Swimming is an excellent way to cool off, stay fit, and have fun during the scorching summer months. However, regular swimming in chlorinated water can have a negative impact on your hair, causing split ends and breakage. In this article, we’ll share some helpful tips on how to safeguard your hair while swimming.
Understanding Effects of Chlorine on Hair
Chlorine is widely used as a sanitizer in swimming pools for its ability to keep the water clean and ensure swimmers are not exposed to microorganisms that can lead to illnesses. While it serves its purpose of maintaining pool hygiene, it can also damage your precious looks.
How chlorine affects hair
- It strips away hair’s natural oils and proteins, leaving it vulnerable to damage.
- It negatively affects the hair’s cuticle and keratin protein.
- It can make your hair porous.
- It dissolves hair lipids that are essential for moisturizing making it more susceptible to static electricity, breakage and frizz.
Common hair issues faced by Swimmers
- Chlorine leads to dry, brittle strands that are prone to breakage resulting in split ends.
- Chlorine can interact with copper in the water, creating a chemical reaction that causes green discolouration.
- The chemical properties of chlorine can weaken the structural integrity of your hair making it more susceptible to breakage.
- Chlorine can also lead to itchy, red, tight and dry skin on the scalp.
Pre-Swim Hair Care Tips
- Oiling is a crucial and fundamental step in safeguarding hair from the effects of chlorinated water as it has the ability to create a barrier that prevents water from entering the cuticle.
- Pre-Swim Rinse: Before diving into the pool, wet your hair with fresh water which will decreased chlorine absorption as wet hair is less porous.
- A Leave-In Conditioner can create a protective barrier, preventing chlorine from coming into direct contact with your strands.
- A good-quality swim cap can significantly minimize chlorine exposure and creates a physical barrier against pool water.
- For those who enjoy outdoor swimming, make sure to apply an SPF hairspray to shield your hair from the sun’s harmful rays.
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Choosing the Right Swim Cap
Navigating through the wide variety of swim caps available and finding the perfect match can be a daunting task. To assist you in finding a swim cap that meets your desired fit, function, and style, we have put together a handy guide.
Types of swim caps
- Silicone is used in modern swim caps, known for its exceptional comfort, durability, and strength which provides a sleek fit that maintains its elasticity over time.
- Latex is favoured by many swimmers for its fit, feel and affordability. They are thinner and lighter, suitable for warmer swimming environments.
- Rubber is thicker than latex. Bubble caps, a popular style made of rubber, are particularly useful for colder swimming conditions.
- Lycra swim caps are relatively durable, comfortable and designed to withstand extended use.
- Neoprene swim caps are designed to prevent heat loss from the head and are favourable for swimming in cold lakes, oceans, or any chilly bodies of water.
Importance of swim caps and their benefits
Swim Caps provide a protective barrier between the pool water and your hair, minimizing the damaging effects of chlorine, saltwater, or other chemicals. They play a crucial role in preventing especially long hair, from floating freely in the pool and creating a tangled mess and also effectively keeps the hair away from the face during swimming sessions. Additionally, swim caps can also help keep water out of your ears if they cover your ears.
Tips for selecting the right swim cap
- Silicone: Ideal for competitive and regular swimmers.
- Latex: Great for long hair with a more generous fit than a silicone cap and are very comfortable
- Rubber: Ideal for Cold Water Enthusiasts.
- Lycra/Spandex: Soft fabric for recreational swimmers avoiding pull/catch in your hair.
- Neoprene: Essential for Open Water Swimmers as it helps you keep warm in cold open waters.
Hair-Care Measures During Swimming
In order to minimize the contact between your hair and chlorinated water during swimming, wear a durable swim cap that fully covers and protects your hair. If you possess long hair, it is advisable to tie your hair into a ponytail, braid, or secure bun. This precautionary measure helps reduce the extent of contact with chlorine. Outdoor pools are advisable as it facilitates faster evaporation of chlorine gas from water into the surrounding air minimalizing your skin and hair damage.
Post-Swim Hair-Care Routine
The most crucial time to protect your hair from chlorine damage is immediately after exiting the water. Implementing a post-swim hair care routine is essential to eliminate chlorine before it has a chance to deeply penetrate your strands.
- Thoroughly rinse your hair with clean water to remove any chlorine residue.
- Use a clarifying shampoo.
- Apply a leave-in conditioner to restore moisture and nourishment.
- Allow your hair to naturally air dry while you change. Avoid blow-dryers.
- Gently remove tangles and knots without causing additional damage.
Essential Ingredients for Swim-Friendly Hair-care
Choose a shampoo that is gentle and free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, silicone, and synthetic fragrances. Instead, opt for products with natural ingredients like primrose oil, pro-vitamin B, coconut oil, shea butter, and cucumber, which nourishes the hair. It is beneficial to apply coconut oil because of its high fatty acid as it provides moisture to your hair and scalp. Olive oil, abundant in vitamins A and E aids in the preservation of keratin.
Proper hair care during swimming is crucial to protect your hair from the potential damage caused by chlorine and other factors. Using a swim cap or tying your hair back can help minimize damage. Before swimming, consider applying a swimmer’s hair oil to create a protective coat. By following these simple steps, you can keep your hair healthy and minimize the negative effects of swimming on your hair.
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