Chlorine's Effect on Hair and Skin

January 10, 2013


Chlorine found Dangerous for Hair and Skin--

According to today's news on, "Experts Agree - Chlorine is Harmful to Skin and Hair."

First, I found it amusing that the authors found this topic newsworthy after noting that "Chlorine was the first ever agent to be used as a chemical weapon, where it was deployed in World War I. The effects of chlorine gas were severe. Within seconds of inhaling its vapour it destroyed the victim's respiratory organs, bringing on choking attacks."  Wouldn't you expect chlorine to be harmful to skin and hair?

The article referred to Dr Z Rona MD MSc, who "has written extensively about how Chlorine can effect skin tissue, having stated, “Numerous scientific studies report that chlorinated tap water is a skin irritant and can be associated with rashes like eczema. Chlorinated water can destroy polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E in the body while generating toxins capable of free radical damage (oxidation). This might explain why supplementation of the diet with essential fatty acids like flax seed oil, evening primrose oil, borage oil and antioxidants like vitamin E, selenium and others helps so many cases of eczema and dry skin.”

"A large body of work has been conducted to test the health effects of Chlorine on or skin and hair. Though Chlorine’s use in everyday life ... experts now agree that exposure to this harmful chemical is detrimental to the health of our skin and hair."

The article recommends filtering the water that you use with a shower filter.  That's probably a good idea.  However, if you go swimming in chlorinated water, you may want to be careful about removing the lingering chlorine from your skin.  (Remember that you smell like chlorine because you are still covered in chlorine.)  If you want to get that chlorine off of your body, rinse with SwimSpray after swimming.

Overall, I think this article falls into the "More scary stuff about chlorine" category (see, e.g., "Chlorine Dangers").  Overall exposing your body to harsh oxidants can wear out your cells.  So, I continue to support the notion that swimmers should wash the chlorine off of their bodies with SwimSpray after swimming.

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