Swimming is one of the healthiest forms of activities that humans can participate in. Not only does water activity strengthen your heart and immune system, swimmers are also able to build muscle and increase their aerobic capacity. While swimmer's body's reap many benefits, it is important to take care of hair and skin, as repeated exposure to chlorine can cause short-term damage.
Chlorine is a substance used to disinfect the water in which we swim, and is also known as a bleaching agent. Chlorine can help protect us from infections and illness; however, our hair can be damaged from repeated chlorine exposure. People with blond hair are known to have their hair turn a greenish color if swimming in chlorine for extended periods of time. But blonds aren't the only ones to suffer. Other darker colored hairs are known to become dull and dried out, losing any "gleam" that it may contain. Chlorine exposure can also create split ends and leave hair feeling brittle by drying out hair follicles.
Skin is the largest organ on the human body, and therefore is the most vulnerable. Chlorine can effect the skin in many different ways, the most common is by creating a rash or itch from overexposure. Chlorine can also dry out the skin and scalp, and remove moisture and proteins found in the skin. Swimmers that are more sensitive to any irritants should take proper caution when swimming, by limiting their time in the water and moisturizing after their swim. Finally, chlorine can cause skin to crack and age prematurely, or make one susceptible to other skin conditions, including eczema.
Because swimmers are exposed to some form of chlorine does not mean that you cannot combat hair and skin issues while swimming. Many treatments or alternative places to swim can help you lesson your chance of developing skin and hair problems. Saltwater swimming is softer on your skin, as it produces its own natural form of chlorine. If you enjoy swimming in chlorinated pools, there are treatments available for hair and skin that minimize irritation and damage. Swimmers can buy lotions that can help keep skin moist, and not become damaged by the chlorine. Hair care products, are also available to help keep hair looking healthy and minimize split ends. Remember if you are concerned about chlorine and the effects it has on your body, it is important to talk to a medical professional.