Chlorine is a naturally occurring element on our planet. Capable of disinfecting water, Chlorine is widely used in our daily lives. Chlorine is found in tap water, cleaning products (i.e. bleach), pesticides, synthetic rubbers and, of course, the pools that we swim in. Now, chlorine performs the important job of killing harmful bacteria and stopping the spread of germs in water, but what side effects come with using this chemical?
Side Effects of Chlorine Use
The most common side effects of chlorine–experienced often by swimmers–are eye and skin irritation. How much time is spent in the water and the levels of chlorine determine the severity of this irritation.
Chlorine can also be harmful to a swimmer’s hair as it can strip the hair of its natural oils, resulting in dryness, brittleness or fading.
Protecting Yourself from Chlorine
Luckily for us, there are many steps we can take to minimize the effects chlorine has on our bodies.
- Wear a Swim Cap and Goggles: This protective gear can be very effective at protecting your hair and eyes from any harsh chemicals in the pool, preventing eye irritation or drying out of the hair.
- Pre-Soak Hair: Our hair is only capable of absorbing so much water. Pre-soaking your hair in fresh water saturates it with chlorine-free water, impeding the absorption of chlorinated water upon entering the pool.
- Shower Immediately after Exiting the Pool: Showering immediately after exiting the pool helps to remove any remaining chlorine still lingering on the skin.
- Make Not to Ingest Water in the Pool: Getting thirsty? Make sure to NEVER ingest pool water. Occasionally, this may happen by accident but it is best avoided. Chlorine water can lead to stomach aches if consumed in high enough quantities.