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Will chlorine make my acne worse this summer?

16th July 2015  : 

Summer by the pool

During the summer holidays us Brits love nothing more than jet setting off to the Mediterranean, slapping on the sun cream and lounging by a pool. However, over recent years there have been studies into the effect of chlorine on our skin - with some suggesting that it can aggravate break outs and sometimes even causing acne. So should we think twice before diving into the hotel's swimming pool this year? Should we try and spend more time on the beach instead?

Trained dermatologists understand that a good indication of skin health is its barrier function; how effectively it regulates what goes in and out of the body. Acne is just one of the skin conditions that is a result of compromised skin barrier function, making break outs more common and increasing their severity. Studies have shown that longer exposure to chlorine decreases the skin's water-holding capacity, drying it out and jolting its oil production into overdrive. This excess oil not only intensifies current acne symptoms, but it instigates further breakouts.



However, there are many acne sufferers who claim that this initial dryness helps their skin to clear up, saying that chlorine's anti-bacterial function soothes irritated skin. Acne is caused by a build-up of bacteria, so this would supposedly make sense. Chlorine is renowned for drying out hair and skin, forcing people to pile on the moisturizer after a day in the pool, yet for the skin of an acne sufferer, which produces excess oil, this could be a blessing in disguise.

The key thing to remember is balance; over-exposure to chlorine can often worsen acne, initiating breakouts and compromising the skin's barrier function. Post-swimming pool however, it is essential to keep moisturised and hydrated. Drinking plenty of water and using sk:n SPF 50 sunscreen will maintain your skin's moisture levels and provide much-needed protection from the sun's rays.

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