If you are a professional swimmer or like swimming in general, the question of how chlorine water is impacting your hair, must have crossed your mind. While pool water is a common culprit for chlorine damage, did you know that even tap water can sometimes contain chlorine?
No matter what hair type you have, chlorine is most likely to damage your hair and scalp. However, with a few easy hacks you can protect your hair from chlorine water damage. Scroll down to know them.
What Does Chlorine Water Do To Your Hair?
Almost 90% of your hair structure is made up of keratin. This is an important type of protein that is also present in your nails. When chlorine gets in contact with keratin  of the hair, it binds and forms a hard coating, which, if not washed immediately, can cause harm. Continuous contact with chlorine weakens the keratin content, resulting in weakening of your hair.
Here are some ways in which chlorine water can affect your hair:
- Chlorine strips your hair of its natural oils, leaving it dry and dull.
- It breaks down the keratin present in your hair, which in turn weakens your hair, making it brittle.
- Chlorine can also cause chemical reactions in your hair, resulting in a change of natural hair colour.
- Hair that is weak and damaged due to chlorine, can develop split ends and rough edges.
- Whether it's your facial skin or your scalp, contact with chlorine for a long period of time aggravates Vata dosha. Those who already have a Vata aggravated skin will experience itchiness and irritation in their scalp.
- Chlorine extracts the natural sebum secreted by the scalp. The sebaceous glands that secrete sebum help keep the hair from getting dry.
Does Chlorine Water Cause Hair Loss?
Research shows that chlorine does not directly result in hair loss, but it majorly affects the texture of your hair. When chlorine water gets in touch with your hair, it rips the hair’s natural moisture, making it dry. It causes chemical reactions in your scalp, resulting in malnourished hair with roughness and split ends. The pH levels in chlorine imbalance and aggravate the Vata dosha, which in return causes dandruff. Dandruff is a major reason behind hair loss in most people.
Water with a higher level of chlorine becomes alkaline. Even if you don’t have a Vata aggravated skin type or are not allergic to chlorine, a high amount of chlorine can cause tremendous amounts of hair loss. If you are a professional swimmer and have to spend a lot of time in chlorine water then you might find thinning of hair volume and texture since the chlorine reacts with the keratin in your hair.
How To Protect & Treat Hair From Chlorine Water?
If you are a professional swimmer, keeping your hair shorter will also help it to stay healthier.
If your hair is constantly exposed to chlorine water, then there are ways to protect it and minimize damage. Here are some ways by which you can protect your hair from chlorine water naturally:
1. Oil Your Hair
- Use oil in your hair as much as you can. If you have a Vata prakriti scalp, oiling your hair regularly is a must. Leave the oiled hair for a few hours before washing it.
- If you have Pitta or Kapha prakriti hair, then keep a check on the amount of oil that you are using. You can also consult your dermatologist regarding the type of oil you can use. For Pitta or Kapha skin type, do not leave the oil on your hair for longer than an hour or so. Ayurveda recommends oiling hair only before washing it.
- Use olive oil, almond oil, coconut oil, Nilibhringadi oil, Bhringakamalkadi taila etc. Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix recommends, “Oiling the hair before a swim can prevent the chlorinated water from penetrating deep in the shaft.”
2. Use Herbal Shampoos & Conditioners
Use herbal shampoos in place of harmful chemical ones. Dilute the shampoo with water before putting it in your hair. Use hair conditioners that have herbal ingredients like aloe vera, hibiscus and henna.
3. Detangle Gently
If your hair gets tangled too often, detangle it with a wide toothed comb and be gentle with the knots.
4. Get Regular Trims
Love long hair? The secret to keeping it long by avoiding severe damage is to trim it after every 3 months.
5. Use Homemade Hair Treatments
- To prevent hair fall from chlorine water, try this homemade egg treatment at least once a week.
- Use 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 tablespoon of yogurt and make a mixture.
- Apply this homemade mixture on your scalp and hair and leave it for almost an hour.
- Rinse it off with some cold water.
Dr. Zeel also recommends using shea butter and warm coconut oil to make hair invincible to chlorine water damage.
6. Eat Healthy
- Because chlorine water aggravates the Vata dosha in your hair, you need to balance it by consuming nutritious food.
- Eat food that’s rich in proteins, antioxidants and vitamin E.
7. Use Supplements
There are various Ayurvedic supplements like Triphala, Amalaki, Dhatri loha, Mandoora bhasma etc, that benefit your hair health.
8. Avoid Hair Dryers
Avoid or minimize the use of hair dryers. Dry your hair naturally.
9. Cover Your Hair
While going out of home or travelling, keep your hair covered or tied up.
10. Opt For Treatments
You can also follow methods that heal or treat your chlorine damaged hair. Apart from professional chemical procedures like Keratin treatment and dermatologically prescribed treatments, you can also ask your Ayurvedic doctor about natural ways to recover your hair from chlorine damage.
Vedix Tip: Wet your hair with lukewarm water. Apply a scoop of mayonnaise liberally all over the scalp. Wrap your hair with a plastic bag and then wash it off after 20 minutes.
How To Prevent Chlorine Damaged Hair?
While you cannot entirely prevent your hair from getting damaged by chlorine water, there are some ways that can help you control it. We have some suggestions that can help protect your hair from chlorine in the tap water as well as pool water.
- Wet your hair in normal water before you step into a swimming pool or any water body containing chlorine. This way you can prevent some of the chlorine from touching your hair directly.
- Wear a swimming cap or protective head gear and wear it over wet hair. This creates an air lock and prevents any chlorine water from entering the cap.
- Apply coconut oil all over your hair before going into a pool.
- Wash your hair with any herbal shampoo and conditioner immediately after getting out of the pool. Don’t let the chlorine water dry up in your hair.
- Tie up your hair into a bun so that a least amount of hair surface is available for chlorine contact.
- Wet hair is difficult to comb, so don’t use force to comb it. Detangle gently.
Does Chlorine Turn Your Hair Green?
Often due to prolonged exposure to chlorine water, a greenish tint may appear on your hair. The green colour is not actually from the chlorine, but instead from copper that has been oxidized by chlorine. Copper and chlorine together form a layer that sticks to the proteins in your hair, causing it to get a greenish tinge.
Here are a few remedies that you might find helpful if you want to prevent your hair from turning green due to chlorine.
- Coat your hair with fresh tomato juice, let it sit for 5-10 minutes and then follow your daily hair wash routine.
- Coat your hair with tomato puree or tomato ketchup, and wrap the hair in a tin foil. Leave it for 30 minutes and then wash it with an herbal shampoo and conditioner.
- Cover your hair entirely with lemon juice, keep it soaked for almost 10 minutes and then wash it.
- Make a smooth paste with baking soda and water and then apply that mixture on the green parts of your hair. Keep the paste on for 30 minutes and wash it off.
Who Is At Risk For Chlorine Damage?
There are certain people who are at maximum risk of chlorine damage to their hair:
- Those with aggravated Vata dosha are prone to chlorine water damage, mainly resulting in dry flaky scalp.
- Those who have coloured or chemically treated their hair multiple times tend to have brittle hair and are more prone to chlorine damage.
- If the quality and texture of your hair is already rough and thin, chlorine will damage it more rapidly.
- If you do not take care of your hair in general, your hair will get damaged by chlorine. Make sure you oil, wash and condition your hair often.
The Last Word
Even though chlorine seems to be the worst for hair, chlorination is the most popular method for disinfecting water. Whether you are an avid swimmer or are exposed to chlorine water from taps at home or the gym, chlorine can harm your hair. The best way to protect your hair from chlorine damage is to know how it affects your hair. Avoid chlorine exposure, prevent damage and consult your dermatologist to mitigate its ill effects. Know Your Dosha Now
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