Published online Feb 2, 2015. doi: 10.5314/wjd.v4.i1.8
Peer-review started: September 16, 2014
First decision: October 14, 2014
Revised: November 26, 2014
Accepted: December 3, 2014
Article in press: December 10, 2014
Published online: February 2, 2015
Numerous manuscripts have described dermatologic conditions commonly seen in swimmers. This review provides an update on water dermatoses and discusses newly described conditions such as allergic contact dermatitis to chemical ingredients like potassium peroxymonosulate in pool water. In order to organize water related skin conditions, we have divided the skin conditions into a number of categories. The categories described include infectious and organism-related dermatoses, irritant and allergic dermatoses, and sun-induced dermatoses. The vast majority of skin conditions involving the water athlete result from chemicals and bacteria in the differing aquatic environments. When considering the effects of swimming on the skin, it is also useful to differentiate between exposure to freshwater (lakes, ponds and swimming pools) and exposure to saltwater. The risk of melanoma amongst swimmers is increased, and the use of SPF 30 or greater sunscreen and protective clothing is highly recommended. Swimmers should be reminded to generously apply sunscreen and be instructed on proper sunscreen usage. This review will serve as a guide for dermatologists, athletes, coaches, and other medical professionals in recognition and treatment of these conditions. We also intend for this review to provide dermatologist with a basic framework for the diagnosis and treatment of a few rarely described dermatological conditions in swimmers.
Core tip: Athletes who spend a significant amount of time in the water are subject to a wide array of diseases that include bacterial and fungal infections. These athletes are often exposed to undesirable environments with excessive humidity, heat, cold, wind, and sunlight. These factors may aggravate or cause different skin conditions that require a dermatologist who has specific knowledge of rare aquatic dermatoses.