1. Before you Swim
- Wet hair before diving in: Somehow, getting your hair wet before a swim reduces the rate your hair will absorb chlorine.
- Coat your hair with conditioner: If you can smooth on a light film of protective conditioner over your hair before you swim, this will further inhibit chlorine absorption.
- Dab some olive oil onto hair: This has a similar effect as conditioner, but you don't need as much, so it will be a bit cheaper.
- Moisturize before you swim: Because chlorine is so drying, starting out with a good layer of moisturizer can give your skin a head start.
- Choose a moisturizing sunblock for sensitive skin: When you slather on sunscreen to protect your skin from UV rays and sunburn, you also help protect it from chlorine.
- Paint on some nail hardener and finish with a top coat. The best way to protect fingernails and toenails from the harsh drying effects of chlorine is to paint on a coat of nail hardener and then a top coat (to seal in the moisturizing agents of the nail hardener) before you swim.
- Take a biotin supplement…or eat more eggs: Biotin is part of the B vitamin family—specifically, B7. It’s also found in eggs and fish, poultry and milk, whole grains and legumes. Biotin can help keep nails and hair healthy.
- Limit underwater time: It’s possible to enjoy the pool without being fully submerged. If you swim for exercise, mix up your strokes and use a paddle board so your eyes can get some relief.
- Apply eye drops before you swim: If you have moisturizing drops, this can help insulate your eyes from full exposure to chlorine.
2. After you swim
- Wash your hair in club soda: Club soda's carbonation naturally removes impurities as it rinses away excess chlorine.
- Do an apple cider vinegar rinse: Vinegar has a natural acidity that can achieve a similar effect to club soda.
- Crush up some aspirin or rinse with tomato juice: Crushing up a handful of aspirin in water and mixing it into a paste or doing a tomato juice rinse can remove the greenish tint that so often happens with color treated hair that has been exposed to chlorine.
- Whip up some eggs: Whisk one or two raw eggs (yolks and whites) and work into wet hair. Let it remain for about 15 minutes, then rinse out with cool water.
- Make a hot mayonnaise treatment: Heat a cup of mayo in the microwave for 30 seconds, apply, and leave in for 10-15 minutes, then rinse out.
- Moisturize with olive or coconut oil: These natural oils will restore moisture balance to counter the drying effects of chlorine.
- Rinse off immediately after exiting the pool: The quicker you rinse, the less time chlorine will have to continue to affect your skin.
- Moisturize with olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, or another oil you like: Your skin will need moisture, moisture, and more moisture to combat the drying effects of chlorine.
- Smooth on a lanolin-based moisturizer for hands and feet: Lanolin comes from sheep's wool, and it has long been a favorite of dermatologists for treating irritated, extremely dry, or cracked skin and nails. You can apply a thick coat of lanolin moisturizer to hands and feet, then pull on gloves and socks and let skin and nails soak it in overnight.
- No rubbing: Even if your eyes are very itchy or dry and irritated, do your best to refrain from rubbing on them.
- Use a cold compress: Soaking a very soft cloth in cool water can ease the irritation and redness chlorine often causes.
- Use your eye drops after you swim as well as before: Your eyes will need moisture and restoration after you swim, so don't stint on the eye drops.
- Flush with a saline solution: You can also find some relief by flushing your eyes with a saline solution (check with your ophthalmologist for recommendations).