Hot Tubs: Relaxing or Risky for Psoriasis?
My in-laws bought a house closer to where we live this past year. The main selling point of the house for them was that it had a hot tub. My mother-in-law spent the first 3 months visiting the pool store weekly and perfecting chemical and pH levels.
Are hot tubs safe for sensitive psoriasis skin?
It became a type of art to her. She prided herself on having perfect water. This pride led her to be one of those hot tub pushers. You know, the one that insists you bring a suit with you every time you come to visit?
At first, I thought it sounded pretty nice. I could soak in the water privately and the warm water would be heavenly on my achy joints.
But before I dove in, I wanted to make sure it would be safe for my sensitive skin.
Is chlorine beneficial?
Chlorine is a naturally-occurring chemical that is most commonly used for disinfecting and cleaning. It has a very distinct smell that will often transport you back to summer days as a child at the recreational center.
In its natural form, it is found in rocks and oceans and has in modern times been used to clean water.
Does chlorine dry out the skin?
If you ask people with psoriasis how chlorine affects them, you will get VERY mixed answers. Some avoid it like the plague because it causes burning, while others (like me) find it therapeutic.
It tends to dry out skin, which isn’t something most of us need extra of. However, my experience has been that the extra drying actually makes my lesions less red for whatever reason. The key I have found is to shower directly after getting out with a mild shampoo or body wash.
Determining the perfect hot tub temperature
Another thing that historically dries out the skin is hot water. That is why my dermatologist always chastises me to stop taking long, hot showers. But, like with chlorine, there can be some benefit if it isn’t too hot. I opt to turn the water down to 99-100 degrees Fahrenheit before I get in.
Usually, hot tubs are set anywhere from 102-105, but the lower temperature is still comfortable without risking too much drying. I also limit myself to 15 to 20 minutes in one sitting. This is just enough time to soften up my scales and gives me the ability to easily remove them after I get out.
For those really thick areas, this helps so I can get any ointments or sprays down to the right levels of my skin.
Added pressure on that psoriasis skin
This is one “luxury” I forego. I find jets to be unbearably brutal on my skin. If there is even the tiniest crack in my skin, it feels like these surges of water tear it wide open.
I know I’m in the minority, but I just don’t find being pummeled with aggressive jets relaxing.
Hot tubs affect everyone differently
Just like everything in life with psoriasis, hot tubs come down to trial and error. Your skin may revolt, but it also might rejoice.
It all depends on your experience and personal preferences. As always, check with your doc if you have any concerns or underlying conditions.
We love to hear from the community. Are you pro or con hot tubs?
Where on your body does psoriasis bother you the most?