How Swimming Affects Your Skin & Hair

First and foremost, swimming is an excellent all body exercise that more people should be engaged in on a regular basis for overall health and well being. Most babies, toddlers and children loves the pool and spends many hours either playing, learning or training in them. You will notice that swimming in pools has noticeable effects on your skin and hair. It is very important to know what are harmful effects of chlorinated water and the steps you can take to minimise its effects on your hair and skin, especially those with vulnerable skin like the very young and seniors.

Chlorine & Its Effects

Most swimming pools contain a diluted level of chlorine to keep the pool free of bacteria and debris. A well maintained pool monitors the water several times everyday. Undiluted chlorine is a highly toxic chemical and even the chlorine in a well-maintained pool may sting and irritate your eyes, although it may not cause serious harm. Indoor swimming pools with trapped chlorine vapour may cause respiratory and digestive problems compared to open air swimming pools. In the hot tropics like Singapore, most of the swimming pools are in the open. If you need to use an indoor pool, look for well ventilated ones.

Chlorine is an “oxidizing” agent, meaning that it can oxidize other substances by encouraging the formation of free radicals. These free radicals are the culprit that damage cells, proteins, lipids, and DNA that can lead to inflammation, disease, and aging.

Chlorine in swimming pools may cause

  •     Discolored hair
  •     Dry, brittle hair prone to breakage
  •     Frizzy hair
  •     Hair stripped of natural oils
  •     Weak hair that lacks volume
  •     Dry, itchy scalp
  •     Damage to cuticles
  •     Weakened and breaking nails
  •     Dry, flaky skin
  •     Itchy skin, rash, or burned skin
  •     Allergic reaction (especially in sensitive skin types)
  •     Acne breakouts
  •     Accelerated aging in skin, showing up as fine lines and wrinkles

Dry Hair

Chlorine is very drying for your hair.
When swimming in  chlorinated water, the hair shafts absorb the chlorine, which strips the hair sebum which is its natural lubricant. Thus, frequent swimming can cause protective cuticles of hair strands to crack, split ends and break.

Protect Your Hair

  1. Getting hair wet with clean water first keeps them from absorbing chlorinated water in pools.
  2. Coat your hair and scalp with conditioner or oil and don a swimming cap. The cap can offer some protection besides keeping longer hair out of your way while swimming.
  3. Remember to wash your swimsuit with soap as well
  4. Wash your hair immediately after swimming to remove as much chlorine as possible. Avoid harsh, synthetic chemical based shampoos and conditioners especially those with artificial colouring and fragrances. Try Ultra Mild Shampoo & Conditioner from Emu Tracks, derived naturally with the therapeutic oil from Australia’s emu bird and formulated with natural herbs and essential oils.
  5. Avoid using hair dryers to limit damage to hair. Gently pat with a towel to dry hair and allow it to dry naturally. Use a wide-toothed comb to remove tangles.

Dry Skin

When you get out of a swimming pool, chlorine leaves a residue on your skin. It can dry out your skin and make it feel tight and itchy because the chlorine strips your skin of its natural oils. People with sensitive skin might get skin irritation or rash from the drying effects. Chlorine can aggravate skin conditions like eczema.  Removing the chlorine residue or any irritants in pool water can prevent you from getting an eczema flare up. Swimming in the sea and other bodies of water can possibly cause skin problems in some people, due to the high salt content, algae and bacteria present in lakes and rivers.

Protect Your Skin

  1. Apply oil, lotion or sunscreen before swimming. Bio-Active Emu Oil from Emu Tracks has high transdermal properties, meaning it penetrates skin quickly and easily. It gets absorbed into the skin within 15 minutes and serves to moisturize and protect your skin in the pool.
  2. After swimming, rinse or wash the chlorine from your skin as soon as possible. Moisturise to rehydrate your skin immediately after your post-swim shower to remedy the dryness.
  3. Keep hydrated by drinking water before and after swimming may protect your skin. Your wrinkled fingers is a signal that you dehydrate when swimming and your skin is more likely to feel rough and dry. Drinking plenty of water purifies your skin, replenishes moisture lost through sun exposure and flushes out toxins, including chlorine. Your skin will stay more supple when you are hydrated from the inside out.
  4. If you persistently develop a rash after swimming or flaky patches consistent with eczema even after doing the above, consult your doctor.

Emu Tracks from Australia produces a range of natural body and hair cleansers that is ideal for all skin types, including babies, infants and elderly. Its Bio-Active Emu Oil is derived naturally from the fat of emu bird which has been part of the aborigines medicinal tradition for centuries.

Bio-Active Emu Oil is known to help moisturise, nourish as it protects skin.

The Emu Tracks Shampoo & Wash for Babies & Infants is a mild ‘no tears’ formulation with natural plant extracts and essential oils like Shea Butter and Lavender to cleanse and moisturise.

Emu Tracks Ultra Mild Shampoo & Conditioner are developed to restore hair vitality while it gently cleanses. Containing the star ingredient, Emu Oil, they are also enriched with natural plant extracts eg. Shea Butter, Rosemary, Lime and Jojoba Oils. When combined, they deliver advanced care for hair resulting in soft, shiny, manageable hair particularly beneficial for those with sensitive scalp.

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