08 / 19 / 16

Chlorine and the Health of Your Hair

At this time of year, we are often asked if chlorine can cause hair loss. The answer is absolutely, no. In a study reported in the Journal of Dermatology, researchers compared the hair of 67 professional swimmers and 54 individuals who had spent little to no time in the pool. Although swimmers’ hair exhibited some signs of having chlorine-induced damage like dryness and coarseness, swimmers were not significantly more likely to experience hair loss. But, high exposure to chlorine can cause the scalp to become dry and flaky.

The very chlorine that we are so dependent upon to keep our swimming pools free of germs and bacteria, does take a toll on your hair. As stated above, chlorine, alone, cannot cause hair loss. But, the chlorine that eats away at germs in pools also eats away at the living tissue that is in your hair follicles which can leave your hair weak, and brittle. But there are precautions that you can take to protect your hair from breaking and splitting from the chlorine.

First of all, wear a swimming cap. This will keep most of the chlorine from getting into your hair. Choose a latex or silicone cap because they have a tighter fit on your head, and are thicker and softer for your hair.

Second of all, wet your hair thoroughly with plain tap water before getting into the pool. Because dry hair acts like a sponge, when it comes in contact with pool water, your hair will be less vulnerable if it has been wetted down first. Also, rinse down your hair with the same clean, non-chlorinated water after your swim. This will get rid of any lingering chlorine.

When you get home from the pool, thoroughly wash your hair with shampoo to remove all chemical traces. Then condition your hair to replenish your hair’s natural moisture. If your hair is colored, use one of the specialty shampoos and conditioners for colored hair.

This brings to mind another question. Often we are asked if chlorine can change the color of my hair?” According to chemist and biologist, Ann Helmenstine, Ph.D., chlorine cannot change the color of your hair. But, pro-longed time in the swimming pool could give your hair a greenish tint.

The bottom line is that chlorine in swimming pools may cause damage to the hair, but it won’t make it fall out. For more information, contact Hair Replacement Clinic Dayton.