Could Chlorine Actually Help Your Acne?

by Miki Hayes

Despite everything you've probably learned, it's possible that chlorine is good for your skin. Kinda. It's no secret that chlorine can wreak havoc on skin and hair. Swimming in pools that are disinfected with chlorine are notorious for drying out skin and hair, making it necessary to slather on the moisturizer and immediately wash and condition hair right after hopping out. But can the chlorine in swimming pools actually help clear up breakouts? The answer is somewhat complicated.

If you suffer from breakouts on your face and/or body and have noticed after taking your first dip of the year, that your skin looks better, it's not an illusion. Chlorine has antibacterial properties, so if your breakouts are caused by bacteria, a little exposure to chlorinated water can help reduce the size and amount of acne. Additionally, the same reason that chlorine is bad for your skin and hair generally is what makes it helpful for acne. That is, it can dry out acne. Sounds like an easy solution, right? If you just go swimming everyday, breakouts should be eradicated? Unfortunately, it's not quite that simple.

As with most treatments, balance is key. So too much pool-time can actually aggravate acne. But not only can prolonged exposure to chlorinated water make existing acne worse, it can also cause additional breakouts. This is because, if the skin becomes too dry, oil production is kicked into overdrive. And excess oil clogging pores is one way to cause acne.

To make sure that your occasional swim sessions are working for you and not against you, it is important to not spend too much time in the water, immediately shower when you're done to wash any lingering chemicals off of your skin, and moisturize. Also, keep in mind that chlorine is caustic, and what we call "chlorine" in pools is actually a combination of a few different types of chemicals. So please, DO NOT try to DIY your own chlorine-based acne treatment. An occasional dip can help keep breakouts under control, but for the sake of your skin (and hair), balance your time spent in the pool, and don't forget to moisturize!

Image: Kaponia Aliaksei/Fotolia; Giphy (1)