Chlorine can take toll on hair and skin - but it doesn't have to; the doctor explains

We know kids leap into the pool without much care, but for some of us, do you worry what is that chlorinated pool water going to do to my skin or my hair?

When you get out of the pool you're skin is probably pruney, but if you notice your hair or skin tends to feel more dry after swimming at the pool, chlorine from the water is likely to blame.

Doctor Jennifer Lucas, who is a dermatologist with Cleveland Clinic, explains.

"Chlorine is a great product for your pool because it helps disinfect it, right? so it keeps bacterial counts down, it keeps it looking, you know, clear and better for when you swim in it, and keeping it more sanitary.

"The problem is that it's also very drying, and so the biggest thing with your hair and your skin, is that they're going to get dried out from going into the pool."

Doctor Lucas says that dryness can also cause irritant contact dermatitis, which is a type of rash on the skin.

As for your hair, chlorine can strip it of natural oils, making it more brittle. The same goes for your nails and eyes, too.

So, what can you do to help with these kinds of issues? Doctor Lucas suggests getting your hair and skin wet before going in the
water, that way they won’t absorb as much of the chlorine.

You could also use a protective hair mask, which is like a leave-in conditioner. Swimming caps and goggles are another option.

Finally, when you’re done, it’s important to take a shower right away.

"All that chlorine is on you, you don't want it to sit and continue to cause irritation. so you want to get in, take a shower, use a gentler cleanser to get that pool water off of you. and then moisturizing is really important.

"So all of that oil you’ve just stripped off your skin, you want to put it back on. So, especially with products that have ceramides in them or alpha hydroxy acids, these are good products to put back on your skin to minimize the irritation and dryness."

A couple of final thoughts on this - you'll want to rinse that pool water off because one in five American adults admits to peeing in the pool.

And don’t forget to apply plenty of sunscreen before you go swimming.

Doctor Lucas says not only will that protect your skin from the sun, but it can help keep it moisturized and act as a barrier against chlorine.