Hair Protection when Swimming

If you are a keen swimmer or enjoy a dip in the pool whilst on holiday then your hair will be the last thing on your mind. You just wash it after your swim without giving it a second thought but a few precautions before your swim will ensure that it stays in tip top condition.

Swimming pools contain chlorine which helps to keep the water free from bacteria and other harmful substances, but it isn’t kind to your hair. Chlorine contains oxidising chemicals which remove essential nutrients from your hair, resulting in dry or brittle hair or split ends.

And if this isn’t bad enough, these pools contain high levels of copper and other chemicals which can cause your hair to turn green. This is caused by oxidisation of the copper once it comes into contact with the hair shaft. Repeat these over hundreds of these hair shafts and you end up with bright green hair!

So what is the best way of avoiding this?

For a start, rinse your hair through clear water before you get in the pool. Dry hair tends to act as a large sponge when it comes into contact with water, absorbing it very quickly and deeply. And this equally applies to chlorine.

But if you wet your first then this will reduce chlorine absorption and the risk of any damage. And try having short breaks, such as every 30 minutes or so where you leave the pool and rinse your hair off under clear water. This will also help to minimise the risk of chlorine-related damage.

Do this if you are thinking of swimming for a long time, for example, swim training for a triathlon.

Try this routine whether you are at your local swimming pool or the hotel pool whilst on holiday.

You can always apply a conditioner or oil to your hair before your swim. The theory here is that oil and water don’t mix so doing this will ensure that the oil acts as a barrier between the chlorine and your hair. Good oils for this purpose include baby oil or olive oil.

Apply this oil to your hair and comb it through before your swim.

Wash your hair thoroughly after your swim in clean, warm water, use a shampoo which is suitable for your hair type and rinse off carefully. Dry it with a towel but not completely (leave it a bit damp) and apply a conditioner. Use a comb to ensure an even distribution throughout your hair.

Do this every time you go in a pool.

This equally applies to swimming in the sea.

The most effective way of protecting your hair is to wear a swimming cap. These are made from rubber and are relatively inexpensive. They prevent the hair from becoming wet and exposure to the potentially harmful effects of chlorine.

Doing this will help to maintain the condition of your hair and reduce the risk of any long term damage or exotic colour changes!

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