Swimming for Eczema-prone skin

A recent trip to the pool inspired this post. The skin irritation associated with chemicals in pool water, salt and microbes in sea water and sun exposure makes me wary about my beach and pool visits. But I cannot miss all the fun from water sports.

Here are a few things I always bring with me.

My kit for swimming

1, Waterproof sunblock formulated for sports – to protect against harmful effects of the sun

It is important that the sunblock has a high enough SPF (to prevent sun burn), stable active ingredients (to ensure the sunblock functions) and is genuinely waterproof (!!) Many of the waterproof sunscreens in the market melts away fast and is only suitable for urban activities. If you are fussy about staying white, like all Asian women, choose one that has a high PA rating (to prevent getting tanned).

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Sport Sunblock Lotion SPF 50+ PA+++

The product is resilient to the sun for 4 hours of sports, including water sports. Although I do find myself tanning up even after use, it definitely prevents sunburn. I took this to my visit to the Great Barrier Reef and applied it thoroughly on my face and body 20 minutes before snorkelling for an hour, and relaxing on the deck for another hour and a half. Most importantly, my skin did not react to the product itself. Yes, sad enough, some sunscreens elicit reactions from my very sensitive skin.

2, Cleanser – to clean off sunscreen after swimming

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel

As someone with very sensitive skin, I use very gentle cleansers in my daily routine, which are not strong enough to wash waterproof sunscreens. This product came as a gift from a purchase. I left it in my drawer for the longest time because it is formulated for oily sensitive skin (I am far from oily). Later I found it great for sunscreen cleansing without irritating my skin.

3, Soothing mask – to soothe and calm irritated skin after swimming

Water evaporates from your skin as soon as you emerge from water. The loss of water makes your skin feel tight and uncomfortable. The residual salt, chemicals and microbes irritates skin. It important that you rinse your face with fresh water from the tap and slather on cream that calms and soothe skin.

Bioderma Sensibio Mask

A recent favourite of mine, it is an indispensable product I carry whenever there are any chances my skin may feel uncomfortable. I have it on while checking my photos after underwater photography and rummaging through my bag for clean clothes.

4, Moisturiser – to rehydrate skin after swimming

Olay Active Hydrating Lotion for Sensitive Skin

A cheap face moisturiser, it can double up as a body moisturiser so there is one less bottle to carry. Free from fragrance, it hydrates well when my skin is not irritated. It stings quite a bit though after swimming when my skin is irritated. I am willing to put up with it though for its cheapness.

5, Lip balm – to rehydrate and condition lips after swimming

Shiseido Benefiance Full Correction Lip Treatment

I put in my bag whichever lip balm that is convenient to locate.

6, Goggles with UV-block polarised lens – to protect eyes from sun and water

No matter how long before I apply waterproof sunscreen before I swim, some of it always get into my eyes. I am still in search of a waterproof sunscreen to apply around the eye area. Before I can identify one, I avoid applying sunscreen around my eyes when I go swimming. Instead, I bring along goggles with UV-block polarised lens. It serves dual duties of protecting my eyes from the sun and water.

If you wash your body and hair with more than water after swimming, I would suggest purchasing a 2-in-1 hair and body wash for babies. Baby formulae products are kind to eczema and wounds. I don’t have a recommended product for this since my body is not quite as eczema-prone as my face.

If you have little cracked wounds due to dry eczema, I would suggest applying a cream with anti-inflammation and antibiotic properties to kill bacteria.

Synalar-n cream

Synalar-n cream

This is a prescription-only medicinal cream in many countries but it is available in many pharmacies in Hong Kong.

Any suggestions ? Please let me know !

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