Preventing swimmer’s hair

Chlorinated pools

Summer may seem far away, but warmer days will return and so will the leisure of swimming.  Chlorine and bromine are chemicals added to pool water which can strip the sebum and oils that protect the hair’s cuticle, leaving the hair dry and susceptible to damage.  Copper is then allowed to bind to the hair fiber which can cause a green tint.

Lastly, ultraviolet radiation can breakdown the hair pigment in the cortex which can give a faded appearance of hair color.


Salt water pools and the ocean

Salt water pools are starting to become more assessable. The claim is that the salt water contains less chlorine and can prevent algae, fungal, and bacterial growth. The salt content in the water is higher than that of the body.  A quick dip may not have much effect on the water content of the body, but if submerged over time, can allow the salt water to leach out water content from your hair, nails, and skin by osmosis.  The end results will be dry and fragile hair. See photo below for explanation of why water content in hair will be reduced if placed in a salty water solution.


Tips to keep your hair summer ready and healthy from swimming:

  1. Add a conditioner and water mixture to hair prior to swimming. You can carry this mixture in a spray bottle and reapply as needed. There are pre-shampoo conditioning treatments-which are conditioner formulations that coat the hair. This step prevents chemicals from penetrating the hair fiber.


  1. Wear protective swim caps.


  1. Use a clarifying shampoo after swimming to remove chemicals.


  1. Special swimmer shampoos usually have copper chelators which bind to and remove copper molecules from the hair if you notice a green tint.


  1. Finish with a conditioner which will coat the hair until natural sebum is restored.


  1. Trim ends routinely as these are the driest and most susceptible to damage.


  1. Spray light-weight oil-free sunscreen where your hair naturally parts to prevent sunburn on your scalp. It takes 30 minutes for sunscreen to start working so apply prior to leaving for the day.


Happy Swimming!


facebooktwittergoogle_pluslinkedinmailPosted on: February 18, 2015, by : DrHillHairLoss

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