Why Do Swimmers Put Aquaphor on Their Face?

Chlorine from the pool or salt from the sea, while they keep our swimming environments clean or buoyant, can wage a war on our skin, leaving it dry, irritated, and sometimes itchy. Those who spend significant amounts of time in the water know this all too well. And there’s one common solution among swimmers that addresses this problem: Aquaphor.

You might be wondering, what is Aquaphor? Why do swimmers put it on their faces? Is it necessary for both saltwater and freshwater swimming? What about potential side effects, alternatives, or its effectiveness across different skin types? And, are there ways it can enhance swimming performance?

In the following sections, we will explore the answers to these questions, providing insights and shedding light on the whys and hows of using Aquaphor for swimming. Let’s dive in!

What is the purpose of swimmers putting Aquaphor on their face?

Swimmers often apply Aquaphor on their face as a protective layer before they hit the water. The purpose of this is to guard the skin against the harsh effects of chlorine in pool water, salt in sea water, and other potential irritants. Aquaphor, a petroleum-based ointment, helps to create a barrier that keeps moisture in and potentially harmful elements out. It can also prevent dryness and irritation caused by prolonged exposure to water and can assist in preventing sunburn.

Is Aquaphor recommended for both saltwater and freshwater swimming?

Yes, Aquaphor can be beneficial for both saltwater and freshwater swimming. In saltwater, Aquaphor can protect the skin from the drying effects of the salt. In freshwater, particularly in chlorinated pools, it can shield the skin from the harsh effects of chlorine. In both cases, Aquaphor can help prevent the skin from becoming dry, irritated, or itchy after swimming.

How often should I apply Aquaphor when swimming?

Generally, swimmers should apply Aquaphor on their face immediately before they start swimming. The ointment is meant to act as a barrier, so it should be applied just prior to exposure to water. If you are planning on swimming for an extended period of time, or if you find that your skin is particularly sensitive, you may choose to reapply periodically, such as during breaks.

How long does the effect of Aquaphor last while swimming?

The protective effect of Aquaphor will largely depend on your individual skin type and the conditions in which you’re swimming. On average, the effect can last anywhere from one to several hours. However, it’s important to note that Aquaphor can be washed away with time, especially if you’re swimming vigorously or wiping your face. Therefore, reapplication may be needed for longer swimming sessions.

How should I apply Aquaphor for maximum benefit before swimming?

For maximum benefit, apply a generous layer of Aquaphor on your face, ensuring that you cover all areas, particularly those that are exposed to the water. You don’t need to rub it in completely; a visible layer of ointment is a good thing in this case. However, be careful to avoid getting Aquaphor in your eyes, as it may cause discomfort.

Are there any possible side effects of using Aquaphor on the face for swimming?

While Aquaphor is generally considered safe for most skin types, there can be potential side effects. Some people may experience skin irritation or allergic reactions, such as redness, swelling, itching, or rash. If you have particularly sensitive or acne-prone skin, Aquaphor might clog your pores and cause breakouts. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to do a patch test before applying it all over your face.

Are there alternatives to Aquaphor that swimmers can use?

Yes, there are many alternatives to Aquaphor that swimmers can use such as zinc oxide and Cetaphil. Some prefer petroleum jelly products like Vaseline. Others might opt for sport-specific creams, barrier lotions, or even waterproof sunscreens that offer a similar protective effect. It’s important to choose a product that suits your skin type and your specific needs.

Can using Aquaphor improve swimming performance?

While Aquaphor doesn’t directly improve swimming performance, it can certainly help maintain comfort while swimming, which may indirectly impact performance. By reducing skin dryness and irritation, swimmers can focus more on their technique and less on any discomfort they might be experiencing. However, it’s important to note that Aquaphor does not enhance speed or endurance.

Is Aquaphor effective for all skin types?

Aquaphor is generally safe and effective for all skin types. However, individuals with very sensitive or acne-prone skin might need to exercise caution. Since Aquaphor is an occlusive, it can potentially clog pores and cause breakouts for some people. Always do a patch test if you’re unsure how your skin will react.

Is Aquaphor also used by professional swimmers?

Yes, many professional swimmers use products like Aquaphor to protect their skin from the drying effects of water and chlorine. It’s a common practice in the swimming community, especially among those who spend extended periods of time in the water. However, personal preferences and individual skin needs may vary, so not all professional swimmers may use it.