The Effects of Pool Chlorine on Healing Wounds

Written by gail logan
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For most people, spending time in the pool is about having fun or relaxing in the sun, but did you know that going swimming in a properly chlorinated pool can actually benefit your skin? Minor cuts, scrapes, or burns react positively when immersed in chlorinated pool water during a day at the pool. Despite its benefits, chlorinated pool water is a chemical that can have adverse effects on the skin if not enjoyed with care. Check out the guidelines below before diving in.

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Function

Chlorine is added to swimming pools in order to prevent the growth of bacteria in the water. The chemical has antibacterial properties that will not only kill germs in a swimming pool but on anything in comes in contact with, including your skin. Often, someone who has a minor cut or even a mosquito bite and spends some time immersed in chlorinated waters will find his condition has improved after swimming the pool. When chlorine in the water penetrates the skin, it will help kill the bacteria in the wound. As the infection subsides, the wound will begin to heal.

Misconceptions

In recent years, chlorine has received a reputation for having adverse effects on the body. When applied in concentrated form or allowed to penetrate the body for excessively long periods of time, chlorine can have a negative impact on the skin. Discomfort can occur as a result of dryness or rashes can develop leading to irritation. However, properly chlorinated water in small doses does not pose any risk.

Internal Wounds

While chlorinated water can positively effect the skin, it should never be allowed to touch internal wounds, such as sores on the eyes or the lining of the mouth. The soft tissue lining these parts of the body are prone to irritation and have little defence against bacteria in the water. If chlorinated water touches these areas, they should be flushed thoroughly with clean, fresh water.

Acne

Sores on the face, such as those caused by acne, can benefit from limited but regular exposure to chlorinated water. Acne is often caused by bacteria and oil building up in the pores. Because chlorinated water has a drying effect, when it penetrates the pores it will help reduce oiliness and eliminate any existing bacteria. It should be noted, though, that exposure to chlorine for extended periods of time can exacerbate acne wounds. If the skin dries too much, the body will overcompensate for the dryness by increasing oil production, which can worsen acne. If you will be spending many hours in and around chlorinated water, rub an oil-free moisturiser into the skin directly after swimming to replenish the skin's moisture levels.

Warnings

Chlorinated pool water should never be allowed to touch open, fresh wounds. If the wound is releasing bodily fluids, such as blood, it could not only contaminate the pool water for other swimmers, but the infection may worsen due to the presence of bacteria in the pool water. If a wound has scabbed over then a swimmer can safely enter the water. The scab will help prevent any outside bacteria from entering the wound. Finally, it is important to remember that chlorine is a chemical that can cause adverse reactions when used excessively or in highly concentrated amounts.

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