Does Chlorine Damage Hair?

Does Chlorine Damage Hair?

Swimming is just perfect when you try to drop weight. It’s also a great way to relax after a long busy day. As you probably know, in order to keep the swimming pool clean, chlorine is usually used. Chlorine neutralizes bacteria , thus, makes the swimming pool a safer place. Despite the positive effect, chlorine also affects our skin. Unfortunately, frequent chlorine exposure while at the pool can also have a very negative effect on our hair. What negative effect can you experience? How to prevent it? Keep reading!

How Does Chlorine Affect Hair?

Chlorine’s role is to disinfect water. It neutralizes bacteria and kills organic substances. What’s interesting, the chlorine itself is not harmful, at least until it’s in contact with some other organic substance (like hair or sweat). Then, the chloramine is produced and this is what’s the most harmful for our skin and hair. Of course, if you just visit the pool from time to time, it doesn’t have a huge impact on your skin and hair. However, if you swim in the pool regularly, it may be more dangerous.

Chlorine penetrates the hair fiber and changes its structure. Additionally, if you are exposed to e.g. sun while swimming in the pool, your skin may be irritated.

The way chlorine works similarly to ammonia. Hair cuticles open and close and when they open chlorine gets deeply into the hair core. Chlorine evaporates and makes the hair bulbs weak. The hair gets dry from the inside which may result in hair loss. Dyed hair or these with permanent wave are the most vulnerable. Chlorine ‘flushes out’ natural hair oils which makes hair cuticles leaky. The hair becomes weak, dry and rough. 

It’s very often that professional swimmers suffer from unpleasant hair discoloration because of the chlorinated water. This is caused by metals from the water. The weak hair cuticles absorb the harmful substances from the water and the hair color changes. It primarily concerns people with fair hair. Dark hair usually loses its shine though. Chlorine exposure can also cause split ends.  

What About Colored Hair?

Colored hair is much more vulnerable when it comes to swimming in the pool and contact with chlorine. The components of some hair dyes can interact with chlorine and, in consequence, make the hair turn green. The chances of having your hair discolored are the biggest if your hair is dyed blonde or highlighted. What is more, discolored hair smells unpleasant.   

How to Protect Hair From Chlorine

Don’t panic, you don’t have to give up swimming in the pool. There are ways to protect your hair or at least minimize the effects of chlorine.  If you want to protect your hair from chlorine, stick to the following rules:

  • Before swimming in the pool: apply a conditioner. It will moisturize the hair so that it absorbs less harmful substances. The conditioner will prevent chlorine from getting inside the hair.
  • Always use a swimming cap. 
  • After swimming in the pool: wash your hair thoroughly (use shampoos that contain sodium thiosulfate, as well those with aloe vera and glycerin) and apply a conditioner again. It will restore the natural hair oils. When you rinse the hair, try not to use a hair dryer. Let your hair dry naturally instead. If using a hair dryer is necessary, use a special spray to protect the hair.

If possible, in the summer choose natural waters (lake, sea, river) instead of a swimming pool. You can also look for a swimming pool cleaned with alternative methods like salt cleaning or ozonation.

What Cosmetics You Should Use

There are more and more companies offering cosmetics specifically for swimmers. Such cosmetics contain ingredients that neutralize chlorine and reduce its effects. Professional swimmers can now choose from different shampoos and conditioners that protect hair from chlorine, as well as leave a nice smell. If you like swimming in the pool but at the same time you’re afraid of how chlorine affects your hair, check professional TRISWIM cosmetics.


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