July 16, 2020

Chlorine and Hair: How to Prevent and Reduce Damage

If you’ve gone swimming at all this summer or in the past, you’ve probably experienced the distinct smell of chlorine on your clothes, skin, and hair. Chlorine is used in swimming pools to kill unwanted bacteria and keep swimmers safe from infections and disease from the water. While there isn’t enough chlorine in swimming pools to cause permanent damage, it can leave your hair dry and your skin irritated and red.

Curious about what chlorine actually does to your hair and skin? Keep reading for tips on how to prevent and reduce damage!

What Chlorine Does to Your Hair and Skin

Chlorine sucks the natural oils from your hair and skin, leaving them dry, rough, and damaged. Your hair needs some of its natural oil to remain smooth and healthy, and chlorine removes those oils. Chlorine can also cause chemical reactions in your hair, changing the natural color of your hair, weakening each hair strand, and causing split ends. The oils removed from the skin can leave your skin red and irritated depending on the sensitivity of your skin.

woman swimming in a pool with a diving board and pool float

Does Chlorine Turn Your Hair Green?

Some swimmers find that their hair turns green after swimming. The green color is not actually from the chlorine, but instead from copper that has been oxidized by chlorine. The chlorine with the oxidized copper is absorbed in your hair, which can leave your hair looking slightly green.

4 Ways to Prevent Chlorine Damage

While you can’t completely prevent damage from chlorine, especially if you go swimming often, you can prevent some of the damage by doing one of the following before jumping in.

Wet your hair first

Your hair soaks in liquid fast. If you get your hair wet before you step in the pool, you can prevent some of the water with chlorine or damaging salts from being absorbed.

Wear a swim cap

The best way to prevent chlorine damage is to prevent your hair from getting wet in the first place. A swim cap is a great way to enjoy the pool without subjecting your hair to a lot of chlorine. You can even wet your hair before putting on the cap to create a tighter seal that prevents even more chlorinated water from being absorbed.

Use a leave-in conditioner before entering the pool

Applying a little conditioner before you enter the pool can help prevent some of the chlorine from being absorbed. Using a leave-in conditioner with a cap can not only help prevent chlorine from being absorbed but can also moisturize your hair while swimming!

Apply oil

Applying an oil like coconut oil and wearing a swim cap is a great way to prevent chlorine from damaging your hair. The oil repels water and prevents your hair from absorbing the chlorine.

3 Ways To Repair Chlorine Damage

Damage from chlorine doesn’t have to be permanent. There are ways to reduce the damage and go back to healthy, soft hair in no time. Here are a few ways you can repair damage from chlorine:

Rinse your hair immediately

To reduce the damage and get your hair on the road to recovery, rinse your hair immediately after swimming. Don’t let the chlorine, salt, or other contaminants sit in your hair. If you’re really worried about damage, use a special shampoo formulated to remove chlorine from your hair.

Comb gently

Wet hair has a tendency to tangle, and brushing with a brush is more likely to damage your hair. Use a wide-toothed comb to gently detangle and smooth wet hair.

Clarify your hair

A hair clarifier can remove any harsh chemicals from your hair. While you can buy a clarifying shampoo, you can also use an apple cider vinegar rinse to remove any unwanted chlorine.

woman rinsing off in a pool side shower

Whether you go swimming every week, once a month, or once a year, chlorine can do damage to your hair. Check out our salon services to find a hair treatment that can pamper you and your hair this summer! All of our students perform services under the supervision of licensed cosmetologists to make sure you are in good hands.

If the chemistry behind hair is something that interests you, a career in cosmetology might be the right choice for you! You can learn all about hair, skin, and nail science so that you can provide the best services for your clients. If you’re interested in learning more about what a career in cosmetology can do for you, contact Hair Professionals Career College. We have campuses in Sycamore, Palos Hills, and Oswego. You can also text us at 630-884-5554 for more information.

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