Anyone who has spent any time in a pool may be wondering, is chlorine bad for your hair? Whether you’re a regular swimmer who hits the pool for workouts or a casual splasher who just loves fun in the sun, your hair is susceptible to the ravages of chlorine.
How is Chlorine Bad For Your Hair?
Pools and some spas add chlorine to the water as a method for inhibiting the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms that can cause health issues like ear infections, gastroenteritis, and even Legionnaires disease, reports the American Chemistry Council. It’s a strong oxidizing agent and an irritant if it comes into contact with skin. The more time your hair spends in chlorinated water, the more likely it is to suffer damage.
Chlorine damages hair through chemical reactions. These reactions actually alter the hair’s physical properties. It doesn’t matter if your hair is natural or color and chemically treated, all types of hair can suffer damage from chlorine.
- Remove the natural oils (sebum) from your hair, which reduces shine and manageability. Loss of natural oils = dry hair.
- React negatively with any color or other chemical treatments you have in your hair. The chlorine can change your color treated hair and dry out your hair, leaving it brittle.
- Affect the hair’s keratin, changing its color so dark hair lightens and blonde hair may even suffer a tinge of green.
- Weakens the actual hair structure when chlorine salt crystallizes at the cuticle. This can lead to breakage.
Protect Your Hair from Chlorine Damage
The good news is — you can enjoy a daily swim or a fun-filled day splashing with the kids and not damage your hair because of chlorine exposure. Protect your hair from chlorine damage with these easy tips:
- Wear a latex swimmer’s cap over your hair, especially if you swim in a chlorinated pool daily.
- Treat your hair with a leave-in conditioner before donning that swimmer’s cap.
- If not wearing a swimmer’s cap, wet hair thoroughly before swimming. Your hair absorbs less chlorine if it’s already wet.
- Thoroughly rinse and shampoo hair after swimming.
- Avoid or reduce your heat styling after swimming in chlorine pools.
- Reduce damage/breakage by patting hair gently dry after swimming — don’t rub!
- Opt for a wide-tooth comb to detangle wet hair.
Bring Back Moisture Chlorine Damaged Hair
Anyone who swims in a pool knows just how drying and damaging chlorine really is. It makes your hair look dull and feel as crunchy as straw. You can refresh and revive straw-like hair. It just takes a bit of moisture. We know that a leave-in conditioner worn under your swimmer’s cap is a great way to prevent drying. However, if you don’t wear a swimmer’s cap — and let’s face it most of us don’t, treat your hair to that leave-in conditioner after you’ve washed your hair. It’ll help restore moisture and reduce breakage.
If you swim regularly, opt for a shampoo formulated especially for swimmer’s exposed to chlorine. Ion’s Swimmer’s Shampoo is not only 100-percent vegan, but it’s free from sulfate surfactants and safe for all hair types, even color and chemically treated hair. Use it daily to combat the negative effects of chlorine while maintaining your hair’s natural shine, softness, and manageability.