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Hello,

I have what might be a weird question :). 

I've had some acne for a few years now. I got a membership to a swimming pool two months ago, and since that time my problems with acne seem to have worsened a lot. Trying to find what is causing this, I keep coming back to the swimming as the major change I have made. Could it be that the chlorine makes acne worse? If I am right, is there anything I can do to counteract this, by using certain creams or cleansers perhaps? Anyone here with a similar experience? I'd love to hear form you.

Thanks!

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I have never heard that.

In fact, chlorine is known to dry out the skin (and hair, unfortunately :(), and because of that I would assume that if anything exposure to chlorine in swimming pools would clear up acne by drying out the individual pimples, rather than making acne worse.

I would be looking for other sources of the reason for my acne, including hormonal reasons. Most acne is strictly hormonal. Then, look into a good prescription for Retin-A and hopefully you will have your acne cleared up in no time, I mean in a few weeks to a month. Regardless of what is causing your acne this should nip the issue in the bud pretty speedily.
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This isn't entirely true, even though on the face of it it makes a lot of sense. I started breaking out after swimming frequently as well, and at the time I read that yes, chlorine reduces the skin's ability to hold water. Your pimples may dry out, but in the long run your face makes up for it by producing more sebum and so you will get more acne. The key is to make sure to wash the chlorine off completely after swimming, not with a quick shower at the pool, but with a complete facial cleanse. I still swim and since doing this, my skin has improved leaps and bounds.
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Hi.. I am 22 and had experienced a similar problem. My skin is very oily I had recently been to a water park and the next day I noticed acne on my face. I had a clear skin though it was oily. Could it be because I am allergic to chlorine? I had done a skin care treatment in Beauti-med, Port Coquitlam. Now my skin is back to normalcy. But I have developed a phobia for chlorine water.
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I've never been one to break out loads and loads, but yeah, I do get them cycle related spots, I do and I hate them! The one time I signed up for a monthly community swimming pool pass with my then boyfriend who was all into sports and being active all the time, well, all I can say for sure is that my spots got much, much worse. And when I stopped swimming they went away. (Maybe it's 'cause I broke up with him, LOL, and the stress of living up to his expectations went away too.) So yeah can't say for sure that it's the pool that caused the breakouts but there's a high chance, you know? Anecdotal for sure but yeah, it happened to me.

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I did notice this is in kind of an odd place for the topic... perhaps a mod should move it or something?
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This is actually a much more complex question than you may think at first sight. 

Many people who start swimming notice that their acne gets better, and that is really true. Chlorine kills bacteria, which is obviously why it is used to disinfect pools in the first place, and most acne is caused by bacteria or at least made worse by them. It is no surprise that your acne can get better after swimming, then. 

However, too much of a good thing and you can end up with issues as well. When you go swimming very often, the chlorine in the pool may dry your skin out so much that it gets the message to go into overdrive with oil production. Once those sebaceous glands are hyperactive, your acne can get worse or you can develop acne where you previously had none. 

The answer is to limit swimming to once or twice a week, or to at least cleanse your face thoroughly after swimming and then to use a non-comedonegenic moisturizer afterward. This last part is key, because putting acne-causing moisturizer on your skin more often than you would otherwise do obviously has implications. Head over to your local pharmacy and ask for day cream recommendations for frequent swimmers with acne.

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Wow, there was a lot of useful info there. All of that makes sense, actually. I've noticed that my acne seems to clear up as soon as I hit the pool, but I attributed it to spending time in the sun because I only go to outdoor pools in the summer. So, it can actually be the chlorine! I only hit the pool about twice a week at most during the hotter months though, so I have never seen my acne be aggravated by it.
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Yes, it just goes to show that if something is good for you, it doesn't mean that more is better. If you still want to go swimming without the chlorine, some people have natural lakes, oceans or seas available locally. Those are good options. Besides that though, the best you can do is to cleanse thoroughly after you go swimming in a pool with chlorine and then to hydrate properly as well. Many of us come out of the pool exhausted and ready to relax. Not the best approach! That extra 10 minutes or so of skin care is more than worth it.
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User avatar
Celebrity
478 posts

I do not have acne, but I have certainly noticed that chlorine/swimming makes my dry skin even drier. My answer was to always take a shower at the swimming pool itself, which I don't really like but I do it anyway, with a gentle shower gel that also includes hydrating, oily beads. I also wash my face completely, also making sure I moisturize properly. Since my hair also got really dry, I decided to buy a cap. It looks a bit silly but it is so worth it to protect my hair from the chlorine. 

I hope those suggestions help you.

Rosie

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That describes my experience as well. I think everyone knows that an excess of chlorine is bad for your skin. However, after a nice swim if you just take a shower and clean up properly you can mitigate the bad effects of the chlorine to some extent. The shorter it is on your skin, the better it is going to be, the less drying I mean. I bought a thicker cream for use after swimming and that seems to have done my skin some good. I don't use a cap but I should probably look into it, because my ends are real dry and I'm sure it is because of the pool.
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As far as I understand it, one of the main issues with chlorine is that it damages the skin barrier function that stops bacteria from getting in and regulates hydration within the skin. Sure, if you already have acne, because acne is almost always caused by bacteria, and chlorine kills bacteria, you may see an improvement in acne in the short term. In the longer term with frequent swimming, on the other hand, that skin barrier is damaged and the skin becomes susceptible to acne. The main thing you need to do then is to protect that skin barrier function by using a good moisturizer before and after swimming and cleansing the skin thoroughly after you have been in the swimming pool so chlorine does not remain. 

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Hi. I am 26, had acne as a teen, and just recently began taking the birth control pill, which did cause me to get acne that I did not previously have. Now, I've been swimming a lot during July and rather than seeing this acne improve I noticed that it seems to stay the same or get worse if anything. Is there any chance that the swimming/chlorine is making my acne worse? What can I do? I love swimming to keep fit and don't want to stop it, but want to protect my skin as well. Should I come off the pill then? Help, please, I have no idea what to do here.
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User avatar
Health Ace
6880 posts
I would think the chlorine in the water would help dry up the acne.
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