Long pool days mean more wear and tear on your skin, hair. Easy tips to protect yourself

Denise Dador Image
Sunday, June 23, 2024
Dried out after a dip in the pool? Here are tips to protect skin, hair
With long days at the pool, it's important to remember chlorine can damage your skin and hair. Here are some things to keep in mind before your next dip.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Sweltering heat means long days at the swimming pool this summer. For the first time, Los Angeles County public pools will be open six days a week through Halloween.

But with long days at the pool, it's important to remember chlorine can damage your skin and hair. Doctors say there are some simple things you can do to minimize the ripple effects of pool water.

Lazy afternoons in the pool are so refreshing, and the right amount of pool chemicals keep you safe.

"Chlorine is a great product for your pool because it helps disinfect it, right? So, it keeps bacteria counts down, it keeps it looking, you know, clear and better for when you swim in it and keeping it more sanitary," said Cleveland Clinic Dermatologist Jennifer Lucas.

But, Lucas explains chlorine can also leave your skin, hair and eyes feeling parched.

"The biggest thing with your hair and your skin is that they're going to get dried out from going into the pool," she said.

That dryness can lead to irritant contact dermatitis, an itchy type of skin rash.

As for your hair, chlorine can strip it of natural oils, making it more brittle.

It can cause even more damage to bleached or dyed hair, which tends to be more porous.

Chlorine is not the culprit when it comes to turning blonde hair green, but it can lighten hair, making it easier to absorb copper ions commonly used to kill algae in pools.

So, what can you do to help with these kinds of issues?

Lucas says to get your hair and skin wet before going in the water to block the absorption of chlorine. You could also apply a hair mask or leave-in conditioner.

Swimming caps are another option. Goggles can help protect your eyes.

Finally, when you're done, it's important to take a shower right away.

"And then moisturizing is really important. So all of that oil you've just stripped off your skin, you want to put it back on. So, especially with products that have ceramides in them or alpha-hydroxy acids, these are good products to put back on your skin to minimize the irritation and the dryness," Lucas said.

And don't forget to apply plenty of sunscreen before you go swimming.

Dr. Lucas says not only will that protect your skin from the sun, but it can help keep it moisturized and act as a barrier against the chlorine.