Treating Pool Hair after Swimming in Chlorine

January 11, 2013


The Pool Chlorine Damages your Hair--

I found it strange that one of the highest ranked articles (by eHow) about how chlorine affects your skin takes the position that chlorine does not affect your skin, stating “...chlorine has very little effect on the skin in the amounts that are present in a swimming pool.”  As a swimmer, I respectfully disagree.  In my experience, pool chlorine is pretty damaging to hair.  Here's a link to an example of pool hair.

The eHow article claims that most people will not react to the pool chlorine.  But, this statement seems a little suspect given how many swimmers report having problems with pool chlorine irritating their skin.  Some people are even being treated for hair loss on account of chlorine. See Twitter for real-time examples.  Also, if you swim, you might notice that you smell like chlorine?  You smell like chlorine because you are literally covered in chlorine.

Although the article notes that “Pool chlorine is caustic,” it credits Dr. Norman Levine with the idea that “your dry, itchy skin is caused by being in the water for extended periods of time,” which “washes away the natural oils that coat the outer layer of the skin, allowing the moisture inside to dry very quickly. Tiny fissures can form, which leads to itchy skin.”

This position leaves me wondering whether Dr. Levine has ever experienced the effect of a swimming pool on skin.  Everyone knows that chlorinated water affects skin differently than water alone.  (Again, you might note that you smell like chlorine after swimming in chlorinated water but not if you swim in non-chlorinated water). 

The pool’s chlorinated water is doing more than washing away the oils from skin.  The pool chlorine is reacting chemically with the oils and the proteins (via reacting with protein amino groups) that make up hair and skin.  The author notes that chlorine works “by breaking down the fats in the cell walls of bacteria and microorganisms.”  Accordingly, it should make sense that chlorine also irritates your skin by breaking down the fats and proteins that make up healthy hair and skin.

At SwimSpray, we believe that your hair and skin would be better off if you washed away the chlorine after swimming.  To do this, just use SwimSpray after swimming.  Then you won't be covered in chlorine all the time.

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