It’s no secret that regular pool time can cause trouble for your hair and skin. In Part 1, we explored the reasons that chlorine can negatively impact your hair as well as how you can help prevent the typical kinds of damage from occurring. Now we’ll look at how you can reduce damage after your hair has already been exposed to chlorine — as well as how to protect your skin.
How To Help Your Hair Recover
In addition to following the preventive measures we’ve previously recommended, you can help remove as much chlorine as possible by washing your hair immediately after you get out of the pool. Especially if you have long, light-colored, or color-treated hair, you may find it worthwhile to seek out a chlorine-neutralizing shampoo that’s formulated especially for counteracting the effects of chlorine. (Otherwise, at least opt for a sulfate-free shampoo.)
Even if you don’t use any products, though, a 5-minute rinse or soak in clean water will help remove the chlorine from your hair, reducing the potential for any negative effects. You can increase the benefits of a post-swim shower by adding an apple cider vinegar rinse to your routine. Doing so will help remove the kind of buildup that takes away your hair’s shine. Using a deep moisturizing conditioner on a daily basis will also help keep your hair well hydrated.
Once you get out of the shower, be sure to use a wide-toothed comb to remove any tangles, then pat dry whenever possible, instead of using a blow dryer.
How Chlorine Affects Your Skin
Your hair isn’t the only thing that can suffer as a result of repeated chlorine exposure; your skin can respond in negative ways as well. In addition to stripping away the skin’s natural oils, the chlorine also destroys vitamin E and essential fatty acids through the formation of free radicals through oxidation.
After spending time in the pool, you’ve probably noticed the immediate results of skin that feels tight and itchy. If you have particularly sensitive skin or spend a large amount of time in a pool, more significant results may include rashes or flare-ups of existing skin conditions such as eczema. Over time, chlorine exposure can also cause dry and flaky skin, acne breakouts, and premature signs of aging. Many swimmers also report having a dry, itchy scalp as well as damaged cuticles and weakened fingernails. All of these problems are caused by the same basic issue: chlorine strips your skin of its natural oils.
How To Prevent Trauma to Your Skin
Before entering a chlorinated pool, you can protect your skin by applying some kind of lotion or oil to it. (Waterproof sunscreen is especially formulated to withstand water.) After you get out of the pool, be sure to rinse in clean water and then re-hydrate immediately using oil, lotion, or body butter. Ideally, you should use natural products that provide deep moisturizing.
You can also keep your skin hydrated by drinking plenty of water both before and after you spend time and the pool.
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