Chlorine and Eczema

Updated: Sep 25, 2020


This is a topic I see asked about a lot in The Healing Tribe.

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 that Maryana recommended, it's made a big difference re skin dryness!"

The filter I used to recommend is no longer being sold so I'm looking for a replacement!

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? Bench top filters such as the Berkey are awesome.

TRY VITAMIN C IN THE BATH Ascorbic acid or Sodium Ascorbate (SA) are the safest compounds to neutralize chlorine. I recommend running the bath water extremely hot at first, adding a tablespoon while the tap is running and then allowing the bath to cool (10-15 minutes) to allow more of the chlorine dissipate via the steam. You can even add some SA powder to your shampoo and conditioner to help neutralize chlorine.

BEFORE SWIMMING Apply a natural emollient such as shea butter or emu oil to form a skin barrier, and minimise exposure.

AFTER SWIMMING Rinse off thoroughly and spray skin with a mix of 1t Sodium Ascorbate and water, and ideally follow with a bath of epsom salts and water.

USE SAFE LAUNDRY PRODUCTS

Ones that don't contain bleach or other things that may add to the chemical load our liver has to process, such as Molly's Suds or Green Goddess.

Good luck. I hope this overview helps those dealing with chlorine in their water.

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