How to Protect Your Hair from Chlorine Water
As great as swimming is, nothing can be as frustrating as getting out of a chlorine filled swimming pool and looking at your hair in the mirror. In fact, the dry hair that you may experience after swimming is most often due to the chlorine present in the water.
Chlorine is a chemical added to pools in order to kill bacteria and keep water clean. Chlorine works by removing dirt and oil from the pool water and due to its high chemical count, it takes a toll on hair too. Chlorine can leave hair extremely dry and brittle and if you are an avid swimmer, you may be wondering how to tackle this. In this case, here at OneHOWTO we have decided to discuss with you how to protect your hair from chlorine water. Keep reading to find out more.
How does chlorine affect hair?
First of all, you need to understand that chlorine is not only present in swimming pools, but is also sometimes added to drinking water. Chlorine is also used in the manufacturing of a number of products, such as textiles, plastics, paints, paper, medicines etc. Chlorine is an oxidizing agent that encourages free radical formation that causes damage to cells, DNA, lipids and proteins. Excessive oxidation can result in: aging, disease and inflammation. When it comes to your hair, chlorine not only robs its natural oils and moisturizers, but also causes lasting damage to your hair by way of its corrosive oxidation processes. Chlorine also obliterates essential fatty acids and vitamin E from your skin and hair.
Regular exposure to chlorinated water can result in the following changes to your hair:
- Hair discoloration.
- Difficult to manage frizzy hair.
- Dry, straw-like, brittle hair.
- Weak hair.
- Dry and itchy scalp.
- Hair lacking volume.
- Hair lacking shine.
Chlorine water and hair types
Everyone who regularly exposes their hair to chlorine filled swimming pools risk hair damage. However, certain types of hair are more prone to damage than others. If you have any of the following hair types, then you need to take extra precaution while swimming in a chlorine pool:
- Chemically treated hair, such as relaxed or permed.
- Color treated hair, such as chemically highlighted or lightened.
- Thin, dry or fine hair.
- Hair that has already previously been damaged.
How to protect hair from chlorine water
Since chlorine in swimming pools can cause serious damage to hair, we will tell you how to keep your hair protected from chlorine water:
- Wet your hair before swimming: Before you going inside the pool, wet your hair with non-chlorinated water from the showers. All swimming pools have shower facilities, and in many places, it is mandatory to take a shower before entering the pool. This is because showers rinse off any creams, products or impurities that are on your body.Have you ever noticed the difference between the amount of water a dry sponge and a wet sponge can absorb? When you wet your hair before going into the pool, your hair absorbs less water from the pool, thus preventing damage. Hair is porous like sponge, and when your hair follicles are already filled with non-chlorinated water, the chlorinated water will not be able to fill your hair and cause damage. Favor cool water over warm water, as warm water may open up your hair cuticles, while cool water keep them closed thus causing less exposure. If there are no showers near your swimming pool, keep a conditioner in your bag and apply it to your hair before swimming.
- Wear a swimming cap: Wear a swimming cap when you swim, even if you are just going for a dip. A swimming cap will cover your hair and keep it dry. By wearing a swimming cap, your hair will not come into contact with the chlorine in the pool water. Applying some deep conditioner on your hair before wearing the swimming cap can also give some extra protection to your tresses. We recommend using a silicone or latex swimming cap, which are lighter and more breathable. There is a huge variety of swimming caps available in a wide array of colors and designs.
- Apply a protection layer to your hair: Add a layer of protection to your locks. Coconut oil, for example, adds a natural layer to your hair, protecting it. This layer will act as a barrier between your hair strands and the chlorinated water. You can also apply some silicone based conditioner, serum or another oil of your choice.
- Try to swim in outdoor pools only: When swimming in outdoor pools, most of the chemically related gases escape into free air. This minimizes your risk to contaminate your skin and hair. Outdoor pools are also good for your lungs, sinuses and eyes. If you can’t get access to an outdoor pool, try make sure that the indoor pool you are using is properly ventilated.
Hair tips for after swimming in a chlorine pool
Once you have finished swimming in a chlorine pool, you should immediately take a shower with clean water and shampoo. This will remove most of the chlorine from your hair, preventing any damage it could have caused. In addition, there are certain shampoos on the market which are specifically designed to remove chlorine from hair.
Once you have removed the chlorine from your hair, you need to replace the lost protein and moisture. After shampooing your hair, it is very important to condition it. We suggest opting for a protein based leave-in conditioner. This condition will smooth out frazzled and dry hair, as well as prevent split ends. Another option is to use a conditioning hair mask, which you leave on your hair from about 20-30 minutes before rinsing. Avoid using a hair dryer or other hot products on your hair for a few days, and let your hair dry naturally.
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