Is Pool Chlorine Bad For Your Hair?

Last Updated on October 17, 2021

Swimming is great exercise and very healthy for your body but does the chlorine in most pools adversely affect your skin? Is pool chlorine bad for your hair too?

The answer is yes for both.

Chlorine and Hair: What You Should Know First

Chlorine is a chemical found in most swimming pools that helps keep swimmers safe from bacteria, viruses, and infections. This pool chemical can leave a distinct odor on clothes, skin, and hair after taking a dip – not enough to cause permanent damage but it can dry out your locks or leave you with irritated red skin.

Is Pool Chlorine Bad for Your Hair?

Chlorine is very drying for your hair and skin because it takes the natural oils that your hair and skin need to remain healthy out when you are in the water. Chlorine can leave your hair rough, frizzy, dry, and very damaged.

Chlorine can also cause chemical reactions to occur in your hair which can change the natural color or change up the color you just had put in by your hairstylist. The hair actually ends up green from copper in the water that has been oxidized by the chlorine and when that is absorbed into your hair strands it can leave your hair with a green tint to it.

Why Pools Have Chlorine in the First Place

According to Clearcomfort.com, Brown University began using chlorine to clean its swimming pool all the way back in 1910. It is remembered as the first attempt to sanitize pools in the United States.

Chlorine is added to the pool water to kill the many germs that are brought in by the people who swim in the pool. It is an important and needed chemical in pool water to cut down on the spread of diseases and illnesses, especially at crowded pools, and also helps eliminate algae growth in a pool, according to Chemicalsafetyfacts.org.

How to Prevent Chlorine Damage to Your Hair

Damage from chlorine does not have to be permanent because there are several ways to reduce the amount of chlorine that gets into your hair strands. Here are some suggestions you can do before and after you swim to prevent chlorine hair damage.

Wet your hair first

Since hair soaks up water quickly, it is good to wet your hair before you jump in a pool. This will help prevent the chlorine-filled pool water or damaging saltwater for that matter, from being absorbed into your hair.

Wear a swim cap

Speedo Unisex-Adult Swim Cap Fastskin Competition
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It may seem old-fashioned, but swim caps are still important to wear when swimming. You can enjoy swimming in a pool or saltwater without getting your hair wet at all. You can also wet your hair with regular water first then put on the swim cap since the wet hair will create a tighter seal of the swim cap to your head, keeping out the damaging chlorine water even better.

Use a leave-in conditioner before entering the pool

You can opt to apply a leave-in style conditioner before jumping into a chlorine pool which will help lessen the amount of chlorine that gets soaked into your hair. The conditioner will also moisturizer your hair while you are swimming so it is a win-win solution.

Apply oil

Apply some coconut oil or olive oil to your hair then put on a swim cap before getting in the pool to help prevent chlorine from infiltrating your hair strands. The oil will repel the water and does not allow as much chlorine water to soak into your hair.

Rinse your hair immediately

You should always rinse your hair after leaving the pool for the day. There are usually showers near the pool area which means you can easily wet your hair down before getting in the pool and again after getting out of the pool. This will rinse the chlorine, saltwater, or other chemicals and contaminants from your hair and you can even use a special shampoo after you swim that is formulated to remove chlorine from your hair.

Comb gently

Since wet hair tends to tangle pretty easily and brushing your wet hair can be damaging on its own, use a wide-toothed comb to detangle and comb through your wet hair.

Clarify your hair

Nexxus Clean and Pure Clarifying Shampoo For Nourished Hair With ProteinFusion, Paraben-Free 13.5 oz
  • CLARIFYING SHAMPOO: this lightweight, clarifying shampoo gently cleanses, leaving hair nourished and purified
  • HYDRATING SHAMPOO: from the Clean & Pure hair care system, this hydrating shampoo has ProteinFusion, an exclusive blend of elastin protein and marine minerals for smooth and nourished hair
  • HAIR DETOX: full of essential ingredients to replenish vital nutrients and recover hair's natural shine, movement and moisture
  • DETOXIFYING SHAMPOO FORMULA: made with no silicones, dyes and parabens, this shampoo is safe for even dull, dry or damaged hair

A hair clarifier will help to remove any harsh chemicals from your hair. You can purchase a hair clarifying shampoo or go with a more natural remedy, such as apple cider vinegar that will do the same thing.

Now that you know what to do before and after you go swimming to save your hair from the damaging effects of chlorine in the swimming pool water, you are ready to have a fun-filled day swimming and having some fun in the sun.

If you’re an Intex pool owner and you want to convert your swimming pool to a saltwater pool to stir away from chlorine, then you should read this guide on how to convert an Intex pool to saltwater.

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