Protect your hair and skin from chlorine: Tips and remedies for year-round care

Jasmine Howard
Staff Writer

Swimming is a great body workout, sport and therapeutic activity that is enjoyed amongst many people around the world. However, with pool water, there’s one factor that we need to consider when it comes to the health of our skin and hair: chlorine.

Chlorine is a chemical that is often used to relieve pool water of the bacteria that escapes from our bodies and into the water. However, there’s a downside. Chlorine can be extremely drying for hair and skin. When exposed to chlorine, your hair and skin consume the chemical, stripping the natural oils away. This results in brittle hair and itchy skin.

Luckily, there are various ways to take care of and protect your hair and skin from further damage caused by chlorine.

Use a swim cap. I know they can look a bit ridiculous, but if you had to rate the embarrassment on a scale of “1” to “our election,” then I don’t think it’s quite as comical. Besides, swim caps are pretty effective for protecting your hair and keeping it out of your face while swimming.

Wet your hair beforehand. Our hair can act as a sponge, taking on less chlorine by diluting it with the water already in our hair. Your hair will be soaked enough that it blocks a lot of entryways for chemicals to attack your hair follicles. So, to be extra safe, wet your hair in the shower before putting on your swim cap.

Flush the chemicals. You know what chalk feels like, right? Well, that’s similar to what your skin can feel like if exposed to chlorine for too long. Don’t let it get that far. Once out of the pool, get in the shower. Wash and rinse the chemicals from your skin.

Wash and condition hair. Just like your skin, It’s also important to rid your hair of these chemicals right away. I recommend that you pre poo your hair first before washing, being that the chlorine has already probably dried your hair out enough as it is. You can pre poo with coconut oil (tried-and-true) or any hair serum or oil you prefer or find most effective for you. If you have blonde hair, then this can also help prevent it from turning green.

Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize. After you are out of the shower, give your skin the moisture it needs by massaging your body with lotion or coconut oil. Namco Pool recommends products high in antioxidants (vitamin E, vitamin C) which will help neutralize the chlorine. Always stay moisturized!

Dechlorinating lotion. Speaking of moisture, if your skin is extra sensitive you can make your own dechlorinating lotion before swimming. Wellness Mama provides her recipe:

½ cup almond or olive oil

¼ cup coconut oil

¼ cup beeswax

2 teaspoons vitamin C powder

Remember. Don’t let chlorine be a killjoy. Just keep swimming!


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