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Repairing Chlorine Damaged Hair:
Protect & Prevent Dry or Green Hair from Swimming

As we become more active for our health or simply as the temperatures rise with the changing of the seasons, a dip in the pool is refreshing. Before your next dive as a swimmer you should be well prepared for the prevention and treatment of chlorine exposure. Chlorine is used in swimming pools as a disinfectant for maintaining cleanliness and sanitation. The chlorine however removes the natural protective oils of the hair and scalp causing a severe drying effect. When hair is subject to chlorine exposure this occurs and if hair is not rinsed post swim and is allowed to dry, the hair becomes brittle, dry and is prone to breaks as well as splitting. In order to prevent hair damage due to chlorine there are some steps you can follow with each swim.

Pre-swim Steps to Protect Hair and Prevent Chlorine Hair Damage

  1. Wet Hair Before Going in the Pool
    Prior to entering the swimming pool should be to thoroughly wet the hair. When hair absorbs un-chlorinated water there is less chance for major absorption of the chlorine into the hair shaft.

  2. Apply Hair Conditioner Before Swimming
    Secondly you should apply a hair conditioner for moisture and protection before any chlorine damage has a chance to occur.

  3. Use a Swimmer's Cap
    A swimmers cap, although not the most fashionable, should be placed over your wet, conditioned hair. This is in fact the best way to protect and prevent chlorine damage. If you however choose not to use the swimmers cap then you will want to treat the hair post swim with the additional tips below.

Post Swim Steps to Repair Damage & Remove Chlorine From Hair

  1. Rinse Hair with Non-Chlorinated Water After Swimming
    You need to rinse the hair thoroughly after a swim in chlorinated water. You can use club soda, which ceases the adverse effects of the chlorine. You can also rinse the hair in un-chlorinated water.

  2. Use the Right Shampoo Post Pool to Remove Smell & Green Color
    It is advised to use a shampoo. Look for a shampoo that contains sodium thiosulfate. This ingredient is an antichlor, which removes the color and odor of chlorine from the hair. The chlorine in water can cause hard metals in the water, such as copper, iron and manganese, to attach to the hair causing a green coloration. Shampoos that offer aloe or glycerin can also be helpful as they are a natural moisturizer that can combat the drying effects of chlorine.

  3. For Severe Damage Head to the Salon
    If you experience severe drying and hair breakage you can receive a salon treatment that will reduce and or eliminate breakage for up to six weeks at a time. This is done with a product called Aphogee, which is fused to the hair using heat. The product hardens the hair and after rinsing and conditioning is completed there is a noticeable difference immediately. This product is for professional use alone; speak to your local hair salon technician for service.

How to Get Rid of the Green Chlorine Tint in Blonde Hair

Blondes tend to suffer more damage from exposure to chlorine than people with other hair colors, and they will often experience a problem referred to as “swimmer’s hair.” This is a green tint that occurs because of the hard metals that are in the water. The chlorine exposure does not truly change the color of the hair, but the metals will discolor the hair. Fortunately, this is reversible. There are several shampoos that are on the market that specifically remove the green tint from chlorine. If you do not have one of these shampoos handy, you can try rinsing your hair with white vinegar or lemon juice after swimming. In order to prevent the problem, or at least reduce the effects of the chlorine, apply a leave in conditioner before swimming and wear a swim cap.

Pre-swim, post swim step review

  1. Thoroughly wet hair with non-chlorinated water.

  2. Apply hair conditioner.

  3. Cover hair with swimmer’s cap.

  4. After swim rinse and shampoo hair.

  5. Condition hair after shampooing and alternate each week from regular conditioner to a deep conditioner.

  6. Dry hair gently with a patting motion with towel or on cool setting with hair dryer.

  7. if severe hair damage is experienced seek a hair care professional for treatment.

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