I’m here sitting, after a great swim in the hotel swimming pool, wondering whether swimming in pools cause hair loss?
I have been swimming as a sport and a hobby since I was a kid. However, I never thought about the fact that, “can swimming pool water cause hair loss?”.
The information that I have gathered suggests that, the swimming pool water does not cause hair loss, but the chlorine and other cleaning agents which are added to the water could damage the hair strands and make them weak.
In this article, I will share with you the information that I have gathered regarding the impact of chlorine in the swimming pool water on your hair and what steps you could take to minimize this impact.
Does swimming in pools cause hair loss
No!!! But it can damage your hair.
Swimming is a great sport to keep yourself healthy and active. However, there is a common belief that swimming in pools can cause hair loss.
The research information that I have gathered suggest that it is neither the swimming as a sport nor the swimming pool water that damage the hair.
The main reason why swimming pool water could damage your hair is due to the chlorine and other cleaning agents which are added into the swimming pools to kill the germs and bacteria in the water.
The experts point out that, chlorine could damage your hair, by making it dry and weak. Their opinion is that this can cause hair brittles and hair fall but it will not cause hair loss.
How swimming pool water damage your hair
Now that we have established that, chlorine does not cause hair loss, let’s take a look at how chlorine can damage your hair. Just because chlorine does not cause hair loss, it does not mean that it is good for your hair .
1. Chlorine can eat through natural oils
It is important to add chlorine to almost every swimming pool. Without a bacteria killing agent like chlorine, you would be swimming in a pool of germs and bacteria. It’s true that chlorine can kill germs, but did you know that chlorine can also damage the natural oil in your scalp?
Yes, chlorine can eat through the natural oils in your scalp, which can lead to various issues. Due to the damages caused to natural oils, our hair and scalp lose its moisture. Due to the lack of moisture in hair, it will be dry. The dry hair is much more weak and prone to break more easily.
Further, the scalp will be dry due to the damage caused to natural oils. It’s true that natural oils will be replaced naturally, but it may take some time. Until such times, the scalp will be dry. Dry scalp can be itchy and scaly (in worse case scenarios). Constant scratching of the itchy scalp can damage the hair roots, and make the hair weak.
2. Chlorine can clog the pores
Swimming in chlorine water can cause chlorine salt to crystallize and deposit on your scalp. Especially when chlorine is not washed away properly. This can clog the pores on your scalp. Clogged pores will reduce the nutrition absorbed to the hair roots and make hair much weaker.
3. Chlorine will make your hair hard
The experts state that chlorine salt will get crystallized, and make the hair rough. If chlorine is not washed away properly, then the hair will get tangled. Combing tangled and hard hair, can break the hair strands much easily. Especially if you have long hair.
So after you swim in chlorine water, be mindful when combing your hair.
Why is your scalp visible to outside after a swim
This is due to the moisture in your hair and not a sign of hair loss.
When you take a shower or a swim, your scalp may become visible to the outside. Some people fear that this is due to a hair loss or hair thinning. Do not freak out, it is completely normal to see your scalp after having a shower or a swim.
This mainly occurs due to the hair strands clamping together due to the moisture in your hair. As a result the scalp will be visible to outside.
Is hair loss from chlorine temporary
Yes it is temporary.
We have established that chlorine does not cause hair loss, but rather cause hair fall indirectly. The experts point out that, hair loss from chlorine is mostly temporary. This is since, chlorine will not damage the hair follicles or the scalp in the short run.
What chlorine really does is making the hair dry, hard and weak. As a result, hair will break more easily than usual. With proper treatment and nourishment, the hair will be back to normal.
However, the experts state that the condition might be worse for a person who expose the hair to chlorine water much more frequently. For such a person, it is difficult to regain the lost natural oils.
If a person is exposing the hair to chlorine water more frequently, without taking proper precautions, then he might experience some serious hair fall, which can lead to permanent hair loss in the long run.
How to prevent the damage caused by chlorine
Although swimming in swimming pools with chlorine does not cause hair loss, it is always better to protect your hair from chlorine. However, you cannot prevent the damage completely, especially if you go for a swim frequently. But these suggestions would help to minimize the damage.
1. Use a swimming cap
A swimming cap is the best way to protect your hair against chlorine water in the swimming pools. It is true that swimming caps are used by professional swimmers to manage the resistance when swimming, but it can also be used to protect your hair from chlorine water.
When picking a swimming cap, make sure to buy a quality cap which minimize the water penetration. The experts suggest that it is better to pick a cap made from silicone, latex, or rubber to reduce the chlorine water from touching the hair.
However, swimming caps will pull your hair back when removing, which can damage the hair roots. Therefore remove it slowly, without pulling it back hard.
When wearing the cap, wash your hair first with clean tap water. Wet hair will help to seal the cap tight to the head, which will minimize chlorine water pouring through the cap.
2. Wash your hair before the swim
Pre-swim shower is one of the many things that people would ignore. It is done to ensure the hygiene of the people who use the pool. But did you know that, pre-swim shower, can help against chlorine water too?
The experts state that our hair is porous, and like a sponge our hair has the ability to absorb only a limited amount of water. Therefore, if you wash your hair thoroughly with clean tap water, before the swim, the amount of chlorine water absorbed into the hair will be minimum.
3. Wash your hair after the swim
Post- swim shower is also highly important. This will help to get rid of chlorine from hair. However, simply washing the hair will not do it. You should apply shampoo, deep cleansing shampoo or chlorine removing shampoo.
However, such shampoo can dry your hair. Therefore it is better to use a conditioner, right after using the shampoo. Conditioner will help to retain the moisture in your hair.
4. Apply leave in conditioner
Leave in conditioner is great to be applied on wet hair. It helps to restore moisture, which was lost due to chlorine. This will reduce the further damage caused to the hair. Apply leave in conditioner after the post-swim shower.
5. Treat your hair with oil and vitamin E
vitamin E and oil can help to keep your hair moisturized. On the day after your swim, apply vitamin E and oil on your hair (To learn more click the link). It is better to mix vitamin E with sesame oil or olive oil and apply it in the morning. This will help to deal with dry scalp and dry hair caused due to chlorine.
Swimming in pools with chlorine, can have a negative impact on your hair. It can indirectly cause hair fall and can have negative effects on your hair. But it does not cause hair loss.
However, exposing the hair to chlorine frequently and not cleaning it up properly can have adverse effects in the long run. Therefore, hair loss due to swimming pools can be considered as fiction, as long as you take precautionary actions and take care of your hair.