How does Chlorine affect Your Hair?

I talk about swimming and maintaining your hair after swimming a lot on AfroDeity. It is one of my favourite past times and it is great exercise. You can even do it when you are pregnant. My only problem with swimming is the effect it can have on my hair and I am constantly wary of damage. 

I used to always wear a swim hat but their are occasions where you might not. Pool party for kids or taking the kids to the local swimming pool seems a bit over kill for a swim hat (that being said, I wear mine anyway.)

So what the big deal anyway, why not just wash it out when you are done. 
As any Mum will know covering your hair isn't always an option (well it is but a much less glamorous one), but as I've mentioned previously there are lots of great swimming shampoos or I at least try to find one with citric acid in it, which is has been shown to help in  removing chlorine from skin and hair.

So what effect does chlorine have on your hair?
Chlorine is usually added to pol water to help in stopping growth of microorganisms in the pool. For a public pool that sounds like a good thing!

Chlorine directly reacts chemically with hair and can changes its physical properties of the hair, as well as by changing electrical charge of minerals bonded to hair and reacting with those minerals.

* Chlorine can directly react with oils that cover the hair and proteins that form the hair shaft causing a chemical change. the removal of oils results in loss of hair shine and flexibility, as well as making them more susceptible to mechanical damage. 

Chlorine reacts with with keratin resulting in creation of water-soluble chemicals and weakens chemical bonds between fibres forming hair shafts. * Water soluable - water loving*

Chlorine can get between hair fibres. A crystallization process develops inside the hair, and 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. 

The hair cuticle can also be affected by this chlorine salt crystallization process. The cuticle is an outer layer of very hard, dead cells over the hair surface. If chlorine gets between the scales of the cuticle, it could push up the scales,, making it rough and prone to damage or breakage. These flaked cuticles reflect light poorly and  the hair fibre looks dull, dry and may feel rough when touched.

Chlorine can change electrical charge of minerals bonded to hair and oxidize those minerals.
Hope this all makes sesnse

Other AfroDeity Posts on Swimming
Swimming and Afro Hair
Swimming and Afro hair Part II
Swimming and Afro Hair Part III
* Summer Hair and You
* Swimming and Natural Hair Another Great Vid
*Afro Kids Hair - Detangling, Swimming, Nits

“The World of Hair” Dr. John Gray
“Swimming Pool and Spa Sanitation” Health Canada, April 1999.
“The Complete Guide to Pool and Spa Care” AquaChek

Any questions drop us a line! or comment below

Embrace Your Inner AfroDeity 

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