Swimming is a great outdoor activity for the summer season. It’s fun, relaxing and fitness driven. If only it were as good for your skin and hair! The chlorine that is added to the water to kill bacteria may make it safer for you to dive into the pool, but it wreaks havoc on your skin and hair.

The reason is that the pH levels of the chlorine-water is slightly acidic at about 9, but the pH level of your skin is basic at about 5.5. This causes your skin barrier to break down or not function properly. Yikes!

Minimise the feeling of dryness and damage you may feel after a swim with these skin and hair tips.

What happens to your skin and hair when you dip into a swimming pool…
 

What happens to your skin and hair when you dip into a swimming pool…

Skin: Extended periods in pool water may cause your skin to become dry, itchy and may cause rashes in extreme cases.

Hair: Pool water may cause your hair to become dry, damaged and discoloured. It may also cause itchy scalp and frizzy hair.

Nails: The pool water may cause your cuticles to get damaged and your nails to become weak and brittle.

What you should keep in mind when swimming is your favourite summer activity…
 

What you should keep in mind when swimming is your favourite summer activity…

Skin:

  • Shower before you go swimming – your hair and skin cells will absorb less pool water if they are already soaked from a shower.
  • Apply sunscreen before you jump in – Apply sunscreen if you are swimming outdoors as this will create a layer over your skin and prevent it from absorbing chlorinated water
  • Shower as soon as you get out – Use a mild body/face and hair cleanser to remove all traces of the chemicals from the skin
  • Apply moisturiser after the shower – to prevent your skin from drying out, apply a rich, hydrating moisturiser on your skin

Hair:
 

Hair:

  • Apply oil (like coconut) on your strands and wear a cap – the oil creates a layer over your hair that does not allow water to be absorbed. Wear cap to avoid sun damage.
  • Rinse hair and scalp with apple cider vinegar – a final rinse with apple cider vinegar mixed with water will restore the pH balance of your scalp
  • Avoid blow drying or heat styling your hair – the chemicals in the pool would have made your hair dry, so do not expose them to heat, which can also be drying
  • Apply moisturising conditioner to your hair – after a mild hair wash, apply a deep conditioner or oil to your hair to prevent it from drying