Chlorine. It’s what keeps pools safe for our kids to use without getting cross contaminated from nasty bacteria like E. coli. Chlorine is essential for healthy swimming pools and allows us to exercise, play, or compete with peace of mind.
But Chlorine… it’s what turns your hair dry and brittle or makes your skin red and itchy. If you’re an avid swimmer, or have a pool at home, this becomes a more severe issue due to the long hours spent in the pool day after day. It can also fade and discolor your favorite swimsuits. If you’re not a fan of depleted hair or dehydrated skin, then you’re going to want to check out these simple tips. They’re easy to implement and they will make a world of difference!
They say the best treatment is preventing a condition altogether. It is no different with hair. Before your workout or pool day with the kids, thoroughly wet your hair, and apply an oil and silicone-based hair product. You can pick some up from your local department store. A more natural alternative is to use coconut oil– a spoonful for a full head of hair is adequate. The thin layer of oil repels water and helps prevent your hair from soaking up the chlorinated water like a sponge.
If using hair products isn’t your style, you may want to consider wearing a swim cap. It’s easy- simply wet your hair prior to your swim, slip on your cap, and you’re ready to go. If your cap is snug like it should be, it will form a 99.9% barrier between the water and your hair. It’s a good idea to wet your hair beforehand so that it will already be saturated and cannot absorb much chlorinated water.
If the pool day is a spontaneous adventure and you can’t apply preventative products, don’t worry! There are procedures that can be taken to reverse any damage that may have occurred. Chlorine can linger for days on hair and skin, but a store bought product is an easy fix to removing chlorine and reversing green hair.
Again, if you want to go the natural route while also being cost-effective, use a one-part vinegar to four-parts water solution (apple cider vinegar works best). Wash hair, apply vinegar solution, and then do a final rinse.
You’ve pampered your hair- now it’s time to treat your skin. Just like with hair, chlorine strips moisture and essential oils from your skin. Pre-swim skin oils or products generally aren’t effective and they pollute the water. When you’re finished in the pool, just be sure to thoroughly wash with plenty of soap and water. If you want to take it one step further or if you spend long hours in the water, look for a specialty after -swim body wash and lotion (with Vitamins E and C). They are designed to remove chlorine and restore moisture to your skin.
We all have our favorite swim attire picked out for the summer. But if you don’t want its color to deteriorate then you should check the label for chlorine/fade resistant materials. You can also throw in a couple of tablespoons of vinegar when you wash your swim gear. If you really love your swimsuit, you can hand rinse it in a vinegar/water solution by shaking it around in a plastic bag following your swim.
You’re almost done! Keep reading if you wear contacts. Contacts are designed to hold moisture from your eyes. The problem is that they also absorb chlorine. It is unsafe to leave chlorine saturated contact lenses in your eyes and can cause permanent damage. Your options are to toss them as your exit the pool, or to invest in surprisingly-affordable prescription goggles.
The best way to enjoy your time in the pool is by not having to worry about it the rest of your day. Wash, rinse and apply the proper products to keep yourself protected and hydrated. Adding a few steps before and after your regular swim routine will keep you in top shape, and you can enjoy your pool time and look great doing it!