Allergic reaction to hot tub chemicals?

You think you are allergic to hot tub chemicals so maybe you keep away from them as you think it’s just not worth it?

Your friends offered you the chance of a dip and as you’d never tried one before, so you thought you’d give it a go, being one of the gang, so to speak.

Being in there was great at the time, soaking up that heat and feeling fully relaxed, but the sore throat and that rash two days later was a pain to get rid of.

If you are definitely sure you need to be running a hot tub without chemicals, we may just have the answer in this post   “Running Hot Tub Without Chemicals”…   

Just click the green tab above to check it out.

As an addendum, wood hot tubs are best used without chemicals of any sort, along with wood-fired hot tubs usually being made of timber.

Want to check those out? Read our wood-fired-hot-tub-reviews for more info.

We cover chlorine-free hot tubs along with non-chlorine hot tub options with a view to giving people with delicate skin and obverse reactions to any chemicals usually used in hot tubs, the chance of relaxing without any worries.


So the question crossing your mind is why it happened like that.


Are you allergic to hot tub chemicals or is it something else, and you are now wary of hot tubs and skip them altogether just to be safe…

But do you really get a reaction to them? Or are you maybe assuming these chemicals are causing your problems?

The idea of having chemicals added to your hot tub is an alien concept, eeugh, not natural, so surely they are causing this reaction, this aggravating redness and blistering, this skin infection?

Surely they are at fault? It’s not natural, is it?

But there’s a bit more to it than that!


Both chemicals, chlorine or bromine, added to hot tub water can convince you they are at fault, whereas it may be the high Ph level, or the low or ineffective sanitizer that could be giving you these troubles.


Having your hot tub chemically balanced, not only stops any infection developing, but stops any bacteria developing to cause these type of problems and this is where your Ph levels need to be controlled.

In basic terms, the Ph governs whether your hot tub water is either alkaline or acidic.

Acidic water is heaven for certain bacteria to develop and this bacteria produces infection problems to your skin and any open cuts you may have.

Not only that, but in exaggerated acidity, bacteria arise from the surface of your hot tub, lying on the surface and in the warm air above and are breathed in as you relax, causing hot tub lung disease to develop.

In worst-case scenarios this bacteria could produce Legionnaires disease – a severe flu-like condition that affects mainly older people or those with chest and breathing problems, which can be fatal.

On the other side of the balance, alkaline water also produces a different kind of bacteria that needs to be dealt with by correcting the balance and shocking the water.

But getting back to the rash you developed, a common problem associated with imbalanced water in hot tubs, known as folliculitis, shows itself around two days after using the hot tub.

Developing folliculitis an allergic reaction to hot tub chemicals
Developing folliculitis after using an imbalanced hot tub

It can be seen, usually on the arms, neck, chest, stomach and back, but the spread also depends on the concentration of bacteria in the hot tub itself.

Your body takes around a week to fight off the infection, provided you can refrain from scratching the itchy spots that develop. This itching is a sure sign the spots and infection are being remedied naturally.

Scratch the tops and the infection rebounds and increases all the more.

One way of making sure there is no recurrence is to wash thoroughly the infected areas on a daily basis, preferably using something like a body serum to alleviate the itching and give an antibacterial cleanse.


Controlling your hot tub pH levels

Getting back to controlling the pH levels in a hot tub, you need to keep an eye on the chemical balance of the water, meaning checking it out with either inexpensive test strips or perhaps using an electronic device like the one we now use to show exactly what you need to add to get the balance perfect so this infection doesn’t happen again.

How often you do these checks depends a great deal on how often the hot tub is used or how many different people use the tub, as obviously the greater number of users will contribute a greater volume of bacteria.

Don’t be alarmed as it is a natural process where we all shed skin, especially in hot water, so this means it can be ranged from once per week in seldom use, and daily when it is busy.


Now for the low or ineffective sanitizer.

When the hot tub water is first set up before use, checks are made to ensure the right amount of sanitizer is included so that germs and bacteria are kept to a minimum level.

As a hot tub is used the sanitizer loses its effect owing to any heat and evaporation taking place, so these have to be checked periodically – again done with the test strips or the electronic device mentioned above, and this should be done on a weekly basis.

On top of this, there is a term ‘shocking a hot tub’ used usually on a weekly basis, where additives are added to the water to make the water inhospitable for bacterial life. It doesn’t take much, but the bacteria are virtually wiped out with this process and the extra chemicals will be evaporated off in a matter of a couple of hours of running your hot tub.

It is highly recommended you do this with products like Spaguard Enhanced Shock to accomplish the shocking and that way you will not suffer from the hot tub rash again as this will show you are not allergic to hot tub chemicals after all.

If you have deeper pockets though and don’t mind fiddling, to avoid all this chemical testing you could install an ultraviolet sterilizer, a great bacteria killer ridding your hot tub of 99.9% of germs and bacteria, like the incredible Solaxx uv sterilizer.

Another way is to use a hot tub with an Ozone generator built in, but these tend to be for the more expensive models like the  Essential Hot Tubs SS2540307003 Adelaide-30 Jet Hot Tub, Espresso shown below.    

Espresso Jade Hot Tub

The ozone generator provides extra free oxygen atoms in the water, which bond to the carbon atoms (the acidity side of the problem) so that you need fewer chemicals to keep the water balance right and the tests need to be carried out less frequently while putting your mind at rest all the more.

However, there are add-on ozone generators that can be ‘added-on’ to most varieties of hot tubs as below.


One of many economic and simple to set up Ozone creating controllers for bacteria and mold killing

Why not check out some of our informative pages

  1. Inflatable hot tub running costs
  2. Hot tub side effects
  3. Negative effects of hot tubs
  4. Hot tub buying guide consumer reports
  5. Allergic reaction to hot tub chemicals
  6. Best inflatable hot tub with water jets
  7. Benefits of hot tub vs sauna
  8. Hot tub temperature when not in use
  9. How to clean a hot tub that has been sitting
  10. Spa start up procedure
  11. How to raise pH in hot tub

One thought on “Allergic reaction to hot tub chemicals?

  1. Glad I found your site. Like the way it uses simple terms and is way to understand. Great info – I’ll be back

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