Holland's Evergreen Commons Senior Center
HOLLAND, Mich. (WZZM) - One of the best ways to cool off in the summer is by jumping into a pool, but the chlorine can be pretty tough on your skin, especially if you're enjoying a public swimming pool.
Now there's a new trend in swimming pools that's not only better for your skin but more environmentally-friendly. They're called saltwater pools.
This new way of sanitizing pools is actually helping some with chronic skin conditions enjoy the water once again.
"A chlorinated pool kind of bothers me, bothers my skin," said Pam Simpkins. It's a problem not just Simpkins noticed, but many of the members of Holland's Evergreen Commons Senior Center.
June Visscher said it did more than just bother her skin. "The other chemicals were really hard on suits," said Visscher. "I went through three a year."
Those are just a couple of reasons why Evergreen Commons Fitness Director Karen Draeger was asked to look into a new salt water treatment for pools that replaces the need for chlorine. "They use salt like when we first filled the pool. They put in lots and lots of salt, like 50 - 50 pound bags of salt."
Then the salt runs through an ionizer sanitation system that turns it into a natural form of chlorine which sanitizes the pool. "It's like 1/10th of the salinity of the ocean."
And Draeger says there are other benefits. "It was easier to maintain and also cheaper to maintain."
And easier on the skin too, especially for seniors. As we age, we lose the ability to hold moisture in our skin, so chemicals like chlorine are more irritating. Those with psoriasis or eczema couldn't even use the pool. Draeger says it made those conditions even worse.
The new salt water pool is getting rave reviews. "It actually makes your skin feel softer and you float a lot easier," says Pam. June agrees, "This is smooth like a baby."
And she thinks it may even do more than just make her water dancing better. "If you could find a thing that was the fountain of youth maybe this is it. It's my fountain of youth any way."
By Valerie Lego