How to prevent, protect and repair chlorine damage from swimming
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Daily Swim, Tried + Tested

How to prevent, protect and repair chlorine damage

If you spend as much time ‘marinating’ in chlorinated water as I do, you might want to know the answers to the following skin and hair-related questions:
swimming caps e1330384822992 How to prevent, protect and repair chlorine damage
Image credit: terren in Virginia, on Flikr

Skin protection for the pool

What is chlorine?
How can I prevent chlorine from irritating my skin?

Hair protection for the pool

Can chlorine damage hair?
Does chlorine turn hair green?
Why does blonde hair turn green from Chlorine in the swimming pool?
How can I stop my hair from turning green in chlorine?
Does ketchup neutralize green hair?
How can I protect my hair from chlorinated pool water?
How to fix over-chlorinated / pool-damaged hair?

What is chlorine?

  • Chlorine is an effective disinfectant used for most general bacteria bashing purposes; but you’ll most likely recognize its distinctive smell from the swimming pool.

How can I prevent chlorine from irritating my skin?

  • Some people might find that chlorine irritates or dries out their skin, making it itchy and uncomfortable. Minimizing the surface area of body in contact with pool water by investing in a legged swim suit should help.
  • After contact with the water, make sure you rinse or wash off well with warm and moisturise with a sensitive-skin cream to reduce irritation
  • On the plus side though, chlorine is pretty good for acne – since it dries out pimples and disinfects pores

Can chlorine damage hair?

  • The worst that chlorine will do is dry out hair; making it more prone to breakage, split ends, and frizz attacks!
  • It might make it smell a bit too

Does chlorine turn hair green?

  • Short answer, yes it can do
  • Chlorine can wreak havoc on colors and perms in fact; lightening colored hair or even causing it to turn green. Those with dyed blonde hair are especially at risk.

Why does blonde hair turn green from Chlorine in the swimming pool?

  • It’s not strictly the chlorine that does this, but more to do with the chemical balance of the pool water. For the full geeky answer: http://www.swimmingpoolcentre.com/content/why-does-blond-hair-go-green

How can I stop my hair from turning green in chlorine?

  • Always shampoo color-treated or permed hair after leaving the pool!
  • Pre-swim conditioning treatments that can help keep hair healthy when swimming

Does ketchup neutralize green hair?

  • I’ve not personally tried it – because prevention is far better than this cure – but apparently the natural acids in tomato ketchup can help to remove green staining.

How can I protect my hair from chlorinated pool water?

  • Soaking your hair with non-chlorinated water prior to swimming will reduce the amount of chlorine that can be absorbed
  • Pre-swim conditioning treatments and masks can help to keep hair healthy when swimming (pretty much by minimizing chlorine absorbsion whilst moisturizing your mane)
  • Wearing a swimming cap/hat won’t keep your hair dry, but will reduce exposure to the water and keep the hair out of your face! (bonus)
  • Always rinse off hair with warm water, or wash with shampoo after a prolonged time in the pool. Shampoos with an ingredient called sodium thiosulfate or antichlor help get rid of the chlorine smell, as well as any green color.
  • Using conditioner will help to moisturise the hair and leave it feeling smoother (rather than poofy and dry!)

 How to prevent, protect and repair chlorine damage How to prevent, protect and repair chlorine damage How to prevent, protect and repair chlorine damage

There are a range of chlorine-neutralizing products available, but personally, I use Boots’ ‘Sun, Swim & Gym 3 in 1 shampoo’, the matching ‘conditioner for coloured hair’, and the ‘leave-in conditioner’ – which “protect hair from irreversible environmental, salt and chlorine damage”.

How to fix over-chlorinated / pool-damaged hair?

  • If you are able to, get rid of the split ends damaged hair with a trip to the hairdressers, to prevent it getting any worse
  • Intensive conditioning treatments and hair masks are the way forward! They restore moisture and balance to your Barnett
  • Let your locks dry ‘en plein air’, or at least avoid the high setting on the hair-dryer and use a wide-tooth comb instead of a brush.
NB: If you’re an avid swimmer it’s not necessarily good to wash your hair after every session – since it removes natural proteins and oils that help to keep your barnett in check au naturel – though don’t leave it on for more than a day or so, since that’s no better…

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