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Hot Tub Folliculitis and How to Avoid It

 

Did you recently determine that your skin is sensitive to the warm water in your hot tub? You may find that you get an itchy, pimply, red rash following the use of your hot tub. This rash is often called hot tub folliculitis or more commonly “hot tub rash.”

There are several possible reasons that you might have contracted the hot tub rash. Not all of those reasons are due to bacteria. In fact, the majority of hot tub rashes are caused by the chemicals traditionally used to prevent hot tub folliculitis in the first place.

What is Hot Tub Folliculitis?

Folliculitis in hair folicleFolliculitis, simply put, is the inflammation of a hair follicle. Sometimes, the inflammation is infectious in nature. These infections get caused by all sorts of different bacteria, most commonly the notorious Staphylococcus aureus. They can also be caused by yeasts, viruses, and even parasites.

Other times, it is not entirely clear what’s causing the inflammation. It can be caused by something as simple as too much moisturizer clogging the follicle. You have probably heard of acne. Well, believe it or not, that is a type of folliculitis, too.

Hot tubs are also full of toxic chemicals that we add to keep the water clean and clear. Combined with the warm turbulent water these chemicals often irritate people’s skin in a way that looks just like hot tub folliculitis or hot tub rash.

What Causes Hot Tub Rash?

Hot tub folliculitis is a very specific term. It refers to a type of folliculitis caused by using a hot tub. As stated above bacteria can be a cause of this hot tub rash. In most cases, the suspect bacteria by Pseudomonas aeruginosa. P. aeruginosa is primarily contracted in public hot tubs, such as those found at hotels, gyms, and public swimming facilities. Fortunately, this type of bacteria can’t survive on human skin for very long. That is why this problem usually only occurs after soaking in contaminated warm water for a long period of time. This type of bacteria especially loves damp wood. While infection can happen after soaking in any kind of contaminated hot water, wooden hot tubs tend to be higher risk.

Now, a hot tub rash can be caused by more than just bacteria. Simple contact dermatitis, or an itchy red rash not caused by any kind of pathogen, can be caused by chemicals in the water or the temperature of the water. These rashes are often incorrectly diagnosed as being caused by a bacterial infection of P. aeruginosa. Or a doctor may prescribe a bacterial treatment just to cover all bases.

What Does Hot Tub Folliculitis Look Like?

Hot tub Folliculitis

Hot tub rash, in fact just about any type of folliculitis, usually looks like a bunch of little bumps scattered across your skin, sometimes with surrounding redness. To the untrained eye, it probably looks exactly like a teenager’s acne but on the body instead of the face. It is very important not to poke at or try to pop the pimply bumps yourself. This can cause a spread of the infection. Don’t scratch! The best way to deal with hot tub folliculitis when you have it is to just leave it alone until you get in and see a doctor. Most cases are mild and will disappear after just a few days.

A noninfectious hot tub rash likely will not have those kinds of bumps. Instead, it will look like a flat plane of red and slightly swollen skin. It might feel more like a chemical burn rather than a rash. However, the difference is often hard to determine unless the rash is tested for the specific bacteria. Hot tub rash caused by sensitivity to hot tub chemicals will also disappear after just a few days. However, you should use your own judgment to determine whether to see a doctor during that period.

It is often the case that if a group of two or more people used the same hot tub and contracted the same rash the hot tub folliculitis was probably caused by the introduction of the bacteria to the tub. If only one person in the group contracted the hot tub rash after using the hot tub it is likely a chemical sensitivity rather than bacteria caused.

What Are the Symptoms of Hot Tub Rash?

Most often, it just itches a lot. Sometimes it can be painful, too, which might be a sign of a more developed infection. In those circumstances, the infection’s little pus-filled acne-like bumps can turn hard and red. If that happens, you should seek treatment. A skin sensitivity to hot tub chemicals may display the same type of symptoms however, often it feels a bit like a sunburn. In most cases, the hot tub rash will appear on parts of your body converted by your swimsuit rather than all over.

How to Treat Hot Tub Rash

The good news is that, because the bacteria can’t usually survive on your skin for long, a bacterial caused hot tub rash should pass within a few days in mild cases. That being said, be sure to check with your doctor if you have any doubt whatsoever. More severe cases are going to require antibiotics or antiseptic cleanses. The antibiotics in question will need to cover gram-negative bacteria like P. aeruginosa. This can vary by a lot depending on your own unique circumstances. You can discuss the exact treatment you need with your doctor or another healthcare professional.

If you determine that your hot tub rash is the result of the chlorine or bromine used in your tub, it should go away is just a few days. You should see a healthcare professional if in your judgment it is required. In the meantime, you will need to stay out of the tub until you can treat the tub in a manner that avoids the chemicals to which you are sensitive.

How to Avoid Hot Tub Folliculitis

There are a few helpful tricks you can use to avoid this type of hot tub folliculitis. The easiest way to avoid the infection is probably just taking off your swimsuit after bathing. Why? It is not a good idea to lounge around in your damp clothes after your soak in the hot tub. Your soaked swimsuit seals in both moisture and chemicals or bacteria, giving them a longer period to irritate your skin. You can also, shower off before entering the hot tub and then showering off when you get out as well. This will help wash off any bacteria that may be on you that you could inadvertently introduce to the tub as well as remove the chlorine from your skin when you get out.

The absolute best way to avoid infection, though, is to maintain your hot tub and not introduce bacteria to it in the first place.

Here are some options for treating your hot tub to avoid hot tub folliculitis

Traditional Hot Tub Chemical Approach

Bromine Hot tub

If you are not sensitive to chlorine or bromine and not concerned with the health effects, then following a strict protocol of traditional chemical additives should work. As long as the water in your hot tub has a high enough level of chlorine and the water is balanced (pH and Alkalinity are at the recommended levels), you can be reasonably sure that bacteria are not able to live very long in your hot tub.

Keep in mind that bromine and chlorine will evaporate out of your hot tub on a daily basis whether you use the tub or not. Therefore, you will need to constantly test the water and add more chemicals daily.

Next to chemical irritation, the burden of maintaining this strict chemical regimen is often the reason people using chemicals end up with hot tub rash anyway.

Others find that they are sensitive to the chemicals themselves. Many may have had no history of chemical skin sensitivity when swimming a pool in the past. However, it is often the hot temperature, combined with the jets and chemicals that cause the hot tub rash. If this is the case, then you need to try another approach.

Natural Non-toxic Hot Tub Approach

Clean hot tubIf you find that your skin sensitive to chlorine hot tubs and/or bromine hot tubs or that you just don’t like the idea of soaking in these chemicals, then a natural approach may be for you.

A quick search on Youtube.com will present all sorts of so-called  “Natural” approaches to hot tub water treatment. Some of these include daily doses of hydrogen peroxide, saltwater hot tubs (generate chlorine from the salt added to the water), high doses of ozone, vinegar, baking soda and etc. These so-called all-natural approaches involved more chemistry and much more work than chlorine or bromine.

Clarity for Spas Makes Natural Hot Tubs Easy

Clarity for Spas originated the all-natural non-toxic hot tub water treatment approach back in the 1990’s. In fact, our Natural Spa has inspired many imitators in the industry but our updated formula is still the best. Our natural hot tub water treatments will either reduce or eliminate your use of chlorine while keeping hot tub maintenance super simple. You will not need to constantly monitor pH and alkalinity. This alone is worth the switch to our Natural Spa product or our Mineral Spa product.

Clarity For Spas - Chlorine Free Hot Tub Solutions

In addition to our products, Natural Spa or Mineral Spa (or a combination of both) we highly recommend weekly shocking your water with a non-chlorine shock, rinsing your filter(s), increasing your filtration cycles, and showering off before and after using your hot tub.

You Can Still Love Your Hot Tub

You do not have to give up your hot because of concern of chemical-induced hot tub folliculitis. Many of our customers have found that they can truly enjoy their hot tubs again after employing our natural hot tub water treatments.

Learn more about our natural hot tub water treatment products. Your first purchase is guaranteed by our no questions asked guarantee. Additionally, we are available directly by phone to help you with your hot tub. See our products at https://www.clarityforspas.com/product-category/hot-tub-products/ . 

Please email us at customerservice@clarityforspas.com or call (509) 426-3145 (no telemarketing calls) with your questions.

 

 

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Causes of Hot Tub Rash – Chlorine and Bromine

Hot tub Folliculitis

Hot Tub Folliculitis Could Likely Be Caused
by the Chlorine or Bromine in Your Hot Tub

Many people enjoy the opportunity to experience the warm and soothing water provided by a hot tub. There is a common health issue associated with using one. It is known as hot tub folliculitis or hot tub rash. This is the development of small bumps on the skin that are red, itchy and tender. The rash can also result in pus-filled blisters around a person's hair follicles. They are often found in areas of a person's body that were covered with swimming attire.

Bacteria Caused  Folliculitis (Hot Tub Rash) 

The commonly blamed cause of hot tub rash is a bacteria known as Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This is a very common organism. It can be found in soil on plants and in almost all sources of water. It is especially common in man made environments. This bacteria is considered opportunistic and will attach itself to humans or any other type of creature when possible. It is very versatile and can infect any type of damaged human tissue as well as individuals with decreased immunity. Though not typically the case it is possible for an entire family to use a hot tub and only one member develop hot tub rash. However, in most cases of bacteria caused hot tub rash more than one person will be infected.

Click photos to enlarge.

Chemical Caused Folliculitis 
Funny thing is, the very same chemicals, chlorine and bromine, that are used to kill bacteria in hot tubs are often the most common cause of  folliculitis or "hot tub rash." These chemicals are able to eat away at the enzymes that are designed to prevent hair follicle irritation. Many people have had success preventing instances of hot tub rash by not using caustic sanitizers such as Bromine and Chlorine. Water treatment systems that are free from chemicals have been shown to help hot tub users avoid getting hot tub rash.

Chemical caused hot tub rash often only affects specific people in family and rarely causes a family wide breakout. It is usually one person in the family or family members that have similar skin characteristics that are highly sensitive to chlorine and bromine. Doctors commonly prescribe antibiotics and steroids that have no affect on chemical caused hot tub rash since there is not bacteria present.

Avoiding Hot Tub Folliculitis
The water in hot tubs is warmer than what is found in pools. This causes the traditional sanitizers utilized to kill germs, such as chlorine, to break down faster. When this happens, it creates a situation where the risk of bacteria caused hot tub rash infections can occur. There are things people can do to decrease their chances of developing the rash. When getting out of the water, it's important people take off their swimsuits. They should immediately shower with soap. The swimsuits used while in the hot tub should be thoroughly cleaned.

It is important that the hot tubs water be well maintained. If using chlorine or bromine it is very important that the water chemistry is well balanced. In the case of chlorine and bromine use, more is not better, since too much chemicals can cause skin rashes in even those people not typically sensitive. In fact, chlorine is toxic. "When chlorine enters the body as a result of breathing, swallowing, or skin contact, it reacts with water to produce acids. The acids are corrosive and damage cells in the body on contact." New York Department of Health. When using an alternative water treatment product such as Natural Spa or Mineral Spa is important to follow the instructions carefully. Though neither Natural Spa nor Mineral Spa will directly cause skin irritation not maintaining the product in your hot tub can allow bacteria to grow.

STOP CHEMICAL
HOT TUB FOLLICULITIS

Our natural hot tub water treatment solutions make hot tubs usable again for thousand of our happy customers.

Treatment of Hot Tub Folliculitis
Often when someone has hot tub rash, it's possible for the rash to go away within a few days. In most cases, medical treatment will not be required. It's possible to put warm compresses of Burow's solution or salt water to ease the itching. Health complications associated with hot tub rash are rare. It is often caused by an abscess formation resulting in an infection. When the rash becomes severe, a physician may prescribe a treatment of antibiotics. Of course this antibiotic treatment will have no effect on a chemically caused rash.

Increased Risk of Hot Tub Rash
It is easier for a person to get hot tub rash if they have damaged hair follicles. When people closely shave or wear clothes that rub their skin, it can irritate the hair follicles. This will create a situation where the follicles will become irritated or become blocked by makeup, irritated by sweat, machine oil and more. Hair follicles that have been damaged are more likely to be susceptible to folliculitis. Individuals who have a surgical wound, scrape or cut can easily be infected with the bacteria. Additionally, chlorine and bromine will also cause irritation to these areas of damaged skin.

Affected Areas
There are certain locations on a person’s body that are more likely to develop hot tub rash. The upper arms and legs, as well as chest or upper back, are prone to hot tub rash. A person's armpits, abdomen or lower back, as well as groin and buttocks, are also common areas that can develop hot tub rash.

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Natural Chemical Free Hot Tub Product Helps You Avoid Chlorine and Bromine

Without natural hot tub products one of the major downsides to owning a hot tub is that you have to spend quite a bit of time keeping it maintained to ensure the water is always clean and comfortable and the hot tub functions correctly. Leave your hot tub unattended for a few weeks and you’ll find grime and other filth accruing on its surfaces. And until recently, the only way to keep a hot tub clean was to shock the water with toxic chemicals that dry out your skin and make the hot tub less enjoyable for both you and your guests.

Clarity for Spas is the leading supplier of all natural hot tub products that clean your hot tub without the need for harsh treatments or negative side effects. Our New Blue Natural Spa solution, for example, provides months of clean water without any of the common side effects associated with soaking in a hot tub (dry skin, red eyes, etc.) and doesn’t contain any toxic hot tub chemicals. Your hot tub / spa stays clean and your skin stays happy.

We also have an innovative citric acid based cleaner natural hot tub product that will allow you to effortlessly clean your hot tub. Composed of simple, natural substances, this cleaner removes corrosive chemicals and hard water deposits without any work from you. And the best part? It has no negative effect on your skin or your hair, so you can clean your hot tub while you continue to enjoy it.

Clarity for Spas takes pride in delivering the highest quality natural hot tub chemicals on the market. Our hot tub solutions are guaranteed to give you clean, healthy water for months without regular maintenance or scrubbing. And they’re guaranteed to be free of the toxic chemicals so often associated with keeping hot tubs clean (like Chlorine and Bromine). For more information about our natural hot tub chemicals and other water treatments please visit www.clarityforspas.com or contact us at (760)610-6205 and let Cal know that Carl sent you.

Check out our Natural Hot Tub Water Treatment Products here.

Reference:

Chlorine Facts – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chlorine