Hot Tub Rash

Hot Tub Rash: Causes, Picture, Symptoms and Treatment

Hot tub rash is a common problem that affects people who spend time in hot tubs. You have a busy life that can induce stress. Relieving stress is possible when you immerse your body in hot water. It soothes the aches and pain suffered by your joints. You can also relief from high blood pressure. But, without good maintenance, the hot tubs or sauna baths can become a source of your skin problem. You can suffer from hot tub folliculitis (rash). So, instead of good relaxation, you suffer from itching and discomfort. Before you try to prevent the skin problem from affecting your life, you need to know more about it. Understanding it well can help you deal with the problem better. You can find an effective solution to treat it and eradicate the issue from your hot tubs. With proper steps, you can eliminate the problem from your life. So, you can enjoy your time in the sauna bath.

What Is A Hot Tub Rash?

Hot tub rash is the skin infection that affects the lower parts of your hair follicles. It is one of the not-so-nice side effects of using a sauna bath. The condition is also known as Jacuzzi folliculitis, hot tub folliculitis or pseudomonas folliculitis. You can see the rashes appearing after a few hours of coming in contact with contaminated water in the hot tub. The contaminated water contains certain bacteria that thrive in wet and warm areas. You can get the skin infection when you come in contact with the bacteria that thrives in sauna baths.

Hot Tub Rash

The bacteria can flourish in more in wooden tubs compared to others. The skin condition is not contagious. So, you may not develop the problem by coming in contact with an affected person. But, the source causing the problem is contagious. So, anyone coming in contact with the contaminated tub can develop a skin problem.

Symptoms Of Hot Tub Rash

Some people can observe changes in skin hours or days after using the hot tub. The skin feels itchy, has several bumps, and has a red rash. In some cases, the bumps may have pus in it. So, it can look like acne. If you see such changes on your skin after using a hot tub, then pay more attention. You must look for the following signs:

  • The rash develops into dark nodules
  • Nodules tender or painful to touch
  • Red, round bumps
  • Itchy bumps
  • Rash in the chest region (the exact place where the water in hot tub commonly hots)
  • The appearance of the rash in areas under the swimsuit (due to the trapping of water and bacteria)
  • Feeling uneasy
  • Earache
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Sore throat

If you have such symptoms, then contact your doctor. The mild cases of the skin problem can go away without any medications. You can just adopt some home remedies to get relief from severe problems.

Severe Symptoms Of Hot Tub Rash

In some people, the skin condition triggers severe signs. So, pay attention to the symptoms in your body and see a doctor immediately. The symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Inflamed or tender breasts
  • Upper respiratory tract complaints

People with a compromised immune system and young children need to get assistance from a medical professional to avoid any complications.

Causes Of Hot Tub Rash

The rash occurs when you come in contact with the specific bacteria triggering the problem. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the bacteria that cause the skin problem. When your skin comes in contact with the bacteria, it can cause the development of round and red rashes. The bacteria are found in many places. You can find it commonly in heated pools, hot tubs, etc. It mostly occurs when the pH levels and chlorine levels in the water fail to meet the regulations.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa
Pseudomonas aeruginosa

The Pseudomonas aeruginosa can thrive well in moist and warm areas. Unlike other types of bacteria, Pseudomonas bacteria can survive in chlorinated water. So, it becomes difficult to kill the bacteria completely. Therefore, people using the pool or hot tub need to ensure the water remains from such bacteria. Regularly checked and well-regulated water cannot cause any problems.

Hot Tub
Hot Tub

Hot tub rash is a common problem in people who use hot tubs that contain contaminated water. It occurs well the tubs and warm pools are not cleaned regularly and thoroughly. The bacteria can affect the hair follicles of your skin resulting in rashes and bumps. But, the problem is not transmitted from one person to another.

Risk Factors Associated With Hot Tub Rash

Any person can develop the rash when exposed to water contaminated by the Pseudomonas bacteria. But, some people experience more risk of getting the infection or subsequent complications compared to others. The factors that make you more vulnerable to the infection are:

Low Immunity

People who have low immunity against diseases can suffer from skin problem. A compromised immune system cannot prevent the attack by the bacteria. So, it results in rashes. People with the following health conditions need to maintain caution:

Other Skin Conditions

People who already suffer from other skin problem can experience the development of hot tub rash. So, if you have the following conditions, then stay alert:

The above-mentioned condition can make your skin susceptible to bacterial attack. So, it makes it easier for the infection to penetrate deep into your skin.

Recent Hair Removal

If you have recently epilated, waxed, or shaved, then you can face the risk of rash. The hair removal methods can cause damage to the hair follicle. So, it makes it easy for the bacteria to attack your skin and cause problems.

Complications Due To Hot Tub Rash

Some people completely ignore the problem. It is important to see a doctor if the skin problem does not go away after two weeks. Failure to get treatment for the rash at the right time can result in complications. Development of abscess is one of the common complication associated with the skin problem. Without medical management, skin disorder can cause the collection of infected pus. So, you can experience pain and discomfort. The possible solution to overcome abscess is an invasive procedure. It will help drain the pus collected in the abscess. So, get treatment if the rash persists to avoid problems.

Diagnosis Of Hot Tub Rash

In most cases, the bacteria causing the rash never survives for a long time. So, if you have healthy skin, then the skin infection can clear on its own. You can find the infection resolving on its own after a week or two. But, the rash that does not resolve on its own or you have severe symptoms along with the rash, then see a doctor. The additional symptoms indicate a serious case of infection. You can experience the symptoms when the infection spreads to other parts of the body. So, monitor the following signs along with the rash:

  • High fever (temperature above 38 degree Celsius)
  • Recurring folliculitis
  • Folliculitis that spreads to other parts
  • The skin surrounding the rash becomes painful or tender to touch
  • The rash site and surrounding area has swelling
  • Immediate areas around rash have warmth and redness

When you see such symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor can use the following diagnoses technique to detect the issue conclusively.

Medical History And Physical Assessment

In the majority of the cases, the medical professional can diagnose skin infection by just looking at the infected skin. The signs and symptoms caused by the infection can point toward the specific rash. You need to answer the question regarding the time you have spent in a sauna bath recently. It can help the doctor confirm the diagnosis. Your prior medical history can also shed light on the actual reason for experiencing such signs. It will also help your doctor eliminate other skin disorders with a similar appearance.

Fluid Culture

The skin infection can lead to the development of nodules filled with pus. Your doctor can take the sample fluid from the blisters. The fluid sample is sent to a laboratory to test for infection. It is assessed for the specific type of bacteria that leads to a skin infection.

Skin Biopsy

Skin Biopsy

If your doctor remains unsure about the exact problem causing the skin infection, then skin biopsy can provide a conclusive diagnosis. The sample of the skin is sent to the lab for checking the presence of bacteria.

Treatment For Hot Tub Rash

The treatment options available to treat hot tub rash depend on the severity of the issue. In most of the mild cases of the skin rash, the problem resolves without medical treatment. For mild cases, you can opt for home remedies.

Home Remedies For Hot Tub Rash

The home remedies can help manage the discomfort associated with the rash. You can see the rash clearing within ten to fourteen days. By adopting the home remedies, you can see the symptoms resolving within seven days. The home treatments can speed up the healing process. So, you can try the following home remedies:

Warm Compress

Applying a warm compress on the infected skin can offer you relief. The warmth can help reduce the itching caused by the rash. So, you can avoid scratching of affected skin and subsequent infection. Applying a warm compress also improves healing.

Anti-Itching Creams/Lotions

You can buy over-the-counter anti-itching creams or lotion. Apply it on the infected skin to get relief from itching. Hot tub rash can cause itching, which can lead to infection and scarring of the skin. So, you can get relief from itching and prevent complication by using the creams and lotions.

Antibacterial Creams

You can apply antibacterial creams like Neosporin can treat the infection. When you apply the ointment on the affected areas can also prevent secondary infection. The ointment contains neomycin, polymyxin, bacitracin, and antibiotics. The powerful ingredients can stop the growth of bacteria causing the rash.

Apply Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is well-known for its anti-bacterial property. So, it is applied to the affected area to kill the bacteria affecting the skin. You can either apply it directly on your skin or soak in the bath by mixing it in water.

Avoid Picking

Leave the rash alone. If you pick the rash or try to break the skin eruption, it can cause infection. So, you can develop skin scarring.

Medical Treatment For Hot Tub Rash

When the home remedies fail to offer relief or the rash does not go away after two weeks, you need to seek medical assistance. Since the hot tub rash is highly treatable without any complications, you can manage the problem with ease.

Topical Medications

Your doctor can prescribe topical medications like antibacterial ointment and creams. You can apply it on the skin to kick the infection completely.

Oral Antibiotics

Your doctor can also prescribe oral medications. You need to take it to clear the infection quickly. The antibiotics can help you overcome the bacterial infection. You need to take the prescription medication as per the doctor’s suggestion. It is essential to complete the course suggested by the doctor. If you stop taking it once the infection clears, then you can suffer from complications. The infection comes back stronger and with more resistance to antibiotics. So, it becomes difficult to treat recurrence.

Ensuring Hot Tub Chemistry For Avoiding Hot Tub Rash

If you own the sauna bath in your home, you need to ensure its chemistry to prevent contamination of water. It will keep the bacteria at bay and avoid the formation of hot tub rash. You need to pay attention to the balance level of the water’s pH and the right amount of water sanitizer. It keeps the water safe from any problems. The right water chemistry can prevent the growth of bacteria that causes a skin problem. So, you can have peace of mind. To make the hot tub inhospitable to the bacteria (P. aeruginosa), you can follow the steps suggested below:

Add Chlorine/Bromine

Mixing chlorine or bromine into the water can keep it safe from bacteria. So check if the water has 1ppm (parts per million) to 3 ppm of free chlorine or 2ppm to 6ppm of bromine.

Maintain the pH level

You need to maintain the right pH levels (7.4 to 7.6) that make the bacteria inhospitable. So, frequently check the pH levels to ensure it maintains the specified range.

Test Water

If you have a hot tub at home, then you know the importance of testing the water in it. So, you need to check the water at least once or twice a week. You also need to take the water sample to the local hot tub dealer once a month for testing.

Frequent Checking

You can use the sauna bath more frequently than normal or invite your friends and colleagues to use the hot tub. In such cases, it is essential to test the water in the tub frequently. It will avoid any complications in the future.

Make sure to follow the steps to keep your hot tub safe from bacteria. It will prevent your hot tub from becoming the source of catching the skin problem. So, you can relax in the sauna bath without worrying about skin problems.

How To Prevent Hot Tub Rash

If you use hot tubs frequently, then showering after coming in contact with contaminated water can suffer from an infection. But, you can adopt some steps that will lower the risk of contracting the skin problem. So, follow the pointers to prevent the skin issue from affecting your life:

Ensure Clean Hot Tubs

A thoroughly cleaned and treated hot tube is an effective and efficient method to prevent the condition. So, you must only use regularly cleaned tubs and has its pH as well as chlorine levels monitored. The regularly maintained tubs must also have well-working water filtration devices. The hot tubs as the name suggests maintains water at warm levels compared to swimming pools. So, the increase in temperature can break the chlorine faster. Therefore, it needs more thorough treatment options compared to swimming pools.

Avoid Hair Removal

It becomes impossible to prevent the complications once your body comes in contact with bacteria in a sauna bath. So, you need to take steps to prevent the issue from worsening. You can avoid infection with some steps like avoiding hair before using a sauna. Therefore, refrain from waxing, shaving or other removal techniques to prevent complications. If you need to wax, do it in advance at least twenty-four hours or before.

Never Spend More Time In Damp Clothes

When you sit around in damp clothes or swimsuit, it can increase your chances of skin problems or allergies. Therefore, you need to shower immediately after getting out of the sauna bath. You can clean yourself with soap and water to clean the skin and prevent further complications.

Clean Swimsuit

Once you use hot tubs, clean your swimsuit. Cleaning it can get rid of bacteria causing the skin infection. By cleaning the swimsuit thoroughly, you prevent the chances of re-infection.

Check Service History

You need to check with the service attendant about the service history of the tub you use. A safe tub has frequent servicing to ensure no presence of bacteria. The water in the tub is checked twice per day to guarantee no issues due to contamination.


Hot tub rash can affect the skin, leading to itchy and red bumps. You can suffer from the issue when you come in contact with contaminated water. So, if you use a sauna tub at home or outside, try to make you its safety. A well-maintained hot tub can offer you relaxation without causing any skin problem. If you get the skin infection, you need to adopt some home remedies to deal with the problem. It can clear without causing any scarring. You must never pick the rash as it can cause infections or other problems. If the condition does not resolve within ten days, then make an appointment with your doctor. Medical care and attention can help you manage the issue.

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