What You Must Know to Protect Your Hair from Chlorine
August 29, 2018Summer is here and you're feeling like going for a swim, but you don't know that the time you spend in the pool having fun can actually take a toll on your hair! You may be asking how the pool can damage your hair. Well, you've surely heard about chlorine, and now you'll find out exactly how and why it affects your hair, and what you can do to keep your tresses protected without skipping on the pool fun. If you are a pool regular, learn more before your hair is in such an ugly state that you might need the rescuing help of hair loss products.
How Chlorine Damages HairChlorine and copper are necessary chemicals to avoid the proliferation of bacteria in pools, and even in safe drinking water. No one would like to take a dive in an unsanitary pool and chlorine helps keep our health safe in and out of the pool, but we have then to cope with its undesirable side effects, from rashes to dryness on the skin, cornea, and hair.
Chlorine is a powerful oxidizing agent, which means it is corrosive and leads to the formation of free radicals (oxygen molecules split into separate atoms with unpaired electrons that hunt everywhere in the neighboring cells looking for other electrons to bond with, causing cellular damage in the process). Free radicals are responsible for the deterioration of proteins, vitamin E, and lipids on the hair, which leads to extreme scalp and hair shaft dryness, hair follicle damage, discoloration, breakage, and dandruff. The damage from chlorine is accumulative, and while a summer of pool swimming won't condemn your hair, it is best to prevent damage or minimize the ill effects of chlorine on your tresses by applying a few preventive measures.
5 Consequences of Chlorine on Hair
- Scalp and Hair Shaft Dryness
Chlorine strips your scalp and hair of their natural oils. The dryness that ensues is the culprit for most chlorine hair damage, and it manifests in many forms, from roughness and continuous frizz to dullness and possibly itching. Sun exposure during pool time is another cause for extreme dryness since UV rays degrade the proteins on the hair shaft, causing the cuticle to lift and expose hair to further damage.
In case you didn't know, the same extreme dryness can manifest on your skin with itching, rashes, acne breakouts or over-sensitization. In extreme cases, skin with no protection from constant chlorine and sun exposure will flake and age faster. Nails can also get weaker and prone to breakage.
- Hair Follicle Damage
Hair growth might end up getting stunted because of protein damage and lack of nutrients to the follicle. The hair shaft weakens, changes texture and becomes finer and limp, lacking volume and body.
Copper oxidizes on the hair shaft and causes a green tint on hair, especially blond hair. Colored or chemically treated hair also suffers discoloration when constantly exposed to pool water since the cuticle swells and fills up with chlorine, which strips away the color that was placed inside the hair shaft when you dyed your hair and damages its inner parts. UV exposure does its thing too by damaging pigment cells on the hair.
Once the hair is weakened and dried out by the action of chlorine, breakage is in order. It can start with brittle, tangled hair with split ends and then progress to extensive breakage.
This problem is also related to dryness. Depleted and dry scalp is more prone to a chronic dandruff problem.
How to Avoid Chlorine Damage on Hair
- Shower Before you Get into the Pool
Chlorinated water will find less room to soak into your hair shaft —and your skin— if you take a shower prior to your pool dive. This shower is not intended to cleanse, so it can be quick.
- Choose an Outdoor Pool
Or a well-ventilated indoor pool. This will ensure that any gases from chlorine and other chemicals can escape into the air instead of concentrating into the enclosed space.
- Coat Your Hair
Apply a coating of oil or leave-in conditioner to seal your cuticle and create a protective barrier that won't allow chlorinated water into the hair shaft. UV protection with no sulfates or parabens is a major plus you should look for in your coating conditioner or treatment.
- Wear a Convenient Hairstyle
Wear your hair up in a bun, a loose braid, or any other hairstyle that helps you avoid tangling and tugging. If you want a quicker fix and more protection, wear a swim cap, but rinse your hair with clean water and coat it with oil or a leave-in conditioner before slipping on the cap for maximum protection.
- Rinse Immediately After a Swim
And wash as soon as possible. Use sulfate- and paraben-free shampoo and conditioner; they are gentle on your hair and keep it clean while respecting the natural balance of hair and scalp.
- Avoid Heat Styling
While the summer lasts, lay off the flat iron and blow-dryer. More heat means more damage than your tresses are already exposed to during the summer months.
- Treat Your Hair Gently at all Times
The above care tips are specially tailored to avoid chlorine damage on your hair during the summertime, but your best bet is leading a continuous hair care routine that includes paraben and sulfate-free professional products, and a conscious shampooing, conditioning, and styling routine. Remember that hair damage is accumulative, and it can be relieved but not completely eradicated.
For healthy and happy hair during summer and all year round, you should trust hair care professionals like The Cosmetic Republic USA. We have a wide range of products that nourish, strengthen, and repair hair of all types. Call TOLL FREE 1-888-513-8815 or fill out the contact form to get in touch with us. Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest news about us and hair care right to your email inbox!
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