Friday, April 25, 2014

Preventing Swimmer's Hair

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This wise saying definitely applies to swimmers and their hair! Regular exposure to the harsh chemicals in swimming pools is harmful to hair. Chemicals strip hair cuticle which can leave hair so dry and brittle it will actually break! Hair can become brittle, bleached, faded, and may even turn green.

Swimmer’s hair can be prevented by protecting hair from chemicals. The most obvious way to keep hair healthy is to wear a swim cap at all times when in the water. The cap serves as a barrier between hair and chemicals. Some teams require all swimmers to wear caps during practice as well as meets. Although swim caps are the first line of defense, their primary function is not to protect hair. (They are actually designed to reduce drag by allowing water to flow over the smooth surface of the cap.)

There are steps swimmers can take to protect their hair whether or not they wear a cap in the pool.

Mix a tablespoon of a leave-in conditioner such as Ion Swimmer's Leave-in Conditioner into a spray bottle with a pint of fresh water from the tap. Spray hair until it is saturated before putting on a swim cap. If the mixture isn’t available, just rinsing hair with fresh water before entering the pool will help keep chlorine and other chemicals from seeping in. The key is NOT to enter the pool with dry hair!

Swimmers should shampoo their hair as soon as possible to remove any chlorine. (Just rinsing hair with fresh water is better than leaving hair wet from pool water.) Wash hair with a shampoo developed for swimmer's such as Ion Swimmer's Shampoo and finish with a rinse-out conditioner like Ion Swimmer's Conditioner. Patting hair dry with a towel rather than rubbing prevents breakage. Use a wide tooth comb for combing out wet hair. Avoiding the heat from a blow dryer is one more way to keep swimmers’ hair healthy.

With a little prevention and after-care, swimmers can look as good on dry land as they do in the pool!


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