Hot tubs & skin irritation

Written by dan keen
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Hot tubs & skin irritation
Hot tubs can cause skin irritations for a variety of reasons. (jacuzzi love image by .shock from Fotolia.com)

You can keep your hot tub “healthy” by properly balancing the chemistry in the water so that your hot tub users stay healthy as well. To prevent skin irritations and other related problems, hot tubs must be treated to handle contaminants that may be released into the water from people’s perspiration, body oils, cosmetics, deodorants and even soap. In addition, the water must be adjusted to set the proper pH and disinfectant levels to combat algae, and mould and mildew.

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Skin Irritation from Chlorine

The water in a hot tub requires the use of a sanitiser to kill bacteria. Chlorine is traditionally used for hot tub and swimming pool sanitation. However, bromine has become a popular substitute for chlorine, as it has less odour and causes less skin and eye irritation. If you are currently using a chlorine sanitiser, switch to bromine. However, never use both chlorine and bromine together in a hot tub, and never let them come in contact with each other outside of the tub, as a chemical reaction can cause a fire.

Hot Tub Skin Rash

When the chemicals in a hot tub fail to kill all of the bacteria, an infection can set in called folliculitis. This infection causes an inflammation of hair follicles. Children seem to be more susceptible to this rash than adults, and since males often have less moisture in their skin than females, they too are more likely to suffer folliculitis. This rash will often heal without treatment in a week to 10 days. Stubborn cases, however, may require an oral antibiotic or a corticosteroid injection from a doctor. A person suffering from this hot tub rash should avoid the tub and take only cool showers and baths until the condition has cleared.

Eczema Irritation

People with eczema, a dry, itchy skin condition, may experience an aggravated flare-up after soaking in a hot tub. This dry skin flare-up is caused by the skin failing to retain water, and not because it lacks oils, as one might suspect. Obviously, if this condition occurs, discontinue use of the hot tub and consult a physician.

Skin Lesion Irritation

Any infected lesions or open cuts on the body can be irritated by a stint in a hot tub. An incorrect level of sanitiser, an out-of-balance pH level or contaminants in the water can affect these conditions of the skin.

Eye and Nose Irritation

The skin is not the only part of the body that can experience irritation from using a hot tub. An excessive level of sanitiser can cause eye irritation. The nose and eyes may both be irritated by a build-up of excess sanitiser fumes that accumulate under a spa cover.

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