Child swimming under water

Swim-proof your kids’ skin

April 25 is World Penguin Day. My children love to pretend to be penguins in the pool, gliding and diving underwater all day long. In addition to finding water-proof broad-spectrum sunscreens, there are other concerns for First Derm moms of kids who love the pool. Swimming in chlorinated water can dry the skin, making it itchy and red, and potentially aggravating pre-existing skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis. There are certain precautions you can take to swim-proof your kids’ skin.

Swim-Proof Your Kids’ Skin in 5 Easy Steps

  • Shower before diving in. I’m sure you have the cleanest kid around, and don’t think a stop in the shower is necessary to keep the pool clean. BUT, there are benefits to a pre-swim rinse, especially on hot days. The ammonia in our sweat combines with chlorine to intensify irritation.
  • Use a water-proof sunscreen designed to protect against chlorine. 
  • Shower after your swim to remove all traces of chlorine, be sure soap designed for sensitive skin.
  • Immediately moisturize. Try to find an after-swim moisturizer that further neutralizes chlorine. But any moisturizer – again designed for sensitive skin – will help.
  • Take an oatmeal bath. If your little penguin’s skin is still dry and flaky after all these preventative measures, have her relax in a warm (not hot!) oatmeal bath. Then slather on the moisturizer again.


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