Five tips for protecting your hair and skin from chlorine
We all love swimming. Well, 47% of the UK do at least! It’s a fun form of exercise that keeps us active and can challenge us physically. But there’s one thing we all dislike about swimming in a pool: the chlorine.
While it’s great that it disinfects the pool and protects us from bacteria and germs, chlorine isn’t fun. It’s a chemical that can dry out our hair and skin, leaving us with frizzy locks and scaly arms. Not ideal. But here are some tips on how to prevent the damage.
We know this sounds inconvenient, but have a quick shower before you get in the pool.
Wetting your hair before swimming is an easy trick to prevent damage. Chlorine strips your hair of its natural oils, leaving it dry and more prone to damage. But in wet hair, chlorine absorbs at a much slower rate. Your hair can take on a lot less water.
Swimming caps work in a similar way, but you’ll want to get your hair wet before wrestling with the cap anyway. By combining wet hair and a swimming cap, you’ll be well protected.
Chlorine affects your skin in a similar way; it strips the natural oils and can leave it dry, red, and itchy. You can’t do much before a swim to prevent chlorine’s effects on your skin. Any product risks ruining the water chemistry of the pool. But getting your body wet before jumping in can slow down some of the absorption.
Coat your hair
A silicone- or oil-based hair product like a conditioner or serum will act as a barrier between your hair and the chlorine in the water. By coating your hair before you swim, you’ll prevent chlorine from stripping your natural oils. Coconut oil also works for this, or any products created especially for swimmers.
Wash your hair after you leave the pool. You want to get all the chlorine out as soon as possible. Normal shampoo will usually do the trick but you can also get special swimmer shampoos (apple cider vinegar works the same) that will remove all chemicals.
You also want to wash the chlorine off your body. Don’t forget to take off your costume as it’ll be covered in the stuff. While you’re wearing it, your skin will be in constant contact with chlorine. Be generous with your body wash to make sure you remove all traces of the chemicals. We all know that the smell of chlorine loves to stick around, so this will also help nip this in the bud.
Moisturiser is your best friend
Moisturise your skin once you’ve dried off. And then moisturise it again for good measure. You’ll want to replenish the barrier of natural oils the chlorine has stripped away. Don’t be stingy here either, go to town with a rich moisturiser. The sooner you get to this step, the less likely you’ll suffer from the itchy and uncomfortable dryness.
Don’t make things worse
Chlorine is damaging to everyone but the damage will be even worse if your hair or skin isn’t well looked after. So try to keep them as healthy as possible.
Avoid hair dryers if you can. They cause unnecessary damage and dryness to your hair, especially if you’ve just left the pool. Make moisturising your body a part of your daily routine. Dry skin will only get drier after a swim. Our nails can also become brittle in the pool, so avoid using acetone and keep a hydrating base coat on hand.
It’s worth noting that outdoor pools can be less damaging than indoor ones. As they’re well-ventilated, some of the chemicals are released from the water.
While chlorine is annoying, it doesn’t have to ruin your love of swimming. As long as you take extra care of your hair and skin before and after you swim, there’s no reason chlorine should cause you any harm. It’s just about building some good habits.
At Maru, we provide high-quality swimwear that will stand the test of time. While you keep your hair and skin protected from chlorine, our swimwear protects itself. Browse the full range here.