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Tips on Hair and Skin Care for Swimmers

Urvashi Pokharna
Swimming definitely tones your body but the chemicals in the pool can play havoc on your hair and skin, making them look dull and lifeless. Here are some tips to help you prevent damage to your skin and hair caused by swimming.
More often than not, we tend to suffer from dry skin and damaged hair after a couple of swimming sessions. But, if the right care is taken before and after swimming, you can maintain your beauty. No more do you have to restrain yourself from jumping into the pool on a hot summer day or reduce your swimming time.

Before Swimming

➦ Hair Oil: To prevent the greenish tinge in your hair due to copper oxidation by chlorine, invest in a bottle of coconut oil or olive oil. It will hydrate your hair cuticle with a protective layer of moisture that seals them and prevents the chlorine and boric acid from leaving a green tone to your blonde or colored hair.
➦ Soaking Your Hair: Always have a shower before you enter the pool, it instantly hydrates the topmost layer of your skin. Wet your hair too. This prevents them from soaking up the chemicals present in the water as dry hair is more susceptible to chemical damage.
➦ Special Lotions: If you have chlorine-sensitive skin that is prone to rashes after swimming, use a chlorine-neutralizing lotion before you take a dip in the pool.
➦ Massage your skin with a cream for dry and damaged skin. Repeat this after you take shower post swimming.

While Swimming

➦ Re-Apply Sunblock: The salt content and chlorine in the beach or pool water is a major factor contributing to your sunburn. The above two factors also contribute to a pigmentation, chapped and flaky skin situation. No, you don't have to stop swimming. Take a two-minute break from the pool and apply a heavy sunblock every half an hour to protect your skin from sun damage.
➦ Stay Hydrated:Carry a bottle of water and keep sipping on it. You can also drink non-alcoholic summer coolers to keep yourself cool and hydrated.
➦ Swimming Cap: Always wear a well-fitting swimming cap. It will prevent your hair and scalp from coming in contact with the chlorinated water.

After Swimming

➦ Washing Your Hair: Always wash your hair with an EDTA-containing clarifying shampoo to ensure that no chemical residue is left behind in your hair after you come out of the pool.
➦ Vinegar: Add apple cider vinegar to the last rinse of your hair. It is a natural remedy to remove product residue in your hair that makes hair look flat.
➦ Conditioning: Do not forget to apply a conditioner. A hair mousse or leave-in conditioner is also a good option if you are pressed for time.

More Post-Swimming Care

➦ Supplement your diet with a multivitamin tablet and an omega-3 capsule.
➦ Frizzy hair is a common problem among swimmers. Use styling products that are silicone-based with a volumizing shampoo. A hot oil treatment every night is also a good option for hair care for swimmers.
➦ Use an exfoliating face wash and bath gel.
➦ Regularly apply cucumber juice to sunburnt skin and leave it overnight. It helps reduce sun damage already done to the skin.
➦ Weekly, apply mayonnaise evenly throughout your hair, covering the ends as well. It provides intense hydration to your hair and will get rid of the problem of 'swimmer's hair'.
➦ Mix honey and yogurt together and leave it on your face for 20 minutes for a cooling and exfoliating face mask. It also moisturizes the skin. You may add oatmeal to this paste.
➦ Finish your bath with a heavy-duty moisturizer and body lotion or oil.
➦ Add a few capsules of Vitamin A and E to your night cream.
➦ Don't wear tight and synthetic clothing after a swim.
➦ Scrub yourself every alternate day. Mix salt and brown sugar in olive oil, scrub vigorously. Alternatively, you can also use baking soda for the same.
Immediately take a shower unfailingly after you come out of the pool. It will help keep your skin clean and chlorine-free. Also, you should regularly wear swimming goggles to protect your eyes from drying as well. You can apply cooling eye drops later. There are brands selling swim care shampoos for kids.
You can try one of those too. They are formulated to gently wash out the chlorine from your hair, prevent brittleness and get rid of sticky hair after swimming. If you don't swim in a pool, you must know that there are several chemicals and industrial wastes dumped into the sea that affect the quality of water at the beach too.