What Causes Hot Tub Rash and How to Prevent It

Hot tub Rash or Hot Tub Folliculitis is one of those concerning things that occur because of poor maintenance of hot tubs or spas. Just put together, it is the rash that is caused by soaking in contaminated water. The hot tub rash is not limited to happen only through hot tubs but of course, can happen anywhere like in swimming pool or lake or even beaches where the water is contaminated.

What Causes Hot Tub Rashes?

hot tub rash

Hot tub rashes are quite common and might occur because of various reasons. However, there are few reasons which can drastically lead to the rise of this issue. Let us check out the possible reasons that can cause hot tub rashes.

1) Bacteria:

First and foremost reason that causes hot tub rash is the bacteria. It is known as Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Well, the name may sound strange, but the disease that is spreading is genuinely awful. This kind of bacteria found in soil on plants, and almost in all sources of water. It commonly spreads across the areas where water is available. This bacteria happens to be available most widely across the human-made environments.

According to Wikipedia, this bacteria is opportunistic and can survive even in low oxygen environments. In animals, its versatility enables the organism to infect damaged tissues or those who have reduced immunity power. Since it is bacteria and can affect any number of persons, the usual effect may be from a single person and spreading over to other people who use the same water or the same hot tub.

2) Chemicals like Chlorine and Bromine:

It is interesting to see that the chemicals like chlorine which are used to keep the water clean can also be one of the reasons to make the hot tub create rashes on the skin. The idea behind the chemicals like chlorine and bromine to cause such rashes is because they can eat away enzymes that are designed to prevent hair follicle irritation. This irritation can be taken care off by using the sanitizers that don’t use heavy volumes of these chemicals.

Unlike bacteria’s, these chemical driven rashes don’t spread from one person to another. It is one in a family that may get affected with this, and you can take a preventive step that might help taking care of the rashes.

3) pH level:

Water is neutral and mostly tends towards being more of basic or alkaline. However, there could be contaminations that tend to damage the pH value and in turn, cause rashes and other infections on the human body. It is the reason why it is advised to check the pH level of the hot tub or spa water regularly if you let the water levels to be in it for a more extended period. When the contaminations increase, the pH value may vary and can cause some severe skin problems.

How to Spot Hot Tub Rashes on the Body?

Well, it is hard to describe in words how to identify the hot tub rashes on the body, but we will try our best to make it in best possible ways to understand, imagine how they may look like.

Initially, the start of the Hot tub rashes would be your skin turning red. Red as you might notice similar to pimples. As and when they start growing, they begin creating irritations all over the body. These may arise at the lower part of the body or back of the body or even the upper portion. However, the back of the body is where it is concentrated. As and when they grow, they not only create more amount of irritations, they also start increasing in size.

Abnormal rashes increase irritations and when they start pinching you rapidly just make sure to check with the nearest doctor to verify that these are the rashes created due to the hot tub.

Steps to Prevent Hot Tub Rashes:

As we discussed, what could be the possible reasons for the hot tub rashes, there are preventive steps that need to be taken to take care of the hot tub and the water that flows in it. Here are few simple steps that can help you to prevent rashes occurring on your body.

1) Hygienic conditions:

First and foremost it is quite clear that the surroundings and inside of the hot tub should be neat. The water that we utilize in the hot tub and spa will be little warmer than usual. Hence the bacteria may tend to settle down at the corners or bottoms of the hot tub very quickly. So the water should be arranged in optimal conditions such that it is neither too warm nor too cold.

If you’re maintaining a large spa or hot tub and not cleaning the water regularly, then make sure that the surroundings of that are neat. If you use the swimsuit, then they should be immediately removed once you move out of the hot tub. Then a shower with soap is as essential as your daily bath. Mainly for kids, it is necessary because they align to get attacked by the bacteria and chemicals more easily than adults due to varying immunity power.

2) Using optimum level of Chemicals:

There is no denial in the fact that to maintain the hot tub or spa cleanly; it is advised to use some chemicals. Chlorine is the most common source for water treatment. However, anything that is beyond the maximum limits may cause damage to your body when they come in contact with your nose, ears, and eyes while you get refreshed in it. So proper suits may help you get away from them.

Bromine is another one component that is also frequently used to cleanse the water. Again same as is the case with Chlorine, you should follow the steps to handle it distinctly. If at all you allow the pets to come into hot tubs, then you should also make sure that you take care of them equally because after all, they may also get infected by the bacteria and harmful chemicals.

3) Cleansing the water regularly and checking pH levels:

The water that we utilize every day for drinking is almost pure and is away from bacteria, fungi, and viruses. However, the water that we use for in bathing or shower or even in hot tubs or spas it is mostly the water that comes indirectly from the river or pond sources. They may not be as treated as drinking water. So when you leave the water for longer time, it may eventually give room for bacteria, fungi or viruses.

So make sure that you cleanse the water regularly before using the hot tub and also make sure to check the pH levels. If your water pH level is somewhere between 7.2 – 7.8 then your water is safe to use. To check the pH levels, there are various instruments, pH strips that will tell you the pH levels of water quickly. Testing and cleansing the hot tub water twice a week is an excellent idea to prevent the hot tub rashes and other skin related diseases.

4) Never itch the itch:

We can completely understand how difficult it is to control itching when you want to take your hand to that part of a body and drill it rapidly so that you can relax for a while. But remember, the small relaxing that you receive by itching the red spot might be sowing seeds for some more significant problem. So try to calm down, let it settle down on its own. Try to use some antibiotics or consult a doctor immediately if you cannot control it.


Rashes in any form are difficult to restrain. They look ugly and also cause serious problems not only to you but also to your beloved ones. Swimming in a pool without a proper suit is equivalent to getting refreshed in a hot tub or spa that use improper water. The chemicals that we use to get rid of other germs and bacteria may themselves be the reason for causing such problems. Hence the optimum level of compounds based on the quantity of water in the hot tub is advised to use.

In this article, we tried to uncover you the most probable reasons that might cause rashes from the hot tub. We also listed down the best possible ways of getting rid of these rashes by taking preventive steps. If the outbreaks still occur, despite taking all the precautionary measures then it could probably because of some other reason, and it is highly advisable that you consult the doctor immediately and take the proper medication.

Let us know in comments section below any such instances you faced and what preventive steps you took to get rid of hot tub rashes.


Hi, I'm Richard the Chief Editor at HotTubDigest.com. I worked in the Hot tub maintenance field for a few years, and I thought to share my knowledge about Hot tub on our blog. My team and I share useful information related to Hot Tubs.

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