Visiting a swimming pool during the hot summer days can be a rescue, but you could face an unpleasant surprise once your session is over. As you already know, swimming pools require lots of chlorine to keep their atmosphere healthy, sanitary, and clean, destroying unwanted bacteria. But it also has some side effects, as chlorine can be really bad for your skin, and especially your hair.
In this article you’ll find out how to take care of your hair and what should you do to minimize the effects chlorine has on your hair, to keep it healthy for a long period of time while maintaining your swimming without letting it ruin your hair.
Why Is Chlorine Bad For Your Hair?
Before we head to the main topic, you should know why all of this happens and how come the swimming pool and all of its chemicals that are used to keep it safe for swimming are bad for your hair, if you don’t treat it. Chlorine is an oxidizing agent, which means it helps other substances oxidize (combine with oxygen). It also causes the formation of free radicals, which damage proteins, DNA, cells… Too much of this can cause inflammation, aging, or even disease. It is not hard to understand that chlorine could cause a change in your hair substance, which could cause corrosion of your hair and other lasting damage.
What Are The Symptoms?
Exposure to chlorine without proper care will have some of the following symptoms:
- Your hair will become discolored
- It will start to feel like a straw and become easy to break
- Hair shine will be lost
- Hair will become frizzy
- It will lose volume and strength
- The scalp will become dry and itchy
If you find this scary and think about quitting, don’t! There are ways you could minimize the chlorine effects and lower the chances of anything like this happening, and you’ll read about them in the next few paragraphs.
Get A Swim Cap
Buying a swim cap should be one of the first things you’ll get when you decide to start your swimming training. It won’t keep your hair completely dry, as some water will get in, but it will prevent most of it from reaching your head. Besides that, it will prevent the hair from getting into your eyes while you swim, and it will also take a lot less time and effort to wash it and remove the chemicals from it once your session is over. Not to mention the fact you’ll need less shampoo, so it will also save you a bit of money.
Rinse Your Hair With Fresh Water
Just before you start your swimming session, wash your hair with fresh water. Most pools have showers near or within the locker room, so it is recommended to use them. Soak your hair with fresh and clean, unchlorinated water. By doing this, you’ll let less chlorine be absorbed by your hair while you’re in the pool. Once you’re done and out of the pool, also visit the shower and again rinse it with fresh water. It will remove most of the chlorine and make it easier to wash it all off when you get home.
And take your time, let the freshwater flow at least for a few minutes, don’t rush.
Rinse Your Swimming Cap
A swimming cap will keep most of the pool water out of your hair, but some of it will get in. So, when you’re done washing your hair, rinse your cap both the inside and outside. Doing this will not only keep your swimming cap clean, but it will also remove any chlorine traces from it and prevent it from causing damage to your cap, keeping it in a good shape and maintaining its quality for a longer period of time.
Also, it is worth thinking about doubling up swim caps. If this seems like too much, getting a thick headband and placing it around your hairline, under your cap, will absorb most of the chlorine and let the smaller amount of it from reaching your hair, keeping it dryer.
Use The Conditioner
This one is optionable, but you could use coconut oil to saturate your hair or even leave the conditioner in after you rinse your hair, and before you enter the pool. This way you’ll keep your hair moisturized, while also creating an additional protective layer. There are lots of conditioners and shampoos specially made for after swimming care, and they’ll remove any traces of itchy, straw-like hair caused by pool chlorine.
They will also remove that pool-water characteristic smell, which can be really frustrating, especially if you visit the swimming pool a few times a week. Of you have one since you’ve been kind.
Apple Cider Vinegar Rinsing Is An Option
If you need another option, you can get apple cider vinegar. It will remove the chemicals out of the hair strands, while also taking care of possible build-up. Another plus side of this is its ability to remove all the other chemicals that could damage your hair, like copper, even salt, etc.
Let The Air Do Its Work
Once you’re done with washing, rinsing, and ready to go back home, don’t use a blow dryer to dry your hair. If it is warm outside, first use your towel to dry it as much as you can, then leave the rest to the air and the sun. And if it is cold or windy, a better option is to have a cap and/or a hoodie on. But be gentle! Don’t rub your hair with your towel, blot it instead. If you don’t have one, think about getting one of those super-absorbent towels, as they’ll help you dry your hair easier by absorbing the larger amount of water.
Another possible problem is the hair tangles. Remember, wet hair is more fragile, easier to break, so don’t be too aggressive while you try to untangle it. The best “tool” for this is a wide-toothed comb, as it will make untangling easier while helping you prevent any possible damage.
Swim Outside If There Is An Option
If there is a choice, always choose to swim in the open pool. Sun causes gasses contained in the pool’s chemicals to escape the water and get into the air. It means the water becomes less chemical-driven, so there are not so many chemicals that could damage your hair.
This makes outdoor pools a better option not only for your hair but also for your eyes, lungs, skins, sinuses… Overall, they are healthier and require a bit fewer things to do to keep your hair and skin healthy and unaffected by chemicals. If there is not an outdoor option, find the one with the best ventilation.
Trim Your Hair
No matter how well you take care of your hair, the swimming pool and its chemicals will eventually take their toll. After some time, it is a good idea to trim your hair. Regular trimming and removing damaged ends will help it remain fresh, and make it look better. Let the new one grow and glow!
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Swimming and pool-related activities are some of the most fun things you could do during the summer, and swimming as a sport is one of the best workout options for you. But it also comes with the price, as pools need lots of chemicals to stay clean and safe and healthy for swimming. Some of these chemicals are not good for your hair and skin, but this article should provide you enough information on how to take good care of your hair and prevent it from being damaged.
By following them, you’ll be able to relax and spend far less time worrying about keeping your hair healthy, and focus on water, swimming, floating, and the fun part.
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- 9 WAYS TO PROTECT YOUR SKIN AND HAIR CHLORINE, annmariegianni.com