Complete Guide to Hot Tub Folliculitis
Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

If you develop a rash within a few days of going in a hot tub or swimming pool, you may be wondering:

  1. Can you get a rash from a hot tub?
  2. What does hot tub rash look like?

In answer to the first question, yes, you can get a rash from a hot tub. You may have contracted a bacterial infection known as hot tub folliculitis. But there are several causes of hot tub rash, as well, not all of which are bacterial.

In this guide, you’ll discover what hot tub skin rash looks like through several hot tub skin rash pictures to help you identify it. You’ll also learn about:

  • the causes of hot tub rash

  • hot tub rash symptoms

  • hot tub rash treatment
    & hot tub rash home remedy

  • how to prevent hot tub rash



The appearance of jacuzzi rash typically depends on its cause, severity, and whether you experience an allergic reaction. The symptoms and hot tub skin rash pictures in this guide will give you a general idea of both their similarities and differences.

Chlorine pool rash, as well as bromine rash, are chemical jacuzzi rashes that cause a condition commonly referred to as irritant contact dermatitis or chemical dermatitis. Chlorine and bromine can cause an itchy red rash. The skin can also be raw and swollen or covered in hives, as seen in one of the hot tub skin rash pictures below. Chemical jacuzzi rash or hives may look like bumps or lumpy swollen patches. But usually, they look a little different than a bacterial infection such as hot tub folliculitis.

Hot tub folliculitis, medically referred to as pseudomonas folliculitis, also causes itchy red bumps. As you’ll see in the hot tub skin rash pictures below, these bumps often look more like pimples, chickenpox, or razor bumps. These can appear on any area of the body, although the trunk area is particularly prone. The red bumps may be either sparse or dense.



There are multiple causes of hot tub skin rash. But if you have sensitive skin, you’re at increased risk for jacuzzi rash. The symptoms may also be more severe.


Chlorine pool rash causes

Chlorine pool rash (or chlorine spa rash) is caused by chlorine that’s often used to sanitize spas and pools. When the chlorine level is too high, it can lead to this type of chemical rash. If you have sensitive skin or a rare allergy to chlorine, you could experience chlorine pool rash even if chlorine is within the recommended range.

Anyone who uses a hot tub or swimming pool frequently is also at increased risk for developing chlorine pool rash. The reason being is that chlorine is drying to the skin.

Bromine rash causes

Bromine is another chemical commonly used to sanitize spas and one of the causes of hot tub rash. Like chlorine, it can lead to contact dermatitis when bromine levels are too high. Also, some bromine systems and tablets contain chlorine. If so, bromine must be added when the chlorine in the bromine tablets runs low. But when the added bromine tablets combine with the left-over bromine, it can become toxic and cause jacuzzi rash.


Bacterial causes of hot tub rash

Infection caused by the pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria, which infects hair follicles, is another cause of hot tub skin rash. When water chemicals in a spa or swimming pool are out of balance, it increases the risk of infection. Proper sanitizer levels are necessary to kill off this bacteria that thrive in warm water.

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There are similarities and differences between the two different forms of spa rash as can be seen in hot tub skin rash pictures. The following will help you distinguish the two.


Chlorine or bromine hot tub rash symptoms

Chlorine pool rash and bromine rash cause similar symptoms because both are chemical irritants. The following are common hot tub rash symptoms caused by these chemicals:

  • itchiness

  • chapped or dry skin

  • redness

  • scaliness

  • burning or stinging

  • swelling or hives

  • blisters or sores

  • cracked skin or bleeding


Pseudomonas folliculitis hot tub rash symptoms

If pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria infect you, hot tub folliculitis symptoms will develop within a few hours to 5 days. The severity of the condition can vary. Common folliculitis hot tub rash symptoms include:

  • itchiness

  • red bumps

  • white-headed pustules

  • tenderness, burning, or pain

  • crusted sores

  • swelling

  • fever (rare)

  • a large mass or swollen bump

If you need more clarification on what does hot tub rash look like, check out these hot tub skin rash pictures.


Treatment for jacuzzi rash depends on the particular type or origin of the outbreak, as well as its symptoms and severity. With severe cases, medical treatment may be necessary. But often, a hot tub rash home remedy will resolve it.


Bromine and chlorine pool rash treatment

Treatment for chlorine pool rash or bromine rash is essential to cure the condition quickly. If you are using a pool or spa again anytime soon, treatment can also prevent the spa rash from getting worse. Medical experts often recommend corticosteroid creams, such as hydrocortisone, for hot tub rash treatment. These creams help soothe and heal the itchy hot tub skin rash. Avoid applying it to your face, however. Corticosteroids can have a thinning effect on facial skin, plus it could get into your mouth and eyes.

If you experience hives, apply diphenhydramine or antihistamine cream to your skin. Oral antihistamines such as Benadryl are an effective alternative to reduce the hives. So antihistamines are also often recommended for hot tub rash treatment by medical professionals when swelling is present.

Also, avoid the hot tub and swimming pool until the rash has cleared up. Continued contact with bromine or chlorine can aggravate the condition. If you can’t avoid it, apply a specially formulated body lotion or body wash to prevent chlorine rash.

Although rare, in the event of a severe allergic reaction, contact your doctor immediately. Hives or difficulty breathing are a couple of the signs of an allergic reaction.


Hot tub folliculitis treatment

According to medical experts, there isn’t a cure for hot tub folliculitis. Fortunately, it usually goes away on its own within 2 to 10 days. But you’ll likely want to treat the itch. Besides, hot tub folliculitis increases your risk for other infections. This is particularly problematic if you have an impaired immune system. So you’ll want to take preventative measures.

It’s always best to consult with your physician before beginning hot tub folliculitis treatment to confirm the diagnosis. Hot tub folliculitis resembles several other conditions, so you want to make sure you’re treating the right ailment appropriately.

If it is hot tub folliculitis, your doctor will likely advise you to use a hot tub rash home remedy to manage the discomfort. But if the rash is severe or your physician is concerned about your risk for secondary infection, antibiotics may be prescribed. Silver sulfadiazine cream is an antibiotic commonly prescribed for hot tub folliculitis treatment.

Chemical free hot tub

Hot tub rash home remedy

If you need a hot tub rash home remedy to manage the itch or pain, the following will help. It’s also essential to keep the area clean to prevent secondary infection.

Saltwater compresses

This soothing hot tub folliculitis treatment can be done several times a day to relieve itchiness and promote healing. To make the solution, combine two cups of water with one teaspoon of table salt. Then moisten a clean washcloth or compress with the saltwater solution and apply it for 20 minutes.


It’s essential to kill the bacteria that’s caused your rash as well as other bacteria that could lead to a secondary infection. This simple hot tub rash home remedy involves washing infected areas of your skin with antibacterial soap once or twice a day.

To prevent secondary infection, apply an antibacterial cream such as Neosporin, according to package instructions.


Another hot tub home rash remedy is oatmeal treatments. Oatmeal has anti-inflammatory properties and relieves pain and itching caused by a hot tub skin rash. You can try one or both of the following methods.

Apply colloidal oatmeal lotion to the affected areas of the skin. This lotion is available in skincare aisles of pharmacies and larger grocery retailers. There are also oatmeal lotion recipes online.

The second option is oatmeal soaking. Just grind one cup of oatmeal into a fine powder with a food processor and pour it into your bathtub.

Baking soda

This staple also relieves symptoms associated with hot tub folliculitis. For this simple hot tub rash home remedy, add a cup of baking soda to your bathwater.


Medical professionals also recommend vinegar as a hot tub rash home remedy because it alleviates itchiness. Unfortunately, you’ll smell like vinegar. But if other methods don’t offer sufficient relief, vinegar is quite effective. Just combine one part apple or white vinegar to two parts water. Then soak a clean washcloth in the solution and apply it to the itchy areas for twenty minutes. Be sure to resoak the rag about every five minutes. Repeat this process two to four times daily as needed.

If the rash doesn’t clear up within ten days or is severe

Hot tub skin rash often leaves a dark hyperpigmentation that can last for several months. But if the rash itself hasn’t cleared up within ten days or if symptoms are severe, you should see a physician. Jacuzzi rash usually isn’t a critical condition. But in rare cases, it can lead to complications and cause permanent skin damage, hair loss, boils under the skin, and recurrent infections. So medical hot tub folliculitis treatment may be necessary.

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There are two parts to prevent hot tub rash symptoms. The first is regular and proper hot tub care; the second is self-care to reduce your risk of infection or hot tub skin irritation as shown in these hot tub skin rash pictures.

Hot tub care to prevent hot tub rash symptoms

Maintaining proper chemical levels in your hot tub water is essential to prevent hot tub rash. Sufficient sanitizer level is crucial to kill the bacteria that cause hot tub folliculitis. At the same time, sanitizer levels that are too high increase your risk for chlorine pool rash or bromine rash.

So test spa water regularly and before you enter it. If treated with bromine, the level should be between 3 parts per million (ppm) and 5 ppm. Chlorine levels should range between 1 ppm and 3 ppm. The higher recommended level is ideal for both.

The pH of your spa is also essential to prevent hot tub rash because when water is too acidic, sanitizer is less effective. The proper pH level for hot tubs ranges between 7.2 to 7.8, with 7.4 to 7.6 being optimal.

Also, pseudomonas bacteria can develop resistance to sanitizers when hot tub water isn’t maintained. If the bacteria have enough time to thrive in your hot tub, it builds up a protective barrier and becomes more difficult to eradicate with sanitization. So avoid the temptation to let it go.

If you find spa maintenance a hassle, you can simplify it by using Spa Marvel Water Treatment & Conditioner. This product reduces both the amount of the chemicals required to maintain your jacuzzi and the frequency of adding them.

Pseudomonas bacteria can also attach itself to plastics, metals, and other materials by forming a biofilm that excretes a slimy substance. So routine biofilm or slime removal is also necessary to prevent hot tub rash, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Because these bacteria can enter the plumbing, it should also be cleaned regularly. Spa Marvel Cleanser deeply penetrates your spa’s plumbing and equipment and is fast-acting.


Prevent hot tub rash with personal care

There are several self-care steps you can take to prevent hot tub skin rash, as well. To avoid bromine or chlorine pool rash:

  • Take a shower just before entering the hot tub to remove lotions, which can increase hot tub skin irritation when combined with chlorine. Moistening your skin will also diminish its ability to absorb the chlorine.

  • Create a barrier between your skin and the chlorine by applying a pre-swimming chlorine neutralizer lotion that’s formulated to protect your skin from chlorine.

  • Shower immediately after exiting the hot tub to remove chlorine residue from your skin and reduce moisture loss.

  • Use body cream or lotion daily to hydrate your skin, so it’s less prone to drying out, which is what causes hot tub skin irritation from chlorine.

  • Drink plenty of liquids to stay hydrated.

  • Exfoliate your skin a couple of times a week.

To prevent hot tub rash symptoms caused by pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria, follow these steps:

  • Avoid hair removal just before entering a hot tub. Do it at least one day in advance, if possible. A week in advance is best for waxing.

  • Abstain from using the hot tub if you have any cuts or scrapes until they’ve healed.

  • Remove your bathing suit immediately after exiting the spa, then shower with soap and water.

  • Don’t allow your bathing suit or towel to air dry. Wash them between uses to kill bacteria.

  • Avoid overcrowded hot tubs because it’s harder for the sanitizer to do its job. Also, exit the tub if you feel slime anywhere on its surfaces.

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