Hair care during swimming in summer needs special attention as swimming pools use more chlorine during these days, to counteract the effect of increase rush in the pools. Chlorine is used as a disinfectant to kill harmful bacteria in your pool.
Here are a few water hair care tips you can do to prevent chlorine damage to your hair and skin. Before getting in the pool, take a quick shower and make sure your hair is wet.
Chlorine, used in swimming pools, is bleach and it does have a damaging effect on hair. Not only does it affect the texture and color of the hair, but it can also weaken hair at the follicle. When you swim, always rinse your hair out after every swim in clean water as chlorine and salt ruin your hair.
Chlorine is added to water in swimming pools and spas in order to reduce the growth of microorganisms, such as bacteria and viruses. The chlorine that is able to sanitize contaminants is called “free” chlorine. The level of “free” chlorine in swimming pool should be between 1 and 3 ppm (parts per million), and between 3 and 5 pm for spas.
Chlorine (hypochlorous acid) reacts quickly with organic and non-organic materials present in swimming pool water. Because of its chemical activity, chlorine also affects hair of swimmers.
How does Chlorine affect Hair?
Chlorine affects hair by direct chemical reactions resulting in chemical changes to hair components, by changing physical properties of the hair, as well as by changing electrical charge of minerals bonded to hair and reacting with those minerals.
The direct chemical changes include reactions of chlorine with pigments giving hair their color, oils covering hair and proteins forming hair shafts. The reaction of melanin pigments with chlorine results in change of hair from natural color (blond to black) to straw color of keratin.
Chlorine removes natural oils covering hair resulting in loss of hair shine and flexibility, as well as making them more susceptible to mechanical damage. Reaction of chlorine with keratin results in creation of water-soluble chemicals and weakens chemical bonds between fibres forming hair shafts. Also chlorine can get between the hair fibres. As the crystallization process develops inside the hair, the chlorine crystals can separate the hair fibres disrupting structural integrity of hair shaft. Once the bonds are broken, the hair becomes weak and ends of the hairs split. Chlorine salt crystallization process may also affect the hair cuticle. The cuticle is an outer layer of very hard, dead cells over the hair surface. If the chlorine gets between the scales it could push up the scales; therefore, making it rough and prone to damage or breakage. These flaked cuticles reflect light poorly and so the hair fibre looks dull, dry and may feel rough when touched.