Water Chemistry of your Pool and Sun Screen

By May 21, 2019 June 24th, 2019 Water Chemistry
water chemistry, pool troopers

Several years ago, people did not care much about sunscreen products. Thankfully, awareness about the harmful effects of the sun’s UVA and UVB rays has been raised. Consumers have become more knowledgeable about sunscreens as well.

What to Know about Sunscreen

As a pool owner, this product should be a regular part of your swimming routine. In fact, it should be viewed as a health product because it offers plenty of health benefits. You probably already know that you need to apply sunscreen before you start swimming or even when you go out to be by the pool. However, choosing a sunscreen can be a stressful experience once you see the many choices and ad claims.

It is difficult to pick the right sunscreen since there are options, such as water-resistant, high SPF values, and broad spectrum. According to the Food and Drug Administration, bigger is not always better when it comes to SPF. For instance, if you see SPF 100 and SPF 50 you should not instantly go for the first one since some products can be misleading.

There is not much difference between the two. When applied correctly, SPF 100 sunscreens can block up to 99% of UVB rays while SPF 50 blocks 98%. Going for higher SPF does not mean you can stay under the sun for a longer period. Many of the products fail to block UVA rays, which go deeper into the skin, causing free radicals to propagate. 

Therefore, you should look for a sunscreen with zinc oxide, which is the best ingredient for keeping UVA rays away.

Also, go for one that says “broad spectrum” since it offers protection against the two types of rays. It means the product comes with ingredients, such as cinnamates, benzophenones, salicylates, and titanium dioxide.

Additionally, since you will be swimming, make sure that you choose a water-resistant sunscreen. Note that it has a very important connotation. According to the FDA, water-resistant means that the SPF will stay effective even after you are in the water for 40 minutes. Some products can even last for 80 minutes. Water-resistant does not mean waterproof, however, so you still need to reapply after your time in the water.

According to WebMD’s experts, here are the things you need to do for a successful application:

  • Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before you go out and enjoy the pool.
  • Women who cannot resist wearing makeup before dipping in the water should apply the sunscreen under their makeup.
  • Take an ounce (or two tablespoons) for the whole body. 
  • Never skimp on the amount of sunscreen you apply. Several studies have proven that people tend to apply less than what is necessary. As a result, they only get 25% of the benefits at the most.
  • Sunscreen should be applied in every part of the body, including the ears, the back of the legs and any bald spot you may have.
  • Use a lip balm that can offer protection for your lips against the sun’s damaging UV rays.
  • It is recommended to reapply every two hours.
  • If you swim and go under the water, you should re-apply more frequently.

Also, the efficiency of the sunscreen product degrades over time. Therefore, you have to be mindful when it comes to the expiration date. Whenever you are out, you should always put sunscreen on. Even if it is an overcast day, it does not mean the UV rays are absent. 

Sunscreen and the Water Chemistry of Your Pool

Now that the benefits and other important details about sunscreen are covered, you may think that you are safe as you get into the swimming pool. Water chemistry is an important part of your swimming experience and Pool Troopers is aware of that.

Sunscreen has a negative effect on the water chemistry of your pool. The quality of the water diminishes, especially if you have invited many people, and they are wearing the product. It does not mean you should stop them from using sunscreen though. The product is essential in keeping everyone protected.

Unfortunately for you as the pool owner, sunscreen dissolves, causing it to react to the chemicals in the water, including chlorine. It can quickly result in a chemical imbalance. You will see the immediate difference as the water becomes cloudy. Additionally, there may be swimmers complaining about skin and eye irritations, if the pool chemistry becomes too unbalanced.

The problem here is that you cannot prevent it from happening. Pool owners are aware that maintaining a pool requires chemicals to function and be clean. At the same time, swimmers should also be smart about their health. 

Tips from Pool Troopers on How to Solve the Sunscreen Problem

Over the years, Pool Troopers has served many customers since the early 1950s. It allowed the company to determine the correct action whenever sunscreen becomes a problem for the pool owners. Here are some pointers:

  • If you notice that the pool is getting cloudy, it’s time to take a break from swimming and shock the water with a chlorinating compound.  Make sure your filter is running and has been cleaned and or backwashed.  
  • If you swim a lot consider wearing sun protective clothing – long sleeve swim shirts in lieu of some sunscreen.  
  • Choose a sunscreen with Zinc Oxide as its main or primary ingredient, the less added ingredients in your sunscreen the better for you and the pool water.  
  • Maintain your pool regularly. If you need help with this task contact Pool Troopers we exist to provide you the freedom to just enjoy the pool. This way, pool maintenance will be the least of your worries.
  • Prevention is always better than cure, as they say. Before the kids and adults start to dip in the water, make sure to ask them to shower first. It will remove the dirt that they may already have on their bodies. Also, if they are wearing sunscreen, showering beforehand will remove it or at least reduce the amount. You should not forget to remind your visitors to re-apply the sunscreen once they are out of the pool.
  • Enzyme treatments can help. Since swimmers tend to reapply sunscreen before they start swimming again, an enzyme treatment can prepare the water. Routinely add the treatment to the pool, to help in breaking down oils and ingredients that come from the sunscreen lotion. The enzymes will either break down the sunscreen chemicals or convert them to components that can be removed via filtration.  Enzyme treatments, however, require that you apply the chemical several times. On a busy day, you can still protect the pool’s water quality thanks to the enzymes. 
  • Filter the pool- proper filtration is key. Pool filters should have the correct flow rate for them to be most effective. Also, check that you have the proper turnover rate/run time. Periodic pressure-based backwashing can also assist your filter to be its best. Make sure that you care for your filter at least every other week during swim season so you know it’s working well.
    Regularly cleaning the filters and the pool will help remove the grime and dirt, as well as keep the water quality at its best.

If you are one of the pool owners who are unsure about removing the oils and products that build up in the water, you can always turn to Pool Troopers. From cleaning to adjusting the pH levels, the company is an expert on all things pool related. Call today to get started with the service you need.