How to Protect Hair and Skin Health if You Swim Often

Swimming is a very beneficial physical activity. However, those of you who like to swim need to take extra care of your skin and hair. The reason is, that swimming pool water contains chemicals that have the potential to damage skin and hair.

Hazards of chemicals in swimming pool water

Behind the crystal clear water of the swimming pool, there are various chemicals added to kill bacteria, germs, and mildew in it.

These chemicals are usually disinfectants and sanitizers. Soda ash (sodium carbonate) is also often added to increase the pH of the water.

Of the various chemicals that are mixed into swimming pool water, the most commonly used as a disinfectant and sanitizer is chlorine.

There are various types of chlorine for swimming pools, namely liquid chlorine, solid chlorine (in the form of tablets that will dissolve in water), and chlorine gas for very large swimming pools.

The process of releasing chlorine into water is called chlorination. Although useful for killing bacteria, excessive chlorination can have a negative impact on skin and hair.

Effects of chlorine on hair and skin of swimmers

Here are some of the effects of chlorine on skin and hair that you are at risk of experiencing if you swim often.

1. Scrape the natural oils from the hair and scalp so that the hair becomes dry.
2. Makes hair strands brittle.
3. Make the skin of the body and scalp become itchy, dry, or cracked.
4. Weakening strands of hair so that the ends become split.

Chlorine in swimming pool water can also cause various skin disorders. Many people know it as a chlorine allergy or a chlorine allergy, but this is actually a misnomer.

You may not be allergic to chlorine, but your body may be sensitive or have certain reactions.

Citing the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, skin problems that can arise include irritation, contact dermatitis, and chlorine rash.

In addition to the symptoms previously mentioned, the following are signs of skin problems due to excessive exposure to chlorine.

1. The skin is red, inflamed, or swollen.
2. Skin lesions, especially in the form of red patches.
3. The appearance of scaly or crusty patches on the skin.
4. Worsening of existing skin disease.

For that, you need to pay extra attention to taking care of your skin and hair when you swim regularly.

How to take care of your skin while swimming

Skin that is too often exposed to chlorine will lose its natural moisture.

To prevent dry or rough skin from frequent swimming, apply the steps below before and after swimming.

1. Use a waterproof sunscreen

Before you get in the water, first coat your skin with waterproof sunscreen. That way, sunlight and chlorine will not be directly absorbed by the skin.

Choose a sunblock with a high SPF if you want to swim for a long time.

2. Rinse before swimming

Wait a few minutes for the sunscreen to absorb, then rinse your body.

This method turns out to be beneficial for treating and protecting the skin, because you help the skin adjust to the temperature and nature of the pool water while swimming.

3. Drink lots of water


Drinking plenty of water can help meet your fluid needs and keep your skin moisturized from within.

Don’t forget to drink plenty of water before and after you swim.

4. Take a shower immediately after swimming

After swimming, take a shower immediately and clean your body thoroughly. If your skin is not sensitive, take a warm bath.

Warm water helps treat skin by speeding up the release of chemicals that stick to it while swimming.

5. Dry the body gently

After bathing, dry your body by patting it with a soft towel.

Do not rub the skin harshly, especially on parts of the face whose skin is more sensitive.

6. Use a moisturizer after bathing

Use a lotion with a moisturizer on the skin right after bathing.

The use of the right moisturizer can lock in the skin’s moisture, maintain the skin’s protective layer, and make the skin look healthier and softer.

How to take care of your hair while swimming

Hair that is too often in contact with chemicals in the pool or exposed to the sun will feel dry, itchy, or break easily.

Well, here are the hair care steps that you can do.

1. Use conditioner or olive oil

Rinse your hair before entering the pool. Then, coat your hair with conditioner or olive oil.

Apply a thin layer of olive oil, then smooth it until all the ends of your hair are protected.

Conditioner and olive oil not only moisturize the skin, but also protect it from chemical exposure.

This way, the chlorine and other chemicals won’t come into direct contact with your hair.

2. Wearing a swimming cap

To care for your hair and scalp, you are also recommended to use a special hat when swimming.

Wearing a swimming cap.

A swimming cap doesn’t guarantee that your hair is completely free of chlorine, but at least you can reduce your exposure to chlorine.

In addition, swimming also helps filter out sunlight that hits the hair.

So, you can swim more freely and comfortably because your hair is neatly wrapped in a swimming cap.

3. Immediately wash until clean

After swimming, rinse your hair thoroughly and use a conditioner to keep it moisturized.

If necessary, try shampooing with warm water to help wash away the chemicals that stick to the hair and scalp.

Dry your hair with a soft towel. As much as possible, avoid using a hairdryer or straightening iron so that the scalp can produce oils that soften the hair naturally.

Swimming has many benefits for physical and mental health. However, keep in mind that while swimming, your skin and hair are exposed to chemicals and sunlight, so you need to take good care of them.

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