Can Chlorine Damage My Hair?

Do you like to take a dip in the pool every summer? Or do you swim to stay in shape? If so, then your hair probably feels abnormally dry for the next few days…

Can chlorine damage my hair?

Is it the chlorine in the pool?

Absolutely! Chlorine is a disinfectant added in pool water to protect us from possible bacteria and other viruses. It breaks down and removes oil, dirt, bacteria and other matter. Unfortunately, chlorine affects your hair as well and constant exposure will result in damage.


First of all, your scalp naturally produces oils, called sebum, to protect your hair from daily damage. Sebum is what gives your hair shine and flexibility. Regular exposure to pool water strips the oils from your hair, which causes over drying and possibly significant damage. Also, too much exposure to chlorine WILL also turn your hair green!

Side note: Short and occasional exposures to pool water wont damage your hair.

Keep in mind, not all hair is created equal! Hair with the highest risk typically will be:

  • Color treated or highlighted
  • Chemically treated
  • Dry hair
  • Thin or fine hair
  • Previously damaged hair

Is there a way to prevent the damage?

  1. Wear a swim cap


  1. Rinse your hair with tap water before entering the pool. This saturates the hair and prevents the pool water from getting soaked in, so keep rinsing during and after!
  2. Put leave-in conditioner into your hair before going in the pool.
  3. Shampoo immediately after, to remove the chlorine.
  4. Use conditioner after shampooing to replenish protein and moisturize your hair.
  5. When drying, don’t rub! Pat with a towel or gently squeeze the water from your hair before covering it in a towel to dry.
  6. Don’t use a brush to detangle wet pool hair, instead use a wide-tooth comb.

What if the damage is already done?

Talk to your hairstylist for possible treatment options, before attempting treatments of your own or treatments found online.


Sources: womenshair.about.com


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