Discussions By Condition: Allergies

Eczema irritated by Chlorine?

Posted In: Allergies 5 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • September 11, 2008
  • 01:08 PM

Hi

I have been asthmatic (controlled) pretty much since birth. Apparently I had a latex allergy when i was younger, but little/no obvious sign of it now (but I rarely come into contact with latex). Other than that I have no real history of Eczema... until recently.

Basically I seem to have two main areas affected: my hand (inbetween my fingers and my palms) and my groin area (both within the hairline and on the more sensitive skin areas - I am female).

I have seen my GP, she has checked it out, she has ruled out infections/lice/"anything nasty". She says that it is "just the way you are" - i.e. since I am asthmatic, I am also prone to eczema (even though I haven't suffered from it before). That my skin will have "good times" and "sensitive times" and that I am going through a sensitive time now...

By a process of elimination and self-observation, I THINK that I narrowed down one of my biggest and most frustrating irritants to Chlorine. This reaction started about 9/10 months ago (I may have had a LITTLE before, but nothing as noticeable or as prelonged as this): the problem wasn't around 12 months ago, because I had a couple of holidays around that time, swam in pools quite a bit and didn't have a noticable reaction.

In the past 9/10 months, the times that I have had a reaction have been in the shower (hands), in the pool (hands) and after I exercise (I think that the sweat irritates the rash in my groin area and just makes it horribly itchy).

The reaction on my hands is quite amazing: they go from smooth, normal hands, to very rough, thick, dry feeling and - sometimes - on the verge of cracking. When they dry again (without medication and within an hour), they are virtually back to normal (I may or may not be left with a little bit of shedding skin between my fingers - depends how irritated they get). I guess that goes to the theory that the "hardening/thickening" around my fingers/palms are little blisters/rash that settles down pretty much as soon as the irritant has gone. The rash in the groin area seems more constant, but normally only becomes really irritated when I get hot/sweaty: either in a hot climate or during/after exercise (unfortunately I generally exercise for an hour or two five times a week... not something I want to decrease!). I am not overweight (I have exercised 4/5+ times a week for the past 15 years or so).

The affects are a LOT more marked if I go into a chlorinated pool or waterpark (I do this on holiday only - I don't tend to swim otherwise). Our household water supply is chlorinated (obviously not as much as a pool!) by our local water supply company: that is why I think I am having problems in the shower.

A few other things that I have noticed is that if I go swimming in the sea (salt water, obviously, not chlorinated), then I do not get this reaction. Also if we go away and stay somewhere else, then - providing I don't swim - my symptoms also seem to reduce markedly... I assume this may be because some areas have a chlorinated supply, others do not...

My GP has given me some Hydrocortisone cream - mainly for the groin area - but this is a bit of a pain. She says "put a little bit on", but it is hard to put a "little bit on" your groin area because it gets soaked up by the pubic hair before it gets near the irritated skin.... I almost wondered if removing the hair completely would be a good thing (i.e. easier to apply cream and might get less sweaty/irritated there in the first place), but I assume that hair removed might further irritate the irritation... :(. The cream helps a little.

So, I am currently stuck in an area with chlorinated domestic supply, that seems to effect my skin. Has anyone else experienced this? I see very little to support that it is common on the web... some people do seem to react to the chlorine in pools, but generally not the same as I do (i.e. they get snifflely) and I haven't seen a link made between chlorinated household supply and eczema...

Thanks

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5 Replies:

  • Pools have a high dose of chlorine and could definitely irritate your eczema. However, there is such a small amount of chlorine added to drinking water, I would be really surprised if that was causing your problems in the shower. I don't have any suggestions on that one. The rash in your groin area could be a yeast infection, which often occur in areas of the body where moisture occurs or exists. Sweating makes the condition worse. Hydrocortisone cream will usually get rid of the infection. If that doesn't work, try clotrimazole cream (which can usually be found at any drug store). Thoroughly dry the rash area. Apply a small amount of cream. Then apply Gold Bond or similar medicated powder; it helps keep the area dry longer and feels refreshing. Do this twice a day until the rash is completely gone. It may take as long as 3 or 4 weeks for the rash to clear up, but it will eventually. Good luck.
    imgamehere 15 Replies
    • October 20, 2008
    • 07:18 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • The suggestion that the amount of chlorine in your drinking water is "such a small amount" is entirely incorrect. If you take a sample of your tap water to a pool company for testing I'm willing to bet they will tell you it's just fine...for a pool! In most north american markets chloring in tap water is 1.5-2.0 ppb or more....which is the amount found in most private swimming pools.Pools have a high dose of chlorine and could definitely irritate your eczema. However, there is such a small amount of chlorine added to drinking water, I would be really surprised if that was causing your problems in the shower. I don't have any suggestions on that one. The rash in your groin area could be a yeast infection, which often occur in areas of the body where moisture occurs or exists. Sweating makes the condition worse. Hydrocortisone cream will usually get rid of the infection. If that doesn't work, try clotrimazole cream (which can usually be found at any drug store). Thoroughly dry the rash area. Apply a small amount of cream. Then apply Gold Bond or similar medicated powder; it helps keep the area dry longer and feels refreshing. Do this twice a day until the rash is completely gone. It may take as long as 3 or 4 weeks for the rash to clear up, but it will eventually. Good luck.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • November 28, 2009
    • 00:28 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • The suggestion that the amount of chlorine in your drinking water is "such a small amount" is entirely incorrect. If you take a sample of your tap water to a pool company for testing I'm willing to bet they will tell you it's just fine...for a pool! In most north american markets chloring in tap water is 1.5-2.0 ppb or more....which is the amount found in most private swimming pools.chlorine pools clear my skin how crazy!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Hello dear LoisC. :)True eczema is caused by allergens weak immunity and neurovegetative regulation. The development of microbial eczema contribute to fungi and bacteria, seborrheal - violation of the sebaceous glands, and infant eczema is one of the stages of atopic dermatitis. The tendency towards true eczema is inherited. And all the same it is developing, as a rule, after 40 years, more frequently in women. The matter is that eczema is an allergic dermatitis is a skin disease in which the allergen, often cosmetics, household chemistry and medicine, is known. Within a few years of immunity allergic changes, and the patient starts to react literally at all: cold, wind, bleach... It is in such a situation is diagnosed eczema. Many patients find themselves professionals and are treated independently, usually the older drugs. Not knowing all the nuances of the disease and his treatment, they hurt themselves. Some even refuse to external resources, which are the basis for treatment of skin disease. In the first place advise you to address to the doctor. Realizing that this may not always be feasible, will share the basic principles of the treatment of eczema. The basis of treatment are corticosteroids external actions. I usually recommend that modern and safe corticosteroid the last generation, containing methylprednisolone ацепонат. Ointment affects the main stages of the pathological process, quickly coping with the inflammatory response. In addition, a corticosteroid usually comes in four different forms: emulsion, cream, ointment and bold ointment, that allows to choose the most suitable specific patient form. At an inflammation with swelling, get wet and bubbles better use of modern and secure corticosteroid (it speeds up the evaporation of the liquid). Cream - universal form suitable for most patients. In cases of chronic inflammation with severe dryness apply ointment, and at the long course with infiltration and cracks - bold ointment. I hope that this information will help You!:):) Be healthy!
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • For what it is worth to you -- I have suffered with dyshidrotic eczema on my hands for years, and I mean years. We moved to a home with well water a couple years ago and !surprise, my exzema completely disappeared? Coincidence? Hard to say for sure scientifically. Told my derm about it, she thought it was interesting. Municipal water supplies are treated with chlorine and fluorine, so who knows for sure.. All that I know is life is much happier for me, while not trying to "deglove my skin".
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
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