It’s a bit of a conundrum, isn’t it? We put chlorine and other chemicals into our swimming pools to keep them sparkly and blue and kill any bacteria or algae that may be thinking about moving in, yet we don’t really want these same chemicals on our skin or hair.

How does chlorine affect our skin, and can we have the best of both worlds when we want to cool down on these sweltering summer days?

The Role of Chlorine in the Swimming Pool

Chlorine is, in essence, a sanitiser and its main function in our pool is to disinfect the water. Actually, chlorine is used to disinfect all our water, including our drinking water – but obviously in far smaller doses.

Chlorine is also responsible for killing off algae which grow at an alarming rate given the right conditions.

However, there can be too much of a good thing, and this is definitely the case when we swim in chlorinated water.

Exposure to chlorine in your pool will dry out your skin as it strips it of its natural barriers, and as it does so it can create fine lines and wrinkles resulting in prematurely aged skin.

It does pretty much the same thing to your hair and can leave it brittle and weak if exposed to the water for too long. Chlorine can actually penetrate into the hair shaft, so if you don’t absolutely have to dunk your head in the water – don’t.

Keeping Chlorine in its Place

To avoid the potential pitfalls or chlorine on our skin and hair, follow these few common-sense tips:

  • Shower after your swim. This stops the chlorine from interacting with your skin and hair and allows your natural defences to revive.
  • Keep your skin, hair and body well-hydrated at all times.
  • If you swim regularly, wear a latex swimming cap which will keep your hair dry and chlorine free.
  • Wear goggles if you can to protect your eyes.

Chlorine is a great friend to us frequent swimmers, but it needs to be managed carefully to avoid damaging our skin, hair and clothing. Get this balance right, and you will enjoy a full and happy summer in the water!