Do you experience dry skin after using a hot tub? This issue is fairly common among most spa users. Since your skin is the only buffer between you and hot tub water, it may lose hydration from chemicals and high temperatures.
However, these sanitizing chemicals are necessary in spas to kill bacteria and other microbes that thrive in hot tub water. Remember – it’s easier to treat dry skin after the hot tub than to go without water sanitizer and treat an infection or sickness!
Skin is the largest organ in the body and receives a third of all the blood that is circulated in the body. It is often the first to show any imbalance or deficiency from important nutrients. Taking care of your skin is crucial to your overall health both inside and outside the spa.
Frequent hot tub users should practice good skin care with hot tub soaking at a maximum recommended time of 15 minutes. Although the hot water of a spa feels wonderful and applies hydrotherapy to your aching muscles, every minute in the spa is damaging to your skin. Hot water strips your skin of its natural oil barrier which is necessary to trap moisture to keep your skin smooth and moist.
Your skin holds a pH balance of 5.5. When it’s too alkaline, skin dries out. When it’s too acidic, the skin may be inflamed or red. This explains why balanced hot tub water that holds a neutral pH of 7.2 – 7.6 dries our skin out, it is becoming too alkaline. Soaking in the hot tub also rinses precious oils from our skin causing it to dry.
Following these tips in and outside the spa to help you revive and protect your dry, sensitive and irritated skin from sanitizers. Here are our 8 skin care opinions for hot tub users for prevention and protection from dry skin.
Drinking lots of water before, during and after your soak will help combat the dehydrating effects a hot tub may cause. Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages while in the hot tub, as they can increase dehydration.
As we mentioned, the skin is an organ and without water your skin will turn dry and feel tight. By increasing your daily intake of water, your skin will start to show a radiant glow that you and others will begin to recognize after a few weeks.
2. Lip Care.
Lips are often neglected and forgotten when it comes to skin care. They are subject to becoming dehydrated and chapped more rapidly than the rest of your skin because lips don’t contain oil glands like the rest of your skin.
Lip moisturizers that contain glycerin, humectants or water-based emollients are the best to retain moisture and return lips to a plump, healthy appearance. Products that contain a fragrance may be more harm than its worth; peppermint and camphor can dry or irritate your lips.
My personal favorite is Burt’s Bees – vanilla bean* moisturizing lip balm. This specific lip balm contains beeswax, cocoa butter, shea butter and natural scented extracts to moisturize lips effectively.
3. Rinse and Pat Dry.
Our skin is often ignored until it’s irritating us. When your skin is dried out it requires proper care and preventative measure to extinguish future problems.
After every hot tub soak, rinse off in the shower to remove any residue, pat dry for less than 20 seconds. Do not rub. Rubbing can irritate the dry skin and make it worse.
Properly exfoliating skin helps remove dead skin cells. Without exfoliation, these dead cells can accumulate, making it harder to retain moisture. By exfoliating you help your skin naturally replenish new cells which can increase the rate at which your skin renews itself.
What kind of exfoliant should you use? Salt or sugar. These are natural, making it the best and most common way to exfoliate. Lightly apply in the shower in a circular motion to physically rub off the dead skin then rinse.
Dead Sea Mineral Salts are great for exfoliating and can be directly added to the hot tub for an added water softener. They contain additional skin nourishing elements such as:
- Magnesium, which is essential for cell metabolism.
- Sodium Ions, which promote supple-feeling skin.
- Potassium, which helps muscles and nervous system.
5. Dry brush.
Dry brushing is an ancient skin care practice that has many benefits.
Similar to the effects of exfoliating, dry brushing helps shed dead skin cells, increases circulation and helps your skin absorb nutrients by eliminating clogged pores (MindBodyGreen, 2013). By cleaning clogged pores and dead dry skin, your skin is encouraged to regenerate new supple skin and retains moisture better.
6. Moisturize Skin.
Use a thick moisturizer within minutes after bathing or showering to trap moisture.
Simple moisturizing products are the best to use on dry skin, such as petroleum jelly. If using a rich moisturizer, use one with shea butter or ceramides that will help you replenish your skin barrier.
- Shea butter contains Vitamins A and E plus beneficial fatty acids that restore the skin’s natural moisture balance. NOTE: shea products that appear white in color have gone through an intensive refining process that has stripped the products of its natural healing properties.
- If you have chronic dry skin, products that contain ceramides are going to be most beneficial. Ceramides are naturally found in the outer most layer of skin to help retain moisture.
The Cerave skin care line is our favorite for keeping skin hydrated and soft. Packed with ceramides and pH balanced, they have light, medium and heavyweight moisturizers for any skin type.*
7. Eat Well.
We may be getting sick of hearing it, but the truth is, you really are what you eat. Eating well is more than just a fad. Raw foods contain nutrients to help keep skin hydrated. Foods with fatty acids like walnuts, flaxseed, salmon and olive oil are a few that can help hydrate the skin.
Other hydrating foods are:
- Cucumbers: with 95% water content, a cup of cucumber can be as thirst-quenching as a glass of water.
- Watermelon: as the name implies, is about 92% water and is also a good source of vitamin C.
- Strawberries: About 91% water and contain the most vitamin C of all berries.
- Salad greens: Spinach, kale, Swiss chard etc. are more than 90% water. They also contain many nutrients such as Vitamin C, fiber and antioxidant beta carotene which helps keep eyes and skin healthy.
- Butternut Squash: Contains 88% water and is packed with vitamin A.
- Papaya: at 88% water, this fruit delivers about 3 grams of fiber per serving!
- Yogurt: has between 85 – 88% water and also contains calcium and excellent probiotics.
8. Add Conditioner to Hot Tub Water.
Adding a water conditioner can prevent dry skin from the effects of spa chemicals or hard water.
Our recommended hot tub skin softener that is effective against dry skin is Just Soft by inSPAration. This product has skin-softening emollients, is unscented and alcohol free. It’s also non-foaming, safe for spa equipment and will not affect spa water chemistry. The silky moisture rich emollients protect your skin from the drying effects of chemicals and hard water deposits.
Or as mentioned earlier, you can use Dead Sea Mineral Salts as a water conditioner.
Sanitizer for Sensitive Skin
If you’re one of the 45% of the US population that have sensitive skin, then you may be looking for help when using your hot tub. Most chlorine and bromine sanitizing systems cause users to experience dry skin more than any other chemicals. This can be a sign of imbalanced sanitizer in the water. Test water frequently to stay within range.
If you’re looking for the best chemical for sensitive skin, we recommend using Cleanwater Blue. This mineral sanitizing system is perfect for sensitive skin.
Hot Tub Water Care
Starting with your hot tub water, you can eliminate some possible skin irritations.
- Keep water in balance. Do routine water tests to check pH, Total Alkalinity, water hardness, etc.
- Monitor sanitizer. If you have too much sanitizer in your hot tub, you could be doing more harm than good. Test at least weekly.
- Shock after each use. Shocking the water with an oxidizer such as Oxy-Spa helps boost your sanitizing system’s capabilities.
- Ask bathers to shower. Even at your own house, anyone using the hot tub should shower before using. Body wastes such as sweat, urine and feces makes their way off your skin and into the hot tub water.
- Clean the filter regularly. Dry, dead skin in hot tubs accumulate on and inside a filter. Rinse these weekly and deep clean at every water change, every 3-4 months. Replace filters annually.
- Skin holds a pH of 5.5 and ideal neutral hot tub water of 7.2 – 7.6 pH is too alkaline, causing skin to dry out.
- Hydration is important for your skin health.
- Exfoliating or dry brushing removes the outer layer of dead skin, revealing the moisture retaining healthy skin underneath.
- Eating foods with high water content is essential to skin care.
Hot tubs should be avoided if you are taking any medication that may cause drowsiness. These statements are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Always consult with your health care provider about any serious medical issue.
*Burt’s Bees and Cerave not affiliated with this blog or SpaDepot.com in any way. The references to these products are the opinions of the author.