While relaxing in your hot tub is normally an enjoyable and safe experience, if your spa water is not properly maintained, chemicals and bacteria can lead to unwanted skin irritation. And let’s be straight here, rashes can be uncomfortable and frustrating! Recently there’s been a rise in questions about the symptoms of hot tub Folliculitis, Hot Hand-Foot Syndrome, and how these compare to a less severe chemical sensitivity. I’ll explain the differences in the three, and more importantly, let you know how to prevent them from happening!
Skin irritation caused by chemical sensitivity and Folliculitis are often confused with one another because the symptoms can appear very similar. Hot water can deplete your skin of its natural moisture. Chemicals such as Chlorine or Bromine can also amplify skin dryness. If you’ve been spending a lot of time in the tub lately and noticed that your skin is getting dry, don’t scratch! Scratching dry skin can lead to irritation, including embarrassing redness and bumps. Instead, soothe skin with a natural moisturizing lotion after each hot tub use.
Hot Tub Folliculitis
Folliculitis can be much more severe than typical chemical irritation. Hot tub Folliculitis is a bacterial condition caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa. These bacteria can spread in under-sanitized spas or pools and infect hair follicles or breaks in the skin. This rash can cause fevers, bumps leading to painful nodules or blisters, and extreme discomfort. These symptoms can surface anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days after hot tub use. The rashes commonly appear on arms, legs, back, and stomach, but can spread to other areas of the body as well.
Hot Hand-Foot Syndrome
Caused by the same bacteria (Pseudomonas aeruginosa), Hot Hand-Foot Syndrome can cause fevers, nodules on palms and soles of the feet, as well as extreme discomfort when walking.
Don’t sweat it! Preventing the development of skin rashes from use of your spa is simple and easy. The answer: maintain your spa water. If your spa water is imbalanced, it can become a place of cultivation for bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Factors such as water hardness can cause skin irritation, if not closely monitored. Similarly if the pH in your spa is low it causes acidic water that can be irritating to the skin and cause a burning sensation in your eyes. By keeping up on your water maintenance routine, you can easily prevent skin irritation as well as the growth of harmful bacteria.
Some Helpful Tips:
- Test your water frequently using the proper test strips for your sanitizer.
- Change your hot tub water after high bather loads and no less than once every 3-4 months.
- Make sure to shower after spa use.
- Using all natural shea butter moisturizers can also be useful in preventing dry skin after hot tub soaking.
Remember, only a doctor can determine if you have Folliculitis or a different skin condition. Seek professional advice if you notice any rashes or irritation after hot tub soaking.
Have a question about water maintenance or hot tub care? Post a comment below!