The Effects of Chlorine on Your Hair

It rarely occurs to us that our shower water is wreaking havoc on our hair. That hot, refreshing, shower is supposed to be cleansing, even relaxing…yet chances are that the water we use to shower is inundating us with, among other toxins, chlorine. This chlorine in our shower water is the prime cause of frizzy, dried out, lusterless hair. Chlorine even dries out the scalp, leading to unsightly dandruff.

side effects of chlorineMost municipalities today add chlorine to the tap water supply in an effort to disinfect our water, to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. In large measure, this is done because much of the water we use today is actually treated and recycled sewer water. As well, bacteria may be growing in the water distribution system, including water mains, and even the tap at your kitchen sink. Chlorine is added to eliminate these bacteria from the water supply.

When we shower, obviously we’re using the same water that we use for cooking and drinking, and washing clothes. This tap water, therefore, contains chlorine. Though effective in killing bacteria, chlorine is, because of its poisonous nature, harmful to our bodies which obviously includes our hair. Chlorine vaporizes faster than water so when we see steam in the shower, we are actually being enveloped by a harmful chlorine gas.

Our hair is especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of this chlorine gas. Each of our hair strands is composed of a cuticle surrounding and protecting a cortex. A natural lubricant called sebum protects and moistens hair cuticles, giving the delicate cortex an added layer of protection. The chlorine in our shower water, especially in its more concentrated, vaporized form, actually draws the lubricating sebum from the hair follicles, leaving it dry and lifeless.

Actually, “left lifeless” may not be quite the correct term because hair is already lifeless. Hair strands are actually dead cells from the body. Thus these lifeless cells, when damaged by chlorine or other chemicals, such as those used in coloring agents, styling agents, and perms, cannot be regenerated, only grown out.

Chlorine is far more damaging to hair that has been colored, permed, or otherwise chemically treated. The ammonia used in many coloring and styling products lifts the hair cuticles, allowing the treatment chemicals to enter the cortex. Thioglycolates used in perms and styling treatments penetrate the cortex and break down the bonds of the cortex that give the hair its shape, thus allowing the hair to be re-shaped. When this already damaged hair is exposed to the chlorine in shower water, the effect is devastating.

There are measures that can be taken to minimize hair damaged from exposure to chlorine:

• wash hair with moisturizing shampoos and conditioners,
• wear a shower cap,
• blow dry hair gently at cool, or medium temperatures,
• and finally, use a wide-tooth comb instead of a brush to untangle wet hair.

All of these measures, however, while helpful, are utilized only after the damage has been done.

Using a shower filter with a Vitamin C cartridge is proven to be the most effective way to minimize, even reverse, as much as possible, the damage done to our hair from the chlorine in the tap water. Our Vitamin C shower filters have been shown to eliminate the chlorine from our water before it leaves the shower head, thus the hair is not subjected to this harmful element. Vitamin C is also an anti-oxidant that will counteract much of the damage already done by not only chlorine, but the chemicals used to color and perm the hair. Also, the acidity of Vitamin C will actually help to prevent the growth of algae and bacteria in our shower heads and tubs.


The use of a Vitamin C shower filter, then, will not only eliminate further chlorine damage to our hair, it will help revitalize the hair, adding luster an body while keeping our tubs and taps bacteria free.

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