Does Chlorine Help Acne?


Whether by swimming in chlorine-heavy pool or showering in water that has chlorine at home, there are so many ways through which people can come in contact with this chemical. Through this contact, people with acne-prone skin can experience different sorts of reactions on their skin conditions.


When it comes to the effects of chlorine on acne, there are different schools of thought. To some people, chlorine is one of the few substances that are capable of improving the skin condition while others believe that chlorine worsens it.


However, neither sides of the debate are entirely wrong because chlorine can help or worsen acne depending on several other factors surrounding the exposure of acne-prone skin to it. So while chlorine can help acne in a few cases, it is wrong to categorically recommend its use as a treatment for acne condition.


In respect to the various effects of chlorine on acne-prone skins, it is important for you to understand the relationship between chlorine and acne before exposing your skin to the chemical. Continue reading to learn more about this complex relationship.

Why Do People Use Chlorine In Pools And Jacuzzis?

Chlorine is a popular chemical that is often used as a disinfectant for water bodies to prevent the growth of pathogens that can be harmful to our health. If artificial water bodies are left untreated, giardia, e. coli, Shigella, and other pathogens are capable of breeding in the water; thus, making the water to be unhealthy for various activities.


For these reasons, chlorine is usually mixed with artificial water bodies to get rid of these pathogens as well as algae. Therefore, you can be certain that most swimming pools and Jacuzzis have water bodies that have been mixed with chlorine.

How Does Chlorine Help Acne-prone Skin?

Considering that almost everybody baths in swimming pools and Jacuzzis, people with acne-prone skin are also constantly exposed to chlorine-heavy water bodies that may lead to different reactions on their skin condition. These reactions can either be positive or negative.


After swimming in chlorine-heavy pools and Jacuzzis, it is common for people to notice an improvement in their skin condition; thus, they may ascribe the improvement to the effects of chlorine. However, the improvement is usually temporary in most situations.


When an acne-prone skin is exposed to chlorine, it enters through the skin pores to kill some of the acne-causing bacteria that are present. Also, it makes sure that there is a removal of excess oil that is found beneath the outermost layers of the skin. Resultantly, chlorine provides a temporary relief to the acne condition due to its antibacterial properties.


Moreover, it is possible for people swimming in the pool to experience an improvement in their skin because of the exposure to vitamin D. When people are swimming in chlorine-heavy poor outside, they are constantly exposed to vitamin D which is provided by the sunshine. The exposure to vitamin D will ensure that the acne condition is improved; therefore, people can assume that chlorine in the swimming pool is the reason for the improvement in their skin condition.


Similarly, people can get nitric oxide from the sunshine. Nitric oxide is a powerful agent that can combat inflammations. Hence, any inflammations caused by acne breakouts can be reduced due to the exposure to sunlight when swimming in chlorine-heavy water bodies.


Furthermore, the fact that people relax and reduce the stress they experience while they are in a pool or Jacuzzi can help improve their acne condition. Stress is one of the primary causes of acne breakouts in many people; hence, when people relax before, during or after swimming, their stress is significantly reduced; thus, leading to an improvement in their acne condition.


Consequently, the improvement noticed in the acne after exposure to chlorine may not even be due to the effects of chlorine itself, but rather as a result of several other activities done during the same time of exposure to the chemical. However, there is no denying that there are a few cases in which acne condition has been improved after getting exposed to chlorine.

Can Chlorine Cause Acne?

In some situations, chlorine can cause acne. If your acne-prone skin is exposed to chlorine for a long time, it is likely that you are going to experience more breakouts. The reason for this is not far fetched. At the beginning of your exposure to chlorine, the antibacterial effects of chlorine will lead to the death of the acne-causing bacteria; however, after long-term exposure, the skin itself will dry out alongside the acne.


The skin becomes dry because chlorine combats the proteins that are required by the skin to grow properly. So, the outermost layers of the skin are deprived of the nutrients they need. To compensate for the dryness of these layers, the sebaceous glands will begin to function more than before to produce more natural oils that can be used by the layers of the skin. However, when extra oil is produced, the pores of the skin will be clogged and this results in more acne breakouts.


Although the adverse effects of chlorine on the skin stop at merely drying out the oil in some people, others may experience more effects as the chemical may disrupt the buffer that prevents several kinds of bacteria from entering into the skin. The major function of the acidity of the skin is to serve as a barrier that ensures that harmful microorganisms are not allowed into the skin.


Nevertheless, the exposure of the skin to chlorine may disrupt this buffer; thus, making it difficult for it to protect the skin against the invasion of these microorganisms. Therefore, harmful microorganisms can find their way into the skin to cause more acne breakouts as a result of chlorine. This is specifically true for people whose skins are sensitive and thin.


Another way by which chlorine can be harmful to the body is through its ability to kill the good bacteria. These bacteria are found in the intestines and are important for metabolism and other processes within the body.


So, when you are constantly exposed to chlorine, there may be a nutrient imbalance, increase in intestinal permeability, intestinal infection and so on. In fact, excess exposure to chlorine can lead to miscarriages, stillbirths, and inborn fetal impairments. Chlorine can also lead to skin burn, changing the color of the hair and lots more. All these risks have short-term and long-term effects on the health of a person.


If the side effects of chlorine on the body, especially acne-prone skins, are duly considered, it is advisable for people to avoid exposure to this chemical for a long time. Without a doubt, chlorine cannot be depended on as a treatment option for acne.

How To Protect Your Skin Against Chlorine?

Perhaps you have been exposed to chlorine or you are about to swim in a chlorine-heavy swimming or Jacuzzis and want to protect your acne-prone skin against the effects of this chemical. Here are a few things you should do:


  • Reduce or stop swimming – By reducing how often you swim, you will reduce your exposure to chlorine and thus, protect yourself against its effects on your acne-prone skin. If possible, stop swimming in pools until your acne is finally gone. Lakes and oceans are chlorine-free alternatives you can consider for swimming.
  • Wash off the chlorine – Immediately after swimming in a chlorine-heavy pool, shower with pure water to wash off the chlorine. This action will reduce the effect of the chlorine on your body.
  • Use lotion before getting exposed to chlorine – You can easily shield your acne-prone skin from chlorine to an extent by applying lotion before swimming. If this is combined with washing your body after swimming, you can protect your skin against the effect of chlorine completely.
  • Use pool-specific products – There are certain products that are formulated to be used after swimming so that they can protect the body against the effects of chlorine. So you can get rid of chlorine residue in your body by using these pool-specific products.
  • Exfoliate and moisturize your skin after swimming – If you have swum in a pool, consider exfoliating your skin to remove the residues of chlorine in your skin. Afterward, you can moisturize your skin twice daily to prevent dryness that can equally cause acne.
  • Avoid the use of chlorine-heavy water at home – Many people are also exposed to chlorine-heavy water at home and this can lead to acne breakouts. Therefore, it is important for you to make sure that the water you are using at home is not constantly exposing you to chlorine.


Exposure to small amounts of chlorine can be sometimes good for the body as it can help acne, and this is why some acne skin care products have the chemical as one of their ingredients.


Nevertheless, when an acne-prone skin is repeatedly exposed to chlorine, the chemical can cause acne. So, if you have an acne-prone skin, it is important for you to be careful of the substances that your skin is exposed to and they can either improve or worsen your acne conditions.



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