Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Swim Spray: A Review

Recently, the water in my city became contaminated with E.coli. In order to treat it, they flushed the system with overwhelming amounts of chlorine. Among other issues with that, one of my problems is that I am allergic to chlorine, so showering and bathing became nearly unbearable. I would only do it when the backs of my ears started smelling like Parmesan cheese. Don't judge. You don't know.

I happened to whine about it as What to Expect Naturally on Twitter one thankfully, I was contacted shortly thereafter by the good folk at Swim Spray. They shipped me out some product and here I am telling you what I think of it.

Swim Spray is just vitamin C and water in a spray bottle. Sprayed on the skin, it'll stave off any allergic reaction from chlorine one may experience on the skin as well as any of those ugly chemical effects the chlorine has on the hair. I was at once optimistic but skeptical. It couldn't be that simple - spray on, shower, goodbye negative shower experience. Nah.

I tried the spray four different times, in four different ways to ensure I wasn't imagining anything or dismissing anything else.

First bath: Sprayed on both feet (the place on my body that is always most irritated by the chlorine), entire body, hair.
- Result: Didn't work (at least not on my feet). Frustration and disappointment ensued as I slathered my dogs in hydrocortisone cream and covered them in socks.

Honestly, I almost chucked the whole experiment then, because making myself the guinea pig for this particular assignment with these particular potential results seemed more than I could take. I'm no quitter, though! (Or, perhaps, I'm just that much a masochist.)

Second shower: Sprayed on both feet. Sprayed more than I did the time before and left it on for longer before showering.
- Result: MUCH less itching on my feet. I did still have some between my toes, but I began to think I had possibly not covered those crevices thoroughly enough. I was willing to keep trying!

Third bath: Sprayed on both feet. Completely saturated those puppies. Every nook and cranny was soaked with Swim Spray. I also let it stay on for a couple minutes before hopping in the tub.
- Result: Success! Absolutely no itching whatsoever. Hallelujah!

Now, I do realize that the amount of chlorine in the water may be decreasing at this point, so I experiment one last time.

Fourth bath: Sprayed on one foot only. Completely saturated it again. Let it stay on for a bit before immersing myself.
- Result: Sprayed food was golden. Nekked foot was not hydrocortisone-itchy (thank goodness!), but was noticeably itchier than the other.

Conclusion: Spray good. Chlorine bad.

Downsides:
1) It took a LOT of spray to cover just my feet. After just those four times, I went through almost an entire big bottle of the Swim Spray - $13 for 4 oz.
2) If I didn't do it JUST so, it was ineffective. Especially busy parents do not generally have the luxury of all the time it takes to fully saturate every single speck of skin and hair BEFORE getting in the shower that they don't generally have the time to take.
3) Cost. (See Downside #1.)
4) Seems to be not as effective against super-high levels of chlorine, which is when it's needed most.

Final Call:
If you have the time and money, I recommend it without reservation. I mean, there's no denying that it does have its merits. Being as I don't swim often, I'd certainly have a bottle on hand for those times when we go to the pool.

I don't honestly know what else one should do for such an allergy except get an expensive filter (also, a cost issue, obviously) or avoid chlorinated water altogether (not really feasible for most). Unfortunately, I cannot afford $13 for a bottle that only lasts me four showers, nor can I afford the time it takes in prepping for said showers. So, I'm left with itching after my quickie showers, longing for a cure that is sure to be just over the horizon. I mean, if Swim Spray can get this close, I'm sure they're on the cusp of something even more fantastic.

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