Green hair, dry skin, and a sunburn are some of the many unwanted side-effects you may be battling against while spending lots of time in the pool. Swimming, while known to be one of the best exercises you can do (see the benefits here), does not come without its environment taking a toll on your body. Below are some hints and tips to protect your natural beauty while beating the heat and staying fit not only this summer, but throughout the year.
Chlorine can wreak havoc on your hair due to the chemical oxidation of metals like copper and iron. To keep your hair from absorbing these metals there are a few preventive measures you can take:
- First, you can wet your hair with water. (This is always a good idea no matter how long you intend on swimming.) Soaking it thoroughly will prevent your hair from soaking up chemicals.
- Second, add a moisture rich oil such as olive or coconut oil to your hair before swimming. This will prevent your hair from soaking up as much chlorine, lessening the drying effects, and also prevent your lovely locks from turning that steely green.
- Third, run a moisture-rich conditioner through your hair before swimming. This also acts as a shield for the cuticles of your hair.
- Fourth, if you are a serious swimmer, or intend to become one, consider purchasing a swim cap. Not only do swim caps cut down on drag, they can also be an extra precaution against the effects of chlorine-- especially for color-treated locks.
- There are many varieties of shampoos that can remove chlorine and any metallic residue from you hair to prevent the green tint. We recommend this shampoo and conditioner.
- Another way to strip the damaging chemicals from your hair is to rinse your hair with apple cider vinegar.
- Using a restorative oil treatment to replace lost moisture can help maintain your hair's luxurious shine and can also be great way to get a little pampering, too. We like this hair mask from Pure or you can check out our post on adding natural oils to your hair.
- Be sure to apply sunscreen before going into the sun to prevent types of skin cancer and premature signs of aging. We recommend this organic sunscreen by Aubrey Organics.
- Showering before you jump into the pool benefits not only your hair, but also positively hydrates your outer-most layer of skin and mitigating chlorine's drying effects on your skin.
- Drink lots of water. The Institute of Medicine has stated that men should drink 13 cups (3 liters) and women should drink 9 cups (2.2 liters) of water each day.(1) Evidence has shown that "Under-hydrated, chafed skin is more vulnerable to damage from sun exposure". (2)
- Lemon juice is also a natural way to remove the chlorine smell from your skin.
For a post-pool skin routine, use a natural body wash and exfoliant, followed by a moisturizer or a rich lotion such as Lavanila.
To protect your eyes-- not to mention the sensitive skin around your eyes-- from the sun, wear polarized sunglasses whenever possible. If you are a serious swimmer and much of your pool time is spent in the sun, consider purchasing a pair of polarized goggles.
For further information about polarized sunglasses see our post on Merging Sunglass Style with Practicality.
Swimsuit care: Be sure to also wet your swimsuit before entering the pool and then rinse it after you swim. This is a simple way to preserve the elasticity of the lycra and prolong the life of your swimsuit!
Photo credits: Kirsten H., Maria Johnson