Chlorine 101: How To Protect Your Hair From Chlorine Damage

As you probably all know, Christchurch has been chlorinated. Our water supply is now being treated with chlorine, which can wreak havoc on your hair and skin.

Chlorine is incredibly effective at killing harmful bacteria in our water (such as E.Coli), but unfortunately it does not discriminate – it also destroys the good microbial flora that live on the surface of our skin, and depletes Vitamin E levels. This can aggravate or cause skin conditions such as eczema, rashes and acne.

It is a particularly drying chemical that strips the skin and hair of the sebum and essential fatty acid layer that protects it. This layer, when intact, helps nourish the hair and skin, and allows them to retain moisture. If this protective layer is damaged it can cause the hair to become dry, lacklustre and brittle, and dullness and flakiness of the skin. It can also flare up problems like psoriasis and cause the skin to overproduce oil resulting in acne.

Chlorine exposure creates free radicals, which cause oxidative stress to the body. This oxidative stress, combined with the drying nature of chlorine, means that regular chlorine exposure can speed up and worsen the effects of skin aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles.

You may find that your hair colour doesn’t retain its vibrancy for long, and that is losing its shine. Not only does chlorine strip colour from the hair shaft, it can build up inside the cuticle of the hair, causing breakage and a dull appearance. When hair with a build up of chlorine is coloured, the combination of chemicals can cause a chemical reaction, often with unpredictable results.

Don’t panic though – there are steps you can take to reduce the impact that chlorine has on your skin and hair.

Shower Filters – All of our basins at Hair Art & Beauty are equipped with Ecoheads, which filter out unwanted minerals in the water. We highly recommend purchasing a filtered head for your shower to minimise the amount of chlorine you are exposed to – these can be found at most hardware shops (like Mitre 10 or Bunnings).

In-Salon Treatments – Having regular facials can help increase the amount of moisture your skin can retain (especially if combined with an add-on like sonophoresis) and will help to remove some of the dead skin cells that are clinging onto the surface due to dehydration.

At Hair Art & Beauty we offer Crystal Gel treatments that remove chlorine build up from the hair. This Vitamin C based treatment will leave your hair softer, shinier and healthier, while removing the risk of chemical reaction and provide the perfect canvas for colour. We especially recommend this service to our blonde clients, or anyone who has a very strong chlorine smell or taste to their water.

Home-Care – Use a gentle clarifying shampoo such as La Biosthetique Soleil Shampoo once a week to help prevent build up, or for a more intensive treatment take home one of our Malibu clarifying sachets. A conditioning mask such as Mask Dry Hair or Glam Color tinted conditioning treatments will help with dryness and colour fading.

Using the correct skincare products for your skin is even more important now our water is chlorinated, and our beauty therapists can help prescribe a skincare routine to help rebuild that natural protective lipid layer. Studies have shown that Vitamin C is able to reduce the harmful effects of chlorine as it is a powerful antioxidant, so Ultraceuticals C10 serum or C23+ lotion are a great addition to an existing skincare routine – combine this with a product containing Vitamin E (such as the Ultra Protective Daily Moisturiser range) to make the ultimate power couple for protection against chlorine.

Finally, ensure you are getting enough essential fatty acids in your diet. Flaxseed oil, evening primrose oil, and selenium (found in brazil nuts) are all excellent sources.

If you have any questions about how Christchurch’s chlorination has affected your hair or skin, feel free to book a complimentary consultation with one of our stylists or beauty therapists.

Tags: Beauty Tips