Chlorine Rash

A chlorine rash is condition that can unfortunately develop with exposure to excessive chlorine in swimming pools.  Skin that is in contact with varying levels of chlorine can be sensitive to the chloramines that are produced as a byproduct of the sanitization process in pools that aren't balanced and maintained properly. 

chlorine rash

A swimming pool rash can develop within as little as a few hours after swimming and cause an unsightly rash accompanied by itching, swelling and redness.  In some individuals the rash can develop with very little exposure and for some its the result of repeated exposure over many weeks depending on the individual level of sensitivity. 

The culprit is usually the byproduct of chlorine after it comes in contact with sweat, urine and other biological substances often found in swimming pools.  The chloramines can be found in the form of dichloramines, monochloramines or trichloramines that are all known irritants to skin and other mucous membranes including the ear, nose or throat and can lead to a chlorine allergy or sensitivity. 

One of the many benefits of a salt water pool is that chloramines aren't produced during the natural chlorination process.  The absence of chloramines is the reason why salt water systems are considered the healthiest pools in the world.  Many pool owners that have upgraded to salt water chlorination have experienced alleviated allergy symptoms and no red or irritated eyes or skin. If you would like more information about chlorine be sure to visit our what is chlorine page. 

Chlorine Rash Symptoms

If you experience any of the symptoms below you may be experiencing a chlorine sensitivity that can lead to a rash or irritation of the skin or mucous membranes.  They range from mild to severe and can occur during or sometime after exposure to chlorine. 

  • Itchy and dry skin that can result in flaking or peeling
  • Irritation including red or scratchiness of the eyes
  • Difficulty breathing including coughing and sneezing
  • Pain in the abdomen or chest accompanied by vomiting 

In addition to the above symptoms there may be other adverse health side effects.  If you have a chlorine sensitivity, allergic reaction to chlorine or a rash you should seek the advice of a medical professional.

Chlorine Rash Treatment and Prevention

There is no cure for a rash caused by chlorine other than reducing or eliminating exposure but there are options to alleviate pain and discomfort.  If you are experiencing pain or discomfort you can try over the counter allergy eye drops or rinsing exposed areas with cold water immediately after swimming.  It's a good idea to always have a shower before and after swimming to remove any residual chlorine to limit prolonged exposure. 

Skin discomfort from chlorine can be alleviated with a hydrocortisone cream or cold compress to reduce swelling.  A great option is to apply vaseline to areas of the body before swimming that are most sensitive or have a history of drying or flaking.  There are many chlorine removal sprays on the market that are specifically made to reduce the effects of chlorine exposure by eliminating residue after swimming. 

Chlorine is used worldwide for sanitation for drinking water, water treatment and swimming pools and is good to arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible.  We hope you found this information helpful and hope you get back to enjoying swimming as soon as possible!


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