There are many myths surrounding the effects of swimming pools on hair – especially blonde hair. It’s not surprising; regular pool swimmers who don’t take precautions will often end up with a severe case of chlorine hair that sees it become frizzy, matted, dry and generally unpleasant. But can it actually change colour? The answer is a little more complex than you might think.
It’s certainly possible for hair to take on a greenish tinge, and it is often thought that this is caused by chlorine, because chlorine gas is green. However, when chlorine is dissolved in pool water it is colourless. So why would hair turn green?
In fact, the green colour is not caused by chlorine, but by copper salts, which are often used as an algaecide in pools. However, chlorine can potentially make the problem worse because it can destroy the protective oils that would normally stop the copper from contacting the hair shaft. High chlorine breaks down the protective layer and allows copper to stain the hair.
Sodium-Chloride salt water can also make your hair tangle and knot. When salt water dries in your hair it will draw water out of the hair shaft by osmosis, and the keratin plates on dry hair will catch on each other and tangle. Using magnesium minerals in pools can prevent this as magnesium retains water.
5 ways to reduce the risk of “chlorine hair”
1) Avoid the use of copper algaecides in your pool. Copper is the cause of the green-staining.
2) Substitute some or all of the salt in your pool with magnesium minerals. Even in a freshwater pool, simply adding a bag of magnesium minerals will actually help prevent hair from tangling.
3) Maintaining the chemical composition of a swimming pool is an ongoing task. A dilapidated pool will quickly turn into a sea of slime but maintaining the perfect pH balance can be a high-maintenance job. Automating pool maintenance, however, can counter these laborious tasks and normalise water chemistry on an ongoing basis which helps to protect your hair from chlorine. Additionally, pool chemistry has improved significantly over the years and a more advanced pool chemistry is now available which may also reduce the impact of the pool water on hair and skin. Getting the chemistry right also makes the water more comfortable to swim in and can even reduce pool-ownership costs. Read more on this, here.
4) Wear a silicone swimming cap. If the water can’t get to your hair in the first place, it can’t make it wet. Who knew? Silicone is far better than the older, latex swimming caps as it won’t painfully pull and tug at your hair when taking it on and off.
5) Use shampoos that are designed for regular swimmers. These can be specially-formulated to remove chlorine that’s embedded itself within your hair in addition to replenishing the natural oils that keep it looking (and feeling) healthy. Moisturising components can also help replenish and repair proteins within the cuticles to keep everything strong and replenish damaged follicles.
If you own a pool and want to prevent chlorine hair by automating chemical management and reducing heating costs, get in touch with Pooled Energy, here.