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A Skin Routine for Swimmers With Perpetually Dry Skin

April 15, 2023 6 min read

A Skin Routine for Swimmers With Perpetually Dry Skin - DEEP-END

Hi, I’m Eunseo, and I’m a swimmer turned swammer (ish).

I’ve been swimming since I was five years old, and joined a club team at eight years old, where I swam until I was 14. After that, I’ve been continuing to swim on the summer team, and on my high school team every fall. 

I have SUPER dry skin in general, so swimming + chlorine makes it 1000 times worse. I’m not a dermatologist or a medical professional by any means, but these are the products + tips I use that help my skin out a LOT! 

I try my best to only use clean beauty products. For me, that means ones that are formulated without harsh chemicals, unnecessary scents, colors, and gimmicky packaging.

Before Practice

Before swimming, make sure to remove your makeup properly if you wear it before getting in the pool! So many people I know don’t remove their mascara. It’s not fun to lose eyelashes, so even if it takes you an extra couple of minutes, do it!

I also noticed that makeup wipes and remover can oftentimes make your skin really oily and greasy, especially if it’s waterproof makeup remover. This isn’t ideal, because it makes your cap and goggles slide STRAIGHT off your face.

 I love the Makeup Eraser, which is a cloth that literally requires water, and that’s it. It gets everything off your face and doesn’t irritate your skin or leave residue. You just stick it in the washing machine after using it, and it’s great for the planet! 

After Practice

After you get out of the pool, you might have to go to a pasta feed without time to shower, or have to drive home in a wet suit and without being able to wash your body. In that case, I bring to you this insanely simple tip.

If you don’t have a sink/shower near you for some reason, carry around a spray bottle of witch hazel to spray your face down!!! Your skin will thank you, and even if you can’t wash your face right away, getting that drying chlorine off your face is so so important. 

Thayer’s Witch Hazel is a super cheap and great quality witch hazel that you can get almost anywhere. If you’re opting to go for another brand, make sure that the formula is alcohol free, as most alcohols will only serve to dry out your face.

As you can see, I put it in a spray bottle that is a little foundation stained and cracked.

This is your reminder that skincare doesn’t have to be glamorous. With all those trendy, pretty products out there, you don’t have to use those to get your dream skin!

It’s okay for your products to be in repurposed containers, or be stained, as long as they WORK!


When you shower, make sure you use a gentle face wash that gets the remnants of the chlorine off your face, while not being too harsh of an exfoliant.

Literally everyone I’ve met recommends the Cetaphil gentle face wash, as it is suitable for all skin types, and doesn’t contain unnecessary chemicals, scents, or colorants. It’s also on the cheaper side, so it won’t break the bank! This face wash can be found in almost any drugstore or supermarket in the beauty aisle, so it’s a super easy item to pick up if you happen to be out of town for a meet. 

Now, before we get into more complex serums + oils, I want to once again emphasize that this is what works for my skin and my experiences, and that these might not work for everybody else! Here’s what I’ve been using and loving lately. 

First off, I’ve been using Thayer’s witch hazel and putting it in a spray bottle for the past ten (!) years, and it is honestly a lifesaver. It’s been proclaimed to have a lot of skincare benefits and it smells good naturally, and is super soothing on the skin. I always use it before I put anything else on my face in the morning and at night!

Next, I go in with the Bliss Skincare Hydration Salvation moisturizing camellia oil. I’m sure there are cheaper alternatives on the market that have the same ingredients, but I really really love this oil when my skin is dry post-practice!

*I wouldn’t recommend this if you have oily skin, because it is VERY oily and would work the best on super dry skin. It soaks into your skin so well and makes it feel like a million bucks. 

Next up is one of my favorite brands and products ever – The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 serum! The Ordinary is an amazing brand that doesn’t overprice or mark up any of their products, and strictly charges a low profit margin. They don’t have any frills or unnecessary details on their website, and reinvent the complexity of skincare by taking it back to the basics.

You’ve probably seen their AHA 3% + BHA 2% serum all over TikTok for helping with breakouts and acne scars, and this product is THAT great for me as that TikTok serum is for people with acne and scarring. Hyaluronic acid can naturally hold up to a thousand times its weight in water, so it keeps your skin well hydrated and helps your skin absorb and retain moisture. 

Fun fact, last week I dropped my bottle on the ground and it cracked and exploded. So for now, I stored what was left in the bottle in this small serum bottle. Again, skincare doesn’t have to be glamorous!

For my basic moisturizer, I’m going back to Cetaphil and using their awesome daily moisturizer.

Just like their face wash, this product is available anywhere and is unscented, all natural, and free of colorants. It’s a lightweight but at the same time deeply moisturizing cream that helps your skin recover from all that chlorine and drying. 

3 Little Extras That Go a Long Way

Finally, I want to recommend my favorite balms + creams for spot treatment for super dry skin. For me, my lips + eyelids tend to get super irritated and super dry when I’m swimming, and just moisturizer won’t do it for me. So here are my favorite products! 

Glossier balm dot com: This stuff is the balm! It is a bit of a splurge, but is a great lip product that connects both good quality skincare and trendy scents + packaging. Hands down a great purchase, and comes in pretty scents and colors. 

Glossier balm dot com - one of my favorite products for skincare for swimmers!

This isn’t something anyone can purchase, but if you  have access to a dermatologist, I would highly recommend asking them about Hydrocortisone 2.5% ointment. It is a steroid cream that should be used SUPER sparingly on dry areas of your face, and is literally a godsend if you’ve been stuck with cracked and flaky skin your whole life. It is offered in low over the counter doses, but obviously, the prescription version is so so much better. 

Finally, invest in a tub of petroleum jelly. You would be surprised how useful it is.

It can help you get your suits on easier when you have to squeeze into a kneeskin the day after a pasta feed (true story), or for your cracked heels after walking on some of the most painful pool decks known to man. I know this technically isn’t part of my routine, but it is something everyone should have! It’s super cheap and can help you at the most random times.

I have this Egyptian Magic, which is like Vaseline, but is made with entirely all natural ingredients!

And before I log off, I just want to say that all of this might not work for everyone. I am nowhere near a skincare expert, or have any actual medical training, but am just going off of the advice I have received for myself from healthcare specialists, as well as knowing my own skin.

Sometimes you could do everything possible for your skin, and it still might not look the best! And that’s okay. Skincare is great because it helps us feel like we’re doing something good for our body, and feel back in control of the outcome again. Skincare is a never-ending journey, and I’m so happy I could give you a glimpse of what mine has looked like so far.

Peace out!

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