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Chlorine & Eczema

by
author image Melissa McNamara
Melissa McNamara is a certified personal trainer who holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and communication studies from the University of Iowa. She writes for various health and fitness publications while working toward a Bachelor of Science in nursing.
Chlorine & Eczema
Chlorinated pool water can trigger symptoms of eczema. Photo Credit Boy With Orange Swim Goggles and Swim Fins image by Wimbledon from Fotolia.com

Approximately 30 percent of the population suffers from eczema with 85 percent younger than age of 5, according to Eczema.net. Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, has no cure, but most sufferers grow out of the condition before reaching middle school. In some situations chlorine can help the symptoms of eczema; however, it can also be an irritant and trigger symptoms.

Identification

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, eczema is often identified as the itch that rashes. The irritation from eczema can occur anywhere on the body causing the skin to be dry, flaky, red and uncomfortable. In some cases, the skin may become so dry that it cracks and bleeds.

Cause

The cause of eczema is unknown; however, there seems to be a correlation with eczema and a family history of the condition, according to the Center for Excellence in Dermatology. Household and environmental irritants also play a part in eczema. Eczema seems to be worse during winter months when skin has more difficulty retaining moisture due to the lack of humidity in the air.

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Treatment

To treat eczema, dermatologists often use steroid creams to reduce the redness and itching. According to the Center for Excellence in Dermatology, antihistamines are often used for eczema patients; however, an antihistamine does not make the skin better. Antihistamines increase sleepiness, which helps suffers sleep through the night without interruptions from itching and discomfort. According to MayoClinic.com, soaking the irritated areas in a mixture of ½ cup of chlorinated bleach and 40 gallons of water can provide relief because the bleach kills bacteria that grows on the skin and reduces the eczema symptoms.

Chlorine

Although chlorinated bleach is used to relieve symptoms, chlorine can also trigger eczema irritation. According to the Center for Excellence in Dermatology, public pools have high levels of chlorine, so be sure you or your child immediately showers upon exiting the swimming pool to remove all chlorine from the skin. While the skin is still moist, apply a moisturizer to keep the skin from drying out. Avoid swimming in chlorinated water during the winter when skin is already at its driest. During the summer, an eczema sufferer gets relief from sun because the sun toughens the skin, according to the Center for Excellence in Dermatology.

Considerations

If a burning is felt by chlorine or any other products, discontinue use. Do not continue using products that make your condition feel worse. For immediate relief from eczema irritation, soak in a cool bath and stay in air conditioning if you’re hot.

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References

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