Q:

How does salt water affect your skin and hair differently than a chlorine pool?

A:

Quick Answer

Salt water is often easier on hair and skin than chlorinated water because it is not a chemically treated water. Salt water can leave skin and hair feeling soft and rejuvenated, but parasites in the water can also leave one with something called a swimmer's itch.

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Full Answer

Swimmer's itch is usually a temporary condition caused by parasites in salt water that cannot live in cholrinated water. Not everyone gets swimmer's itch automatically when swimming in salt water. Aside from the possibility of getting swimmer's itch, salt water is less harsh on your hair and skin than chlorinated water. Chlorinated water can leave skin feeling dry and itchy, which is more closely related to a chemical reaction than an allergic reaction.

Chlorine also strips away a protective layer in the hair shaft called sebum. The chemical can cause discoloration of hair, especially for those who have color-treated hair, and it can create split ends. Although chlorine is damaging to the hair, research shows that it is unlikely to make hair fall out completely. Because chlorine is tough on skin, those with pre-existing skin conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis, are more prone to skin irritation caused by the chlorine used in swimming pools.

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