How Does Chlorine Damage Hair & How to Prevent and Treat It

Mission Viejo Hair Salon

Summer is almost here! The heat is turning up a notch, kids are starting summer break, and pool season is off to a full swing. You’d probably agree, a dip in the pool is quite refreshing, a great workout, and all so relaxing (pending if it’s heated just right). However, on the downside, if you’re dipping into chlorinated waters, you are risking your hair to damage. We’re not arguing against chlorine, in fact, if it wasn’t added in, you’d probably have to swim in dirty, slime infested waters. And who wants to do that? You see, chlorine is a chemical disinfectant and thank goodness for it, as that’s one of the main reasons clean pools remain crystal clear (for the most part). Now, short, occasional dips won’t cause much hair damage. Your hair may feel dry for a day or so, but nothing that can’t be easily addressed. On the other hand, if you’re a pool regular, then read on as we’ll discuss some measures you should take to prevent and treat chlorine damaged hair.

How Does Chlorine Damage Hair?

Well, since chlorine is a disinfectant, it’s used to break down and remove dirt, oil, and bacteria in the water. Consequently, since our scalps naturally produce oils to protect your hair from damage and daily wear, this disinfectant, chlorine, also strips away the oils from your hair. So under regular stripping, it can cause over drying, increased porosity, and even significant damage. Adding insult to injury, when your hair is dry and porous, as due to regular chlorine exposure, it’s risk to absorbing chemicals increases (i.e. the chemical disinfectant, chlorine). So if your hair is dry or damaged, color treated (especially chemically lightened or highlighted), or even thin or fine, then be extra cautious when it comes to chlorine and your hair.

How to Prevent Chlorine Damage?

Luckily, there’s hope and if you’re a regular at the pool, you don’t have to give up the refreshing dips. One thing, you can always do is purchase a swim cap. Silicone swim caps are recommended as they’re lightweight, breathable, and cause less hair snagging. If the swimming cap doesn’t match the suit, then another option is to saturate your hair with non-chlorinated water and continuously rinse. To explicate, if you saturate your hair with non-chlorinated water (i.e. clean tap water) before you enter the chlorinated swimming pool, your hair will be less likely to absorb the chlorinated water in the pool as it’ll just run off when it touches your hair; as your hair will already be saturated with water. To further add, if you rinse your hair with clean, non-chlorinated water periodically while swimming, then you’ll be able to flush out the chlorine and prevent damage. And we’re sure you’ve heard, to shampoo your hair immediately after swimming. This is still one of the best ways to wash out the chlorine. Take note though, while the shampoo will help remove the chlorine, you have to still replace the moisture and protein lost from the scalp. Therefore, make sure to condition after shampooing. We highly recommend a leave-in condition as it’ll replace the moisture and protein as well as repair dry and damaged hair.

How to Repair Chlorine Damage?

If your hair is already damaged by chlorine, then it’s probably quite dry, frizzy at the ends, possibly bleached out, tangled, and easily matted. The first thing you should do is come and see us. We can assess the damage and recommend what’s the best treatment. And while here, at the very least, get a haircut. A haircut will remove the damaged ends and help restore soft, shiny hair again. You may also consider switching over to a clarifying shampoo, getting a protein treatment to help repair and rebuild your hair’s strength, and/or seal in moisture and sooth frizzy split ends with deep conditioning. Again, this is where a hair assessment by a Mission Viejo Beauty expert comes into play as we’ll be able to recommend the best game plan to effectively treat your damaged hair.

Dive in our friend, enjoy the waters…chlorine can be addressed.