Published: May 23, 2016

    How to Protect Your Skin and Hair From Swimming Pool Chlorine This Summer

    Summer is in full swing, and with the oppressive heat everyone looks forward to taking the plunge into a cool, refreshing pool. Swimming is a fun way to get exercise and beat the heat come summer. Immersing yourself in a pool of water seems like a no-brainer – after all, water is the most important substance for our bodies.

    What possible health hazards could swimming pose? Several. Chlorine, the main culprit behind potential skin, hair, and even teeth issues, is used in most pools as a disinfectant. But with its powerful chemical qualities come some obvious potential consequences for those that swim often or have fair, delicate skin and hair.

    What Are the Effects of Chlorine?

    Long-term exposure to chlorine while swimming can cause irritation to the skin and hair. Your skin can become red and dry, while your hair can become frizzy, dull, and your color-treated hair could fade. Here’s why: the body naturally produces oils and proteins that coat the hair and skin to keep us healthy and protected. Water, combined with chlorine, washes away that protective layer and irritates the skin. We can dry up, or worse, absorb contaminants from the water.

    Take these proper precautions to keep yourself safe while swimming.

    Protect Hair From Chlorine

    • How to Protect Hair From Chlorine — Rub a thin layer of olive oil or baby oil through your hair before you go swimming. Simply apply to your fingers and coat your hair once! While swimming, sporadically wet your hair with non-chlorinated water so you don’t absorb as much chlorine. Hop in the shower and wet your hair five minutes before you swim as well. If you have a lot of hair, consider using a bathing cap.

    • How to Protect Color-Treated Hair From Chlorine — Have color-treated hair? Definitely wet your hair with cold water before you swim. Apply a hair defense gel or coconut oil as well before swimming. If you’re concerned about your color treatment wear a cap for added protection.

      Rinse your color-treated hair in cold water immediately after swimming, and brush it with a wide-toothed comb. Use a color-treatment clarifying shampoo in the shower, followed by a deep conditioning treatment.

    • How to Remove Chlorine From Hair — After swimming, shampoo your hair thoroughly. Many sports stores sell chlorine-removal spray as an additional treatment method you can use. To use this spray, wet your hair in the shower and then apply the spray before using your shampoo. After you shower dry your hair with cool air (the lowest setting on your hairdryer).

    • How to Repair Chlorine-Damaged Hair — Want to know how to fix chlorine-damaged hair with home remedies? Try one of these two methods. In a small bowl, mix the juice of one squeezed lemon with a generous splash of club soda. Pour this mixture over your hair while damp, and allow it to sit for three-to-five minutes. Thoroughly rinse your hair in the shower, and then apply your standard shampoo.

      Alternatively, use baking soda! Mix about ¼ cup of baking soda with enough water to form a paste. Run this mixture through your damp hair, massaging it from your scalp to your ends. Rinse the mixture out and apply shampoo. If you have light or blond hair, repeat this process again to fully remove the green hue of chlorine.

    Protect Skin From Chlorine

    • How to Protect Skin From Chlorine — Always apply sunscreen before swimming! Rub on a generous layer of waterproof sunscreen ten minutes before swimming. Many brands are designed to combat the negative effects of chlorine. Even if you are swimming indoors away from the sun, apply a layer of oil or lotion as a protective barrier against chlorine.

    • How to Remove Chlorine From Skin — Shower shortly after swimming to reduce the overall amount of chlorine that can be absorbed through your pores. Upon showering, thoroughly moisturize your skin, as chlorine exposure can leave you dry sans protective oils. If your skin is irritated, apply lotions specifically for post-swimming to neutralize the effects of chlorine exposure.

    • How to Get the Smell of Chlorine Off Your Skin — Really concerned about the smell of chlorine on your skin? Shower in hot water to allow your pores to fully open up, which will allow more water and soap to get deep into your pores and remove the odor.

      You can squeeze half a lemon into a cup and gently rub it in your skin while showering to remove chlorine and other chemical toxins. Regular swimmers should invest in specialized chlorine removal soap to eliminate odor and soften their skin.

    Remove Chlorine From Your Water

    As strange as it sounds, you’ll want to protect the water in your home from chlorine as well. Yes, the pool is the most likely place you’ll be exposed to chlorine, but water treatment facilities use chlorine to treat the water in your home. Showering in chlorinated water can have similar effects to swimming in it, causing your skin to become irritated and damaging your hair.

    Chlorine in your drinking water can slowly decay tooth enamel, and chlorine in your shower water can have the same effects as a lengthy dip in a chlorinated pool. To safeguard your family against chlorine in all of its forms, consider installing a whole house filter to reduce your exposure to chlorine from every tap in your home.