Letter: The new pool gave me dry skin, a rash and probably rosacea

UBC unveiled its $39 million baby this past January and from the moment I stepped into the bleach white, forward-thinking Aquatic Centre, I fell in love. The architecture made me feel like a Scandinavian aqua babe and the facility itself reminded me that recreational swimming was a pretty great way to get exercise and relieve stress. Then, just as I was most vulnerable, the chlorine betrayed me.

After a couple of pool visits, I noticed a rash forming on my arms and blotchy, red patches on my face. Like a responsible adult woman, I decided to see my family doctor who told me that the condition of my skin was “concerning” and “may have been caused by chlorine.” The doctor diagnosed it as “probably rosacea” and prescribed me an antibiotic compound cream which I have to slather on my face three times a day.

Now, every time I touch my violently dry face, I'm reminded of my days as a recreational swimmer and wonder if the pool is to blame. Although there’s no report that the Aquatic Centre is using an overabundance of chemicals, my blotchy, red face should act as evidence of chlorine overload. My 15 minutes of research on rosacea.org supports my theory, as the National Rosacea Society states that excess amounts of chlorine in pools can aggravate the condition.

Needless to say, I’m upset. There are alternatives to chlorine like complete UV and salt water that I imagine could have been tacked onto the new pool’s price tag. Alternatively, the pH levels could just be balanced better so that all the hunnies out there with sensitive skin can swim in peace.

Would I like some compensation for my emotional and physical distress? Sure. Should my tuition be discounted because of this tragedy? Probably. However, all I really want is for students to be aware and cautious of how much chlorine is in the new Aquatic Centre.

Also, if anyone is into girls with rosacea, you know where to find me (anywhere but the pool).

Anita Rudakov is a second-year commerce student.