The chlorine in water strips away the natural oils leaving your hair dry and brittle. The chemical has the potential to dry out human hair to an extent that it can damage the hair cuticle.
o What is Chlorine anyway?
Chlorine is a powerful chemical disinfectant added to the water in many if not most swimming pools. It kills germs and prevents the formation of an algae crust on top of the pool. If the water is not chlorinated, then the odds are that it is not worth swimming in at all, to begin with. Here, it is pertinent to understand that occasional exposure to chlorinated water would not damage your hair. However, it can make them feel dry for a few hours. Regular exposure to the rigors of heavily chlorinated swimming pools can cause a significant amount of damage to your hair.
Basically, disinfectants are used to break down and remove excess oil, dirt, and organic matter such as bacteria. Here, it is pertinent to note that the human scalp produces its own oil to help protect your hair from any damage due to sun exposure. This is precisely why stripping all of that excess the oil from your hair in a swimming pool can cause not just over-drying of the hair but also increased porosity as well.
When you refuse to take any steps to both prevent and otherwise treat your hair for exposure to chlorine, the individual hair strands will become dry and may even lose their natural luster altogether. Sometimes in more extreme cases, the hair strands might also break off and fall. This holds even truer for hair that is color treated since it may end up fading a lot faster due to the effects of excessive chlorination.
o How You Can Prevent and Treat chlorine damaged hair cuticles
There are remedies that can help you take care of this problem. Let us take a quick look at a few.
o Dip your hair in fresh water beforehand
The hair cuticle can absorb a lot of water in a manner roughly akin to a sponge. So, taking advantage of the hair’s water retention capacity, try to saturate all of your hair with the fresh (as opposed to salty) tap water available in the shower stall, before entering the swimming pool. This way your hair will not have a lot of room for the absorption of chlorinated water. Make sure that you soak your hair completely with fresh water before taking a dip in the pool.
o Do not forget to put on a swimming cap
Today, most pools (both indoor and outdoor ones) have made swimming caps mandatory. There is sound reasoning behind this idea. Apart from the fact that it can keep your hair from shedding in the pool, these swimming caps also block the overall contact between your hair and the otherwise chlorinated water.
o ‘Leave in conditioning’
You should apply a high quality ‘leave in’ conditioning agent once you have thoroughly soaked and washed all of your hair in the fresh water that would be readily available in the shower stall. You should use a towel to get rid of the excess moisture (to make sure that the conditioner is not washed away) and then run your favorite leave-in conditioner through the strands of your hair. Here it is important that you try to get rid of all knots while applying generous amounts of the product.
The important point to understand here is that the conditioner will seal the residual fresh water in your hair and thus it will prevent the chlorinated water from getting into the cuticles and prevent damage. Both Argan and coconut oil can be used as conditioners.
o Rise and wash your hair after the swim
Once you are done swimming in the pool, waste no time loitering around the pool area. Instead, get into the shower stall as soon as possible. In fact, rinse all the swimming pool’s chlorinated water from your hair while using cold or lukewarm water. Here, you should also remember to avoid hot water as it can damage your hair further.
The ideal way to wash your hair post-swim is to rinse it thoroughly all the way from the roots to the tips for at least a few minutes (depending on the length of your hair) after which you can move on to shampooing.
o Shampoo your hair methodically with a hydrating formulation
Once you are done with the post-swim rise, use a hydrating shampoo to repair the dryness that the chlorine has made your hair go through. Such a shampoo will also ensure that all the residual traces of the chlorine in your hair have been removed.
o Deep conditioning your hair is also very important
This is a very important point for anyone who is a fairly regular swimmer. You should aim to deep condition your hair at least twice or thrice a month at least to restore the moisture and the natural hair oils, thanks to the dip in a chlorinated pool. Deep conditioning rejuvenates your chlorine affected, lifeless dull, and dry hair strands and leaves them as vibrant as ever before.
In the light of the above, we can easily see that swimming in even a heavily chlorinated pool does not mean that you would have to pay a heavy price and leave the pool with dull hair. At least not if you follow these tips. Also, make sure you have a water treatment system installed at home. This will ensure that your skin and your hair remain healthy post-shower.