|That's me in the middle, nervously waiting for the start of the swim|
One year on I should be older and wiser, but I'm pleased to report I'm doing it all over again and this time I mean business with a target of under 45 minutes. It's only February but I am already squeezing in 4 training sessions a week exposing myself to chlorine damage. It would be wise to protect my hair with one of the many adult swim caps available on the market but last year I resisted until the day of the swim when it was compulsory.
Chlorine is used in swimming pools as a disinfectant, however it removes the natural protective oils of the hair and scalp causing a severe drying effect. If the hair is not rinsed post swim and the chlorine is left to dry the hair becomes brittle and prone to breaks as well as splitting.
This year I will be 47, so as you can imagine my hair is already suffering dehydration from the natural ageing process! That being the case I thought I had better research some preventative measures to combat chlorine damage.
If you are against swim caps, read on:
Always soak your hair in the shower before getting into the pool. If your hair has already absorbed lots of fresh water there will be little room left in the hair shaft for chemicals.
Don't allow chlorinated hair to dry without washing, since this increases the chances of drying and breakage. Wash your hair with a shampoo that is specially formulated to dissolve chlorine (look for sodium thiosulfate in the ingredients).
Condition hair after every wash and alternate a regular conditioner with a deep-conditioning treatment once a week to keep hair moisturised. There are many different products available including Circle of Friends pre-swim conditioner and swimmer's shampoo for children. The Paul Mitchell range includes Shampoo Three which removes chlorine and Philip Kingsley have a product called Swimcap which can be applied to the hair before swimming.
If you are a regular swimmer please leave us a comment about your favourite swim caps, shampoos, conditioners and other hair and skincare tips.