Worried about Swimmer's Hair? Swim Away with Glee, we Say!

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
May 13, 2013

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Quick Bites

  • Pool water is treated with chemicals that can react with sebum and natural oils that protect the hair.
  • After you shampoo your hair post a swim, make sure you moisturise it well.
  • Wear a swimming cap best suitable for your hair and skin to protect them from harmful chemicals.
  • If you have permed or colour treated hair, swimming in chlorinated water will make them worse.

Swimming sounds great for your body to keep it fit, but can be hard on your hair! In case, you are a regular swimmer then chances are that you will have dry and damaged hair, which is referred as swimmer's hair.

Hair Care for Swimmers

Pool water is treated with chemicals, such as chlorine and bromine, which can react with the sebum and natural oils that protect the hair. This may leave the hair's cuticle exposed and more susceptible to damage from the ultraviolet (UV) rays produced by the sun.

These UV rays break the keratin bonds (the protein that makes up hair) present in your hair, causing roughness and split ends. Hair pigment molecules also get affected by the pool chemicals and sun, so it can become lighter or fade away.

Take a look what you can do to prevent or treat swimmer's hair.

Wear a Swimming Cap

The first thing you must do before going to the pool is wear your swimming cap. Buy yourself a latex cap; it’s inexpensive and fits really well to prevent the hair from pool water, though it can be harsh on your hair. The other option is to go for silicone caps. These are thicker and softer for your hair. You may even go for lycra caps, which weight light. These are used to keep the hair out of your face. You must team it with a latex cap for better hair protection.


Apply Hair Conditioner

Before hitting the swimming pool, take some conditioner and apply it on your hair. Besides, pre-conditioning the edges of your scalp before going to the pool is important as these areas are most likely to get wet. Pre-conditioning helps to keep the hair protected from the harmful effects of chlorine and other pool chemicals.

Use Swimmer's Shampoo

If you swim a lot, you must buy yourself shampoo, which is especially made for the swimmers. These products contain ingredients that will chelate copper and other metals from your hair so that they won't discolour them. These shampoos also remove chlorine, chemicals and minerals from your hair. After shampoo, don’t forget to moisturise your hair! A light moisturising spray or a little olive oil will go a long way.


Healthy Hair is Less Susceptible to Damage

Before attending your swimming classes, ensure that you have healthy hair as it is less susceptible to swimmer's hair than already damaged hair. In case you have thought of hair colouring, perming or any other heat-treatment on your hair, remember that your hair is at greater risk for dryness and discolouration. So, keep yourself away from hair processing so that chlorine won't get in through split ends.

With these above mentioned hair care tips for swimmers you may prevent your hair from damage. Keep your hair protected from the pool water; else your hair may become quite brittle.

Read more articles on Hair Care.

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