Can Chlorine Cause Hair Loss?
If you're hesitant to enjoy the pleasure of swimming in a chlorinated pool strictly because of your fear of hair loss, fear not: Chlorine doesn't actually cause permanent hair loss. Researchers studying the hair of 67 professional swimmers and 54 people who rarely went into a pool found that, although the chemical compounds found in chlorine caused brittleness and dryness in the swimmers' hair, at no time did swimmers report hair loss. The study goes on to say that exposure to abnormally high levels of chlorine is known to cause the scalp to become dry and flaky, which in turn, can cause hair loss. However, the levels of chlorine needed for this type of damage wouldn't be found in a common swimming pool.
Protect Your Hair
Although chlorine doesn't directly cause hair loss, it can cause noticeable damage to your hair. Brittle strands and dry scalp are the common complaints, but naturally blond locks have been known to take on a green hue from too much chlorine exposure as well. Protect your hair while swimming in a chlorinated pool to prevent this damage as much as you can.
1. Wear a Swimming Cap
You may be put off by the unfashionable look of a swim cap, but consider the alternative of dry, brittle hair. A swim cap is an easy way to keep chlorinated water from ever reaching your hair. Opt for a cap made with latex or silicone, which leads to a tighter fit and is gentler on your follicles. If you truly can't imagine sporting this look, an alternative is to style your hair in a bun at the nape of your neck before diving in. This will minimize chemical exposure to the interior strands leaving less chlorine to wash away when you're finished.
2. Wet Your Hair
Before putting even a toe into a chlorinated pool, wet your hair first with fresh water. A layer of clean water will act as a small barrier between your hair and the chlorine. Dry hair has the tendency to absorb any liquid it comes into contact with, so when your hair has already absorbed the fresh water, it's less likely to absorb the chlorine chemicals. If you want to take it a step further, rinse your hair with fresh water after your swim as well. This will rinse away any residual chlorine still on your hair.
3. Condition Your Hair
To get even more protection, douse your hair with conditioner before getting into a pool. The conditioner will help create a seal around the hair follicles, making it harder for the chlorine to penetrate and cause damage.
4. Wash Your Hair
This advice may seem obvious, but it often gets overlooked. Washing your hair with warm, soapy water for five minutes after every swim will guarantee that no chlorine remains on those healthy strands. Follow up with a leave-in conditioner to truly strengthen and protect. Although the idea seems straight forward, it's important to remember to only wash your hair after your swim. If shampooed before hitting the pool, you run the risk of stripping your hair of essential oils that exist to naturally protect your locks.
The fear of losing your hair to chlorinated water doesn't have to terrorize you if you're longing to go for a dip in a nearby swimming pool. Remember to take the necessary steps for preventative care, but if they happen to slip your mind, you can rest assured knowing that the hair on your head will, in fact, remain there.