There's nothing better than the pool in summer, but chlorine can wreak havoc on your skin and hair! Make sure you know how to protect yourself.

If you've been burning calories in the pool this summer, you've probably noticed a few unintended side effects. Sure, swimming is a great way to cool off and stay in shape in the hot months. It's fun, relaxing, and low-impact. But the chlorine used to keep harmful bacteria out of the water can also strip the natural protective oils from your skin and hair, giving you dry skin and brittle hair. So how do you get your summer workout in without destroying your skin and hair?

Protecting Your Hair Before You Swim

Dry hair will soak up chlorine directly; wet hair slows this absorption. Before swimming, wet your hair and add an oil or silicone-based hair product, like coconut oil or conditioner. This will help act as a barrier to prevent the chlorine from soaking into your hair. It's not recommended to use any sort of barrier products on your skin before swimming. They won't do much to protect you, and they can affect the pool's chemistry. Also, consider wearing a swim cap. They may not be fashionable, but they're 99 percent effective at protecting your hair from chlorine damage.

Treating Hair After Swimming

Believe it or not, it's not actually chlorine that turns your hair green after swimming. It's actually copper! Oxidized metals in the water attach to the proteins in the hair shaft and deposit a color. To prevent green hair, you need to wash the chlorine out of your hair right after exposure. Use a regular shampoo or a swimmer's shampoo specifically designed to remove metals from your hair. A good DIY alternative is to use apple cider vinegar; mix one part vinegar with two parts water and pour it over freshly shampooed hair.

Prevent Dry and Irritated Skin

Because chlorine strips your skin of its natural oils, you'll want to take care of your skin to prevent dryness and, for those with sensitive skin, rashes. Immediately after swimming, get straight into the shower and rinse the chemicals off your skin with soap and water. If your skin is extra sensitive, you can also get a swimmer-specific body wash that will neutralize the chlorine. When you use moisturizer after the shower, make sure you have a product that is high in antioxidants, like vitamins E and C. These will also help neutralize the chlorine on your skin.

Consider an Alternative to Chlorine

Obviously this is only really an option if you are the one in control of the chemicals going into the pool. Some people are more sensitive to chlorine than others. If you don't want to deal with the effects of chlorine, consider using a mineral chlorinator instead. A mineral disinfectant reduces chlorine by 50 percent and eliminates the need for chemicals like sodium bromide, phosphate removers, and clarifiers. No algae, less chemicals, and clean healthy pool water! These natural disinfectants also contain natural de-scalers that help extend the life of your pool equipment. What do you do to help protect your skin from chlorine? Tell us your tricks in the comments below!

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