Long-Term Effects of Chlorinated Water on the skin.

Chlorine is the most common water treatment to kill bacteria living within it. Chlorine is added not only to swimming pools, but also is often found in tap water. According to Free Drinking Water.com, most cities within the U.S. treat the city water with chlorine concentrations of two to four parts per million; and they report the average person receives 50 percent of their chlorine exposure from bathing. Chlorinated water can have long-term effects on human skin.

Acne, Eczema and Rashes

Chlorine not only kills the bad bacteria that can make us sick, but it also kills good bacteria on which our our skin relies. According to Dr. Rona, M.D., chlorinated water destroys most of the intestinal flora--friendly bacteria that help not only with the digestion of food, but with the production of vitamins B12 and K. A press release announcing the result of findings reported by quickacneremedy.com on PRLog.org also notes chlorinated water also destroys vitamin E and polyunsaturated fatty acids. All of these factors have been shown to result in acne and other skin irritations, including eczema and rashes.


According to a report on HULIQ.com, an independent news organization, chlorine actually promotes the generation of free radicals within the body, and specifically the skin. Free radicals have been shown to cause cancer, as has chlorine. Drinking tap water most has been linked to bladder, breast and bowel cancer; and long-term effects of drinking, bathing and swimming in chlorinated water has been shown to cause malignant melanoma, otherwise known as skin cancer.

Premature Aging

Most anti-aging products contain antioxidants to help fight and kill free radicals within the skin as they have been shown to result in premature aging such as fine lines. Free radicals increase toxicity, which can also aid in general skin irritations such as acne and rashes. Free Drinking Water.com reports published studies showed chlorinated water to promote the aging process, similar to the effects of extended exposure to the sun.

Depleted Proteins and Dry Skin

Free Drinking Water.com reports chlorine can destroy much of the needed protein within the body. Short term, this can lead to dry, itchy skin. Continued depletion can lead to very dry skin. Though many would think to soak in the tub to alleviate dry skin, this can actually do more harm than good. Water alone can deplete the skin of its natural oils that hold moisture in, and chlorine only intensifies that effect. Showers and baths should be kept short, and the appropriate moisturizer applied immediately following.


Chlorine from drinking water can enter your body in several ways, including ingestion. You also inhale chloroform, a byproduct of chlorine, when you take a hot shower or bath. According to an article from Science News, researchers found increases in chloroform in study participants’ lungs of about 2.7ppb after a 10-minute shower. Warm water also further opens pores, so the combination of what your skin absorbs and your lungs inhale during a 10-minute shower is greater than the amount you would ingest drinking eight glasses of water from the same tap. In fact, studies at the University of Pittsburgh found less chemical exposure from ingesting chlorinated water than from showering or washing clothes in it. The study found that, on average, absorption through the skin was responsible for 64 percent of waterborne contaminants that enter the human body.