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Protecting your child's hair at the swimming pool

Hair By Renee Wesonga
Photo; Courtesy

Previously, we have looked at how we can protect your hair from the chemicals in the swimming pool and the salt in the ocean.

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Your child’s hair needs protection too even though it hasn’t gone through any chemical processes.

Chlorine and salt (found in ocean water) both strip away hair’s natural oils, leaving it dry due to exposure to damaging chemicals and loss of moisture.

If your child swims a lot, her hair will lose oils and become very vulnerable to damage.

Chlorine sucks out the sebum (a natural lubricant) in the hair leaving it dry and frizzy. Over time, the hair shaft is weakened, making it prone to breaking.

Here are a few precautionary steps that will help keep your child’s hair protected while she has fun:

• Get her a swimming cap. In some pools, swimming caps are compulsory for hygiene reasons but protecting the hair is paramount.

• Wet your child’s hair before she goes swimming. This saturates it, and makes it harder for it to absorb the chlorinated water.

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Always ensure your child’s hair is rinsed after she leaves the pool to get rid of any lingering pool chemicals.

• Sealing your child’s hair with conditioner will also create a barrier on the hair. Apply the conditioner before the child jumps into the pool.

A water-soluble conditioner is the best. Rinse the hair and then apply moisturizer and the child is ready to swim.

• Spray a leave-in conditioner on the hair before and after swimming. This will add protein and strengthen the hair and protect it from the sun.

Coconut oil is also a form of pre-treating. Coconut oil protects your child’s hair as she swims.

• Always wash hair after swimming. Chlorine-removal products and other pool chemicals that remove chlorine from the hair are available in stores. If you can, get them and always use them. They will leave the hair feeling softer, fuller and healthier.

• There are also some products right in your kitchen that you can use to control chlorine damage.

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Apple cider vinegar is  good for removing pool chemicals from hair. A mixture of one part apple cider vinegar and four parts water applied to the hair will be of great help.

You can also apply tomato paste to the hair. Use as much as needed depending on the length and thickness of your child’s hair. Comb through hair, then leave for half an hour. Rinse out then wash with shampoo and condition as usual.

A baking soda solution — one tablespoon baking soda in one cup of water — lathered through hair will also be of great help. Shampoo and condition the hair after application.

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