End My Fight Against Chlorine Problems

I’m turning 50 this year and often traveling to teach in different pools. As a Watsu instructor, I used to have no problem with teaching 1 or 2 classes in a raw, but now I’m finding it quite difficult sometimes to cope with chlorinated water for such extended period of time. I have been trying with my routine of taking a long bath to sweat out and moisturizing every night, but it doesn’t work sometimes and my skin starts itching. So I looked for a solution and I would like to share my findings.

Vitamin C neutralizes chlorine.

I’ve read that somewhere. When I googled it, I learned that Vitamin C is a pretty popular dechlorinator. But does it work for chloramines? Wikipedia says it works for both chlorine and chloramines.

Chloramines are the product of Chlorine sanitizing organic threats. But we are organic too. Our hair, skin and sweat react with the pool chlorine to make chloramines, which remain bonded to the hair and skin. This bond makes them very difficult to wash away. When we leave the pool, we are covered with chloramines. And chloramines are what damage and irritate our hair and skin.

Here’s how Vitamin C (Sodium Ascorbate) reacts to neutralizes chlorine. C5H5O5CH2ONa + HOCL → C5H3O5CH2OH + NaCl + H2O
Sodium ascorbate + Hypochlorous acid → Dehydroascorbic acid + Sodium chloride + water

A study shows that approximately 2.8 parts of sodium ascorbate are required to neutralize 1 part chlorine.

Vitamin C spray can neutralizes chloramines on our skin?

There’s no other way but to try on myself to find that out. I just had back-to-back Watsu 1 and 2. For these 11 days in the pool, I ran my experiment, also with the help of students.

It works!!

I found that it makes my life a whole lot easier. I don’t have to take bath. Just take a spray and a shower one time after pool, and finish with moisturizer. That is all. And I have 11 days free of skin irritations. It was soooo easy! I never knew 11 days of in-water life can be so easy if I don’t have skin stress. All the student feedbacks were also positive. The ladies liked that their hair and skin feel ’normal’ and no more smelling like chlorine.

Here’s how we tried it.

Vitamin C Spray Recipe

  • Water 300cc
  • Sodium Ascorbate 7g

I purchased a bag of ‘sodium ascorbate’. It was like $20 for 1kg. ‘Ascorbic acid’ is another form of Vitamin C and is more efficient dechlorinator, but it lowers pH to less than 3. Not good for body spray. Don’t use lemon juice, either! It’s extremely acid, pH 2. ‘Sodium ascorbate’ doesn’t change pH and it works just like ascorbic acid. It dissolves easily too.

Get a mist spray bottle of 300ml. Use filtered water to fill and put in 7g of sodium ascorbate. Or just make 2% to 3% solution. The solution doesn’t last long as it’s easy to oxidize. It is advisable to mix right before you spray.

When you come out of the pool and to the shower room, spray all over yourself. A mist spray helps to spray to your back and hair. You can remove the spray top and pour the rest over your body too. It takes within seconds to dechlorinate. You can just rinse it off, and body wash and shampoo normally. Moisturize well after shower.

<After note>
I have kept doing this and learned that the solution doesn’t have to be so specific. Now I just use a small bucket, mix in Vitamin C powder, and just dump it from the top of my head. The solution is much thinner than 3% but it seems that it only requires certain amount of Vitamin C. I’ve been using about 10g at a time. I don’t even measure it. Pour it down your body and the neutralization happens in an instant.

Please note that Vitamin C spray only neutralizes the chlorine and chloramines. It doesn’t solve all our Chlorine-related problems. Vitamin C doesn’t moisturize your skin, doesn’t restore your natural skin barrier, and doesn’t stop the itching. You have to take care of your skin and hair with your moisturizing routine.

If you use rash guard in the pool, rinse it with this Vitamin C solution, and it will last a lot longer. You don’t have to worry about your swim suit which is usually made from nylon and polyethylene. But rash guard is made from polyurethane which is more stretchy, and Chlorine can eat it out.

I hope this information will help you cope with chlorinated pool. If you worry about side effects, I advise to try Vitamin C spray for a patch test on a small area of your skin before you spray all over your body.

Good luck and enjoy water!