Chlorine and Eczema
Updated: May 7
This is a topic I see asked about a lot in my holistic eczema community.
Firstly, what is is chlorine? It is a common disinfectant with mild bleach properties - a gas at room temp but liquid when pressurised. Used in many types of household bleach products and of course for water treatment and pool sanitation. It's also a known irritant to our bodies.
So many parents of children with eczema find their skin is itchier and dryer when exposed to chlorine, especially when it's on a regular basis. Some of us are more sensitive than others - I know I can't stand the smell (it gives me a headache) and my skin feels a lot dryer afterwards which makes sense as it can affect the outer skin layer.
A big part of my approach in resolving eczema from the inside out is supporting the liver and gut to do their jobs efficiently and effectively, and reducing toxin load. We can't always avoid this trigger but we can take steps to reduce our exposure, and support our bodies when symptoms do appear.
Here are my tips for managing chlorine exposure:
BUY A DECHLORINATING SHOWER FILTER "We got the shower head filter attachment from iherb that Maryana recommended, it's made a big difference re skin dryness. No more chlorine smell in the water too." The one I used to recommend is no longer for sale sadly! Watch this space.
BUY A WHOLE HOUSE FILTER This is expensive but an excellent investment especially if you're not planning on moving any time soon, as then you're then also covered for drinking and washing water! Not only removes chlorine but also chemicals, pesticides, herbicides and not so nice bugs. Whole house seems a bit extreme? Benchtop filters such as the Berkey are awesome.
TRY ASCORBIC ACID OR SODIUM ASCORBATE Ascorbic acid or Sodium Ascorbate (forms of Vitamin C) are the safest compounds to neutralise chlorine. I recommend running the water quite hot, adding a tablespoon and allowing the bath to cool for 5-10 minutes to allow more of the chlorine dissipate through the steam. You can even add some SA powder to your shampoo and conditioner to help neutralise chlorine.
AFTER SWIMMING Rinse off thoroughly and spray skin with a mix of one tablespoon of Sodium Ascorbate with water, and ideally follow with a bath of epsom salts and water.
USE SAFE LAUNDRY PRODUCTS
Especially ones that don't contain bleach or other added nasties that may add to the chemical load our liver has to process. Head to my "Shop my Faves" page to find out which ones I love most!
Good luck. I hope this overview helps those dealing with chlorine in their water.