Owning your own swimming pool comes with plenty of perks! However, one of the potential negative effects of this generally positive lifestyle choice has to do with your hair. Chlorine can easily wreak havoc on typically lovely locks, especially if you take advantage of your backyard swimming pool on a regular basis. But don’t worry: you don’t have to choose between savoring your swimming pool and having great hair. We’ll take a look at how time in the pool can translate into troublesome hair and then give you some suggestions about how to treat already damaged hair as well as how to avoid damage to your hair in the future.
How Swimming Pool Use Affects Hair
You probably already realize that, generally speaking, chlorine dries out hair. But you may not understand why. Typically, when hair is immersed in water, the hair shafts absorb it. When hair is immersed in chlorinated water, the shafts also absorb the chlorine, and that chemical serves to strip the hair of sebum, the hair’s naturally occurring lubricant. As a result, hair can lack shine, become frizzy, and generally experience weakness. Some swimmers complain of having hair that looks and feels like straw.
Sometimes pool water also affects particularly light-colored hair by giving it a greenish tint. This kind of discoloration is caused by the reaction of chlorine with copper and other metals used for pipes. The chlorine essentially carries small metal particles into the water, causing it to tint the hair.
A third effect of regular pool use on hair is actually due to drying, rather than to the pool water itself. Many swimmers end up drying their hair more regularly as well, causing added damage. Artificial drying can cause cracking of the protective cuticles surrounding hair shafts; split ends and frequent breakage are typical results.
How To Keep Your Hair from Absorbing Chlorine
One way to significantly decrease the negative effects of chlorine on your hair is to make sure that before you enter the pool water, you get your hair wet with fresh water first. The clean water will be soaked in by your hair shafts, keeping them from absorbing the chlorinated water in the pool. Another way to keep hair shafts from absorbing chlorine is to coat it first with conditioner or some other oil, such as coconut oil. This protective layer can add an extra layer of protection for your hair.
A swimming cap can also help reduce your hair’s exposure to the chlorinated water and can also help keep long hair from getting in your way. (If you use a swim cap, opt for one made of silicone rather than neoprene or Lycra.) If you don’t want to buy a swim cap but have long hair, wearing your hair up will at least keep it out of the water some of the time, thereby reducing its exposure to harsh chemicals in the water.
For more details on how to protect your hair and skin, take a look at Part 2.
Continue Reading about Pools
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