ocean are better options.
You can also help minimize the aging effects of chlorine by taking care of your skin.
Glycerin naturally hydrates, enhances skin barrier function and promotes healing.4 so I recommend using skin care products that contain this natural moisturizer.
Aloe vera also enhances healthy, younger-looking skin by promoting production of collagen and elastin – your skin’s major building blocks.5
Another skin nutrient to look for is resveratrol. Test-tube studies show it may also promote skin repair.6 if you add it to your list of skin nutrients, it may help minimize the damage done by chlorine.
Yours in continued good health,
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team1 Seki, T., et al, “Free residual chlorine in bathing water reduces the water-holding capacity of the stratum corneum in atopic skin,” J Dermatol. 2003 Mar;30(3):196-202. 2 Drobnic, F., et al, “Assessment of chlorine exposure in swimmers during training,” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Feb 1996; 28(2): 271-274. 3 Nickmilder, M. and Bernard, A., “Associations between testicular hormones at adolescence and attendance at chlorinated swimming pools during childhood,” International Journal of Andrology. Oct 2011. 34(5 pt2): e446–e458. 4 Fluhr, J.W., et al, “Glycerol and the skin: holistic approach to its origin and functions,” Br J Dermatol. 2008 Jul;159(1):23-34. 5 Danhof, I.E., “Potential reversal of chronological and photo-aging of the skin by topical application of natural substances,” Proceedings of the International Congress of Phytotherapy. Jan 31, 2006; 7(7): S53 – S56. 6 Khanna, S., et al, “Upregulation of oxidant-induced VEGF expression in cultured keratinocytes by a grape seed proanthocyanidin extract,” Free Radic Biol Med. Jul 1, 2001; 31(1): 38-42.