effects of chlorinated water on skin
Safety, Swimming

The Effects Of Water On Human Skin

The weather is getting hotter as summertime approaches.  Every day, you turn around and that mercury in your thermometer has climbed up a little bit higher. 

Tenby St Catherine's Island

Probably, many of you are beach lovers and are starting to think about where your favorite bathing suit is located, because very soon, you will be hitting the beach and heading straight for the water.  This, of course, seems like the natural thing to do…

However, one important question you may or may not have considered is “What are the possible effects of water on human skin?”  Obviously, a quick dip in the sea isn’t necessarily going to have much of an effect either way, but what if you’re in there all day.  Does staying in the water too long have any negative side effects?

The “Prune Effect”

why does skin get wrinkly in the water

We all know that wrinkled skin results from staying in any kind of water too long, and we know this because it happens at home in the tub, at the beach, at the water park, etc.  You get out of the water, and look at your hands and feet and say to your friend, “Whoa, check out my prune-y fingers!”

Now you might be wondering if there’s anything wrong with having prune-y skin due to being in the water all day…

Our not-so-scientific answer to that is “No, not really”, so don’t worry too much about having wrinkly skin.   You’re not going to die from it, you silly goose. 

In fact, there’s nothing wrong with it at all, and it does go away rather quickly – but it does beg the very scientific question:

Why Does Human Skin Get All Wrinkly When You Stay In The Water Too Long?

why does skin get wrinkly in water

If you are wondering why this happens, you should first be aware of something called “sebum”.   Ok, so what is sebum?   Sebum is a layer of special oil on the surface of your skin that acts as a barrier against things like germs and other baddies, that might infect you if they had the chance. 

Sebum also keeps water from leaving the skin’s surface, so it works both ways.  Oh, and it also makes your skin temporarily waterproof.  Oh, and one more thing – because it contains bacteria, it can lead to some body odour.  Sort of a mixed blessing, right?  Sebum relates to acne, but that’s another story.

The Effects Of Water On Human Skin


Anyway, underneath this layer of protective oil known as sebum, human skin is covered in dead keratin cells, and these cells absorb water faster than any other cell. 

The hands and feet, because they get used to much, have extra dead skin cells, which means that they are particularly susceptible to taking on water, if the water can reach those cells.

Once the sebum gets eroded by the water, there’s nothing between these dead skin cells and the water, which immediately starts infusing itself into those cells and puffing them out, changing their appearance and texture.  One thing that happens is your grip improves.  Wow!

tim yarrow hand

Basically, that outer layer of dead skin (grossed out yet?) is now waterlogged, and will stay that way until it dries out again.

Want to see some really wrinkly skin?  We know you do!

An extreme case of super-wrinkly skin can be seen in the photo on our right, and it so happens to belong to a guy named Tim Yarrow.  More on him in a bit.

Effects Of Salt Water On Skin

As it turns out, salt water (as in sea water) in particular, has a number of awesome health benefits for your skin.  For instance, it can help with various things such as eczema or itchiness, not to mention psoriasis.  This is why you might hear about salt water baths being offered as a way to cleanse those with problematic skin.  Salt, as many of us know, acts as a cleanser.

salt water benefits

This is one reason why swimming in the ocean can actually be good for your skin, because while it might not be good to drink ocean water because the salt makes it toxic, swimming in sea water has many great benefits. 

Swimming in sea water even has a fancy name – “thalassotherapy”, which just means soaking in sea water to receive certain physical benefits, including better blood circulation.

Some of the benefits of this include increasing your immune system’s overall functioning, as well as promoting overall well-being and hydrating your skin.

Moisturizing Your Skin Using Sea Water

Skin moisture is one of the most important factors for your skin to look beautiful.  Signs of aging, which are always going to be inevitable, can be reduced simply by moisturizing your skin, and one way to do that is by soaking in sea water rich in magnesium.  This has been proven to make your skin look more radiant through hydration.  If your skin is typically dry, you can simply submerge your skin in water which contains 5% Dead Sea salt, and it will see benefits.  Tap water, on the other hand, is not so great for your skin. 

Sea Water & Improved Immune System

swimming with an elephant

The great thing about sea water is that it contains many natural “ingredients” that make us healthier, such as vitamins, mineral salts, amino acids, trace elements, as well as other living organisms that help to create antibacterial and antibiotic effects that contribute to a strong immune system. 

Experts say that sea water is actually very much akin to human blood in many ways, which makes it such, that when human skin comes into contact with sea water, it immediately integrates all of its key components quickly and efficiently.  Meanwhile, you as a human being, simply get to splash around and reap the benefits!  Not bad, right?

In addition, soaking in the sea allows your body to do two things simultaneously, which is that your skin takes in good minerals that it may be missing, while expelling all of the toxins that your body doesn’t need.  Overall, spending time bobbing around in the sea is a win-win, if you’re a human. 

Sea Water And Improved Circulation

As we said, there is something about the similarity between blood and sea water that helps to improve your blood circulation when you are swimming in sea water. 


Because your circulatory system is always taking oxygen-rich blood to and from your heart by way of your veins and arteries, swimming in sea water, or “thalassotherapy” is a process which aids your circulatory system, by helping your body regenerate important minerals, which have been lowered by factors such as poor diet, stress, and adverse environmental causes. 

To find out more about this, you can simply Google “thalasso therapy”.  Here is a video which will give you an idea how it works.  (Looks good to us!)

Sea Water And Well-Being

kids swimming at the beach

As you can see by now, swimming in sea water is great for us.  In fact, once we are in contact with sea water, some of our body’s natural healing abilities really start to kick in, allowing us to combat things like aches, pains, asthma, bronchitis, arthritis, and various inflammations.  If the sea water contains extra magnesium, your muscles will be more relaxed, your stress level reduces, and once you are out of the water, you may want to take a nice nap.  The presence of magnesium helps to calm your nerves, making you feel rather zen-like. 

Effects Of Chlorine On Our Skin

effects of chlorine on skin

Now, what about chlorinated water and its effect on the skin?

If you don’t know, chlorine is a chemical element that is also used as a disinfectant in places like public pools, and it is also found in tap water.  You can’t really have a pool without some amount of chlorine, or you’ll have nothing to fight the bacteria that will start to form, or the algae that will grow.  Basically, your pool would be a green swamp without it.

That said, if you are a sensitive type of person who gets rashes easily, some might say it’s not necessarily from the chlorine, but from something else in the water, and how long you are exposed to it.  We shouldn’t make it seem like chlorine is solely responsible for irritating your skin, although it could very well be the culprit. 

Overall, we need to, at least be careful with how much contact we have with chlorine, as it is a chemical, and it does get absorbed into our skin.  On the other hand, it’s also true that swimming around in a pool filled with bacteria would not be good either.  This is why sea water is great, because there is less bacteria, more minerals, and generally no chlorine.

Here are some of the effects of soaking your skin in highly chlorinated water:

  • Can cause rashes (eczema, acne, etc.)
  • Can cause cancer
  • Can cause premature aging
  • Can dry out your skin
  • Can deplete your skin of essential vitamins and minerals

Remember earlier when we mentioned Tim Yarrow? 

Well, this is the man who spent a world record-breaking 10 days underwater in a tank (in a mall, no less!).  So, how did that turn out?  Check out this video…

As you can see, Tim was fully submerged in water for 10 days, and he managed to survive the ordeal, although, if you ask us, it doesn’t seem like a very fun thing to do.  Not only was Tim ok, but, amazingly, his skin wasn’t too damaged by the experience.  So, if you wanted some sort of proof that being in water for a long time isn’t going to turn you into one giant prune, here it is!  That said, we see no reason to basically live underwater, unless you’re trying to break the world’s record like Tim here.

Thanks for reading!

The Effects Of Water On Human Skin
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The Effects Of Water On Human Skin
The weather is getting hotter as summertime approaches. Every day, you turn around and that mercury in your thermometer has climbed up a little bit higher. Probably, many of you are beach lovers and are starting to think about where your favorite bathing suit is located, because very soon you will be...(Read More)
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Beach Baby
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