Why swimming sucks.

Or, more accurately, why chlorine sucks.

I try to swim twice a week. Twice a week swimming = my skin and hair hate me. After swimming, my usual post shower routine includes three different lotions/oils/moisturizers and caking so much moisturizer on my face that you’d think I were getting a fancy spa treatment until you see that my dry skin sucks it all up within about two minutes. For real.

My bike also enjoyed the lake.

My bike also enjoyed the lake.

When I started swimming, I sort of freaked out. I didn’t know how to handle this. It’s not just annoying, it can hurt. Sometimes my legs are so dry and red that even wearing pants is painful. Rolling over at night can wake me up. And this is with an insane moisturizing routine.

I’ve learned some things that I wish I had known when I started so now I’m sharing. I use moisturizing bar soap in the shower and then use an in-shower moisturizer. This helps a lot. But, be careful! The in-shower moisturizer can leave the tub slippery! Then, I use oil and lotion when I get out of the shower. Recently I’ve been using coconut oil and I love it! I’ve used a ton of different lotions and body oils (when you have to apply it several times a day, going through a bottle doesn’t take long).

My face is almost as bad! Dry skin is just painful. Luckily, my goggles protect my eyes a bit but the rest is unpleasant. Recently, I’ve been throwing on coconut oil as much as necessary. (Side story: a couple days ago I was outside in sub-zero temperatures after applying coconut oil to my face. Apparently it was still in my eye brows and it froze!) Coconut oil has the added bonus that is is antibacterial and has really decreased the number of breakouts I have.

This Burt’s Bees night cream is also really good–but I don’t only use it at night. I would rename is “Intense Hydration After Pool Cream”. After swimming, I never rub my moisturizer in. I put on about three times more than I normally would and just leave it, it all gets absorbed really quickly. Moisturizing is also really important for winter running as the cold wind can leave skin irritated and red.

On to hair. My normal hair routine is pretty hands off. My hair is super thick and curly/wavy so trying to tame my mane is really not worth the time. I quit coloring my hair just before I started swimming. Though this was not planned, it was good timing as colored hair and chlorine could only lead to problems. I was using fancy-pants Aveda shampoo and conditioner and love it when I’m not swimming. But, the chlorine requires more (Aveda may something that would work, but I haven’t found it…or even looked for it). I use Aussie Aussomely Clean shampoo and their 3 Minute Miracle Deeeeep Conditioner. Then I layer on all sorts of products to keep it tamer and not so frizzy.

I’m always open to advice of how to combat chlorine! This summer I spent some time in Okoboji (pretty much the greatest place on earth) and swam there a bit and it was amazing! I wish I could always swim there and avoid all this crazy chlorine nonsense.