Pseudomonas folliculitis, also known as “hot tub rash” is what occurs when contaminated water and bacteria remain on the skin for extended periods of time and infect skin pores. Folliculitis results in rashy, irritated bumps on the skin and hair follicles, and can also cause headaches, mild fever, and fatigue.
Folliculitis is fairly common and is often contracted in warm, moist environments – such as spas, pools, and most notably, hot tubs. Never fear, there are many practical steps you can take to prevent folliculitis, and enjoy a risk-free lounge in the hot tub.
How to Prevent Folliculitis
Listed below are methods and steps you can take in order to prevent hot tub rash or folliculitis. We will explain several different ways to keep yourself and your hot tub clean, including hot tub treatments, personal prevention, and hygiene.
Hot Tub Maintenance
An initial preemptive measure is to assure that your hot tub has been carefully cleaned and treated. Monitor chlorine and acid levels to be sure that all water filtration devices are actively working.
It is recommended to wash your hot tub water filters every two weeks. Keeping your hot tub filter clean doesn’t have to be a huge chore if you have the right tools. Take a look at this Filter Cartridge Cleaner to make your life easier!
After 6-12 months, you should think about replacing the filter itself. Looking for a new filter? Check these out! These steps minimize the presence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the bacteria that most commonly causes hot tub rash.
Test Strips and Kits
As an additional safety measure, you can purchase test strips that show the current levels of chlorine and ph in your water. Test strips are the most convenient way to assure that chemical and disinfectant levels are healthy and that bacteria levels are kept to a minimum. Test strips are affordable and can be purchased online and at most convenience stores. This particular test kit is a 7-in-1 kit that measures pH, total chlorine, free chlorine, bromine, alkalinity, total hardness, and cyanuric acid.
Hot Tub Water Treatment Kits
Hot tub water treatments and conditioners can also be purchased to keep bacteria at bay and maintain healthy chemical balances. Water conditioners contain enzymes that soften the water and minimize the presence of bacteria. Click here to browse different water treatment options on Amazon.
Make sure to be intentional about what chemicals are used to treat your hot tub. Harsh chemicals such as potassium monopersulfate and potassium peroxymonosulfate can irritate the skin and worsen cases of pre-existing infection. Search for water treatments that have natural, eco-friendly ingredients, and avoid ones that contain HTH Chlorine Chemicals.
With owning a hot tub comes an important factor that plays into maintenance: personal hygiene. Practicing healthy personal hygiene can help prevent hot tub rash or folliculitis. The following are some preemptive steps you can take to keep your hot tub clean and bacteria-free.
Just like we should follow rules for pool use, hot tub rules are just as important. Showering before and after using a hot tub is key for preventing potential bacterial growth on your skin.
As tempting as it may be, don’t air dry or lounge around in your bathing suit after you’re done enjoying the hot tub. Allowing moisture, sweat, and chemicals to linger on your skin creates a prime environment for folliculitis.
Shower with gentle soap and thoroughly scrub your skin in the shower. Gentle exfoliation is a great way to remove dead skin and chemicals from your hot tub water. Post-shower, avoid using oil-heavy body products, as they can trap bacteria in your pores and increase the likelihood of infection.
If possible, avoid shaving directly before or after spending time in the hot tub. Shaving will leave your hair follicles extra sensitive and vulnerable to infection. If you do shave, make sure you moisturize beforehand and use a clean, sharp razor that has not been shared with anyone else.
Wash Your Bathing Suit/Wet Clothes
Wash and dry your bathing suit after each use to reduce the presence of bacteria on the fabric. Bacteria can linger on the fabric and infect the skin even between uses, especially if the fabric remains damp. After enjoying the hot tub, make sure that all fabrics that come in contact with your skin (washcloths, towels, clothing, etc.) are clean and fully dry. Avoid sharing towels and washcloths with others to avoid spreading possible bacteria.
Folliculitis is preventable! Taking these simple steps might sound like a pain, but they will assure you that you can enjoy your time at the pool, spa, or hot tub without fear of itchy aftermath.