Since water is one of the most important elements for our bodies, one would think that immersing oneself in a pool of water would be good for you….that is except for the chlorine. The health benefits of swimming are great. But, the things put in water to protect us from infection are responsible for adverse effects on our skin, hair and even teeth.
One of the most common– and obvious– problems affects blondes. Blonde hair is known to turn green because of the exposure to copper (pipes) and chlorine. Skin problems can also occur in frequent swimmers. If you think about it, skin is the largest organ in the body. While technically water-proof, the skin can absorb contaminants from water. While chlorine is said to cause cancer and other ailments, problems to skin and hair are usually not life-threatening. Irritation can occur on the skin and scalp, making for a dry, itchy body and head. Additionally, chlorine can also destroy proteins in our bodies. Depleted of protein, skin and hair can become very dry. Hair can become unmanageable and color-treated hair can be ruined.
Wetting the hair with non-chlorinated water prior to swimming will lessen that amount of the element that can be absorbed. There are several types of shampoo on the market, that can help keep hair healthy when swimming. Although not the most attractive accessory, bathing caps are well-suited from totally protecting hair- and can help protect blondes from becoming greens. For those with long hair, caps can also help hair from dragging along during laps! Post-swim, keeping up with hair can include shampooing, not using the high setting on the blow dryer and using a wide-tooth comb instead of a brush.
Chlorine isn’t the only pool culprit. Water itself removes moisture from the skin. There is a layer of oil present on all of our bodies, but once immersed in water, it disappears. This allows for the dryness to set in. To combat this, after showering (following the swim), apply a moisturizer- either a lotion or cream.
And a final tip about swimming and chlorine- don’t swallow the water! That could be a whole other article on the effects of that!