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Swimming can be a great workout and just the thing if you're planning to lose some weight, and spend some quality time with the kids.
However, it's not the best thing for your skin and hair, and you'll find that even a few months by the pool can wreak extensive damage on both. Most pools are also so dirty that you might even want to reconsider swimming entirely.
They're fetid breeding grounds for all sorts of bacteria, including those that are only found in human feces. None of this is great for your skin and hair, and when you're told that the pool has been re-chlorinated, that's no consolation either.
So, here's how you can protect your skin and hair in the worst of the pool scenarios:
Wear The Right Gear: A silicone cap that lets absolutely no water in as well as ear plugs and goggles that keep the water out are must-haves. Because the water is saturated with chlorine and other unmentionables, you're chances of contracting conjunctivitis are almost 90% if you venture in without goggles.
Similarly, swimming without earplugs can get you a horrid fungal infection. The silicone cap prevents scalp infections and prevents chlorine from damaging your hair, or permeating into your scalp. Swimming with oily hair may sound like a good idea but isn't advisable.
Buy a high-quality silicone cap that fits your scalp snugly. This is available at most sports shops, or even online, and you'll have a vast variety to choose from. Similarly, don't skip the goggles and earplugs, because you don't want your fun by the pool to cause falling eyelashes and eyebrows, do you? Pool bacteria can be dangerous.
Slather On The Sunscreen: Find a good waterproof sunscreen with an SPF of at least 50 and apply it 15-20 minutes before you enter the pool. This will give your skin some time to absorb it. The sun's rays are amplified in water and you're more prone to tanning. It's like being surrounded by a giant mirror, so don't compromise with the sunscreen.
Shower Before And After: This is mandatory, and your coach will probably explain why. Showering before helps regulate body temperature and makes sure you're clean before you enter the pool. Showering after helps wash off all the harmful chlorine you accumulate on your skin and keeps you clean as well. Scrub yourself well and towel dry. And don't forget your hair.
Take An Iodine Dip: Most really good pools have iodine dips that ensure swimmers don't contract fungal infections on their extremities. Never forget the iodine dip; it reflects your concern for fellow swimmers as well.
Moisturize: Chlorine is very harsh on the skin and extended use tends to dry it severely. After showering, use a nourishing moisturizer liberally all over, and pay special attention to your knees and elbows. Moisturize well because you'd be shocked to know how much moisture is depleted when you swim in a chlorinated pool. A body lotion with sunscreen is actually your best bet, and works like a charm if you're planning on a swim.
These simple, no-fail techniques are sure to make your time at the pool problem-free!
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