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Aquagenic pruritus- Itchy Arms/Legs after swimming/shower

by (725)
Updated about 17 hours ago
Created June 30, 2011 at 2:41 PM

Ive been a swimmer all of my life and never had any skin problems as a result of swimming. Over the last few months though, every time I get out of a pool or shower, my arms and legs itch uncontrollably. I've looked it up and it is called Aquagenic pruritis, but there doesn't seem to be a remedy. It doesn't seem to matter whether I take a hot/cold shower.

I am convinced that diet plays a part in this, but I can't seem to pinpoint what it is. I eat pretty strict paleo, except since I workout a lot, more potatoes, sweet potatoes, taro and white rice than most.

Supplements include cod liver oil, and a basic multi (new chapter), bcaa, whey protein powder

In the past few months, I have used tim ferriss's pagg stack, biotin, l-carnitine, cissus quadrangularis, and colostrum but use none of those now.

Has anyone experienced this? and can anyone suggest a remedy? The itching is really bad...

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725 · July 02, 2011 at 12:00 AM

are u sure you are using decaffinated green tea?

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2435 · June 30, 2011 at 5:02 PM

Found some swimmers lotions on Amazon. Can't read the ingredients anywhere. I think it was called Dermaswim. Skin Deep has nothing on it, or any other lotions/soaps for pre-swim. I think I'm going to have to read it the next time I'm in a drug store. Reviews on it were good, seemed to help people a lot with the itch.

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2435 · June 30, 2011 at 4:49 PM

http://www.3stepads.com/63003/chlorine-allergies-rash/ Reads badly, but I'm gonna look into what's in that lotion.

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2435 · June 30, 2011 at 4:39 PM

Let's be grateful it's not this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swimmer%27s_itch

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1623 · June 30, 2011 at 4:10 PM

I forgot to note that chlorine didnt use to affect me this way- over time the reaction developed/grew. I'd been swimming all my life in chlorinated pools, but it wasn't until I ramped it up in HS that i developed issues.

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2435 · June 30, 2011 at 3:57 PM

I have this happen, too, but mine turns into a full blown rash that lasts for weeks. I was about to ask about it.

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56616 · June 30, 2011 at 2:55 PM

discontinue all supplements and see what happens, then add them in one by one slowly.

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7 Answers

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1623 · June 30, 2011 at 4:07 PM

Does it happen with immersion in all types of water? Or just in water that has been chlorinated? Some people (like me) have mild allergic reactions to chlorine.

I've had similar itching issues with chlorinated water for years (ever since I was on swim and water polo in HS) but swimming/surfing in the ocean or a stream doesn't give me any problems- that may be something to test out.

Here's a link to a quick article, but you can get similar info and solutions by googling water, itching and chlorine...

If it ends up being the case you can use a shower filter to minimize your exposure and finally enjoy your showers again!

Good luck!

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1623 · June 30, 2011 at 4:10 PM

I forgot to note that chlorine didnt use to affect me this way- over time the reaction developed/grew. I'd been swimming all my life in chlorinated pools, but it wasn't until I ramped it up in HS that i developed issues.

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2047 · June 30, 2011 at 3:43 PM

I've never experienced that, but I did have some red itchy patches on my arms that completely went away when I started using coconut oil to moisturize.

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8757 · June 30, 2011 at 4:07 PM

I've had what was called puritis before and let me tell you it was a nightmare. I didn't know about coconut oil at that time, I'd give that a try (I'm trying it on my eczema now).

At that time the only relief I got was from a non steroid anti allergic prescription cream called Systral Cream (chlorphenoxamine). If coconut oil doesnt work, maybe you can find this. I still use it occasionally but can't find it in the country I am in right now.

try not to scratch, it just makes it worse (easier said than done I know)

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0 · March 04, 2013 at 12:12 PM

Hot showers are marvellous, especially with triple cream Dove body wash. Interestingly, I find that when I wet my head with hot water during the shower, and I get that little shiver of delight, the itchiness seems to go- almost as if it was more connected to stress and the nervous system rather than skin condition. The fact that I never come up in a rash (feverishly itchy though it may be) also lends weight to such a theory. Also, I have 4 small kids living in Sydney, so swim a lot (chlorine, salt or fresh- all as bad as each other) and have discovered that keeping my hair dry reduces the itchiness. The other thing to note is that some summers are better than others. The last one was a doozy. Oh, and, when the itchiness does subside my skin always feels tired and soft. What can I do?

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0 · March 01, 2013 at 12:46 AM

I had this before starting paleo... For 13 years. Paleo cured it in two weeks. Try laying off the rice and any other grains. Try to get your omega 3/omega6 ratio closer to 1/1. Omega 3 supplements are the only way I can come close to this since I live in ohio.

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0 · April 06, 2012 at 1:03 AM

I have aquagenic pruritus. I've had it since I was a teenager & am now 34. It's an awful disorder that I wouldn't wish on anyone. Years ago I found a yahoo group devoted to it & have found much relief from their tips. It seems like heat helps some, but cold helps others. I'm helped by heat. I stay covered up for the most part. I can wear short sleeves in the summer, but I wear pants all year long. Change in body temp affects me as much as taking a shower. I think it's more of a temperature thing rather than an affliction to water. Water just seems to be the biggest trigger. I normally take a very hot shower or bath and then sit in front of an IR heater until I can feel that I won't itch.

I was really hoping that a strict paleo diet would help. It has helped to some extent, but it's not completely gone. I don't get as bad of attacks as I used to. Maybe over time, it will go away. Have you tried to quit nightshades?

I also use capsacin(sp?) cream if I want to swim. I apply awhile before I swim. Sometimes the burn isn't tolerated by some so try it on a small spot first. Tanning also helps some people, but you have to keep up the tan. Once it fades, the itch comes back worse for awhile.

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6235 · June 30, 2011 at 4:04 PM

Using the PAGG stack made me itchy and jumpy, cutting the green tea back to twice a day helped a lot with that. Garlic also can make me itchy sometimes too.

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725 · July 02, 2011 at 12:00 AM

are u sure you are using decaffinated green tea?

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