What Your Hair will Tell You regarding Chlorine in Your Tap Water
Chlorine is that the most typical disinfectant used by water treatment plants and is frequently used to treat private wells. Chlorinated tap water has low concentrations of chlorine to ensure that your water will disinfect and prevent waterborne diseases once it’s left the treatment plant or your well. This keeps your tap water safe in the pipes on the way to your tap. (We’d be remiss not to note that some disinfection byproducts (or the products of chlorine reacting with other things in your water) are known carcinogens, however, and long term, low-doses of chlorine disinfection byproducts may lead to health impacts in the long term.)
The observe of water chlorination first began in 1908 in Jersey City, New Jersey and became common over the following decades. Along with the use of chlorine, chloramines–a compound of chlorine and ammonia–have also been used to disinfect water. Today, nearly 98% of U.S. water treatment systems use chlorine or chloramines to assist disinfect water.
While the majority don’t notice the effects of chlorine in their drinking water, some people are sensitive even to low levels of chlorinated water. One of the foremost common ways in which folks notice the results of water chlorination is through changes in their hair.
How Does Chlorine Affect My Hair?
While water chlorination has undeniable benefits in terms of making water safe from bacteria, regular exposure to chlorine will cause damage to skin and hair. Just as it is important to put safe water in your body, it is important to put safe water ON your body. Showering with chlorinated water seemingly results in additional chlorine absorption within the body than drinking water treated with chlorine (according to a study viewing the impact of chlorine byproducts on bodily organs within the case of swimming pool exposure). Additionally, warm water opens up your skin pores and hair follicles, leading to greater exposure when you take a hot shower. Chlorine and its byproducts strip away the natural hair and skin oils that protect your body from over drying.
Some symptoms of consistent exposure to chlorinated water include:
Chlorinated water interferes with your scalp’s natural moisturizing method, therefore it will dry out your hair–making it brittle.
Ineffective Hair Dye
Chlorinated water will impact the effectiveness of your hair dye, because it expedites fading.
Chlorinated water will increase the amount of dandruff you have got as a result of it dries out your scalp, leading to increased skin particle flaking.
Hair tends to be more fragile when it’s dry, so chlorinated water can both cause and accelerate hair loss.
What Can I Do to Reduce the Impact of Chlorine?
Along with reduced shower times and cooler water temperatures–which have the added benefits of conserving water and energy–the best way to limit the impact of chlorine and chloramines in your shower is to use a filter. The three most common types of filters include:
Carbon shower filters are the most foremost form of filters, as they’re comparatively cheap. They work via activated carbon, which absorbs contaminants and impurities. Often used on kitchen taps or water pitchers, carbon filters are great for cold or room-temperature water. However, as a result of carbon filters are affected by heat, they’re usually ineffective at purifying shower water. Once the water passing through the filter reaches a certain temperature, it negates the activated carbon within–rendering the filter effectively useless.
Kinetic Degradation Fluxion Filters
KDF filters use equal parts copper and zinc, which when pressed together create a little electrical charge.
This results in a redox reaction (oxidation/reduction)–a process where electrons in the chlorine are exchanged with the filter’s metals, converting it into harmless components. While effective at eliminating chlorine, KDF filters are unable to filter out chloramines.
Vitamin C Filters:
While not the most popular choice, Vitamin C filters are arguably the simplest option–even having been promoted by the U.S Department of Agriculture. The filter uses a tube of pure Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) that neutralizes the chlorine and/or chloramines. Although they’re typically the foremost effective shower filters, they conjointly tend to be the foremost pricey and the ascorbic acid tubes need to be often replaced.
The bottom line is that chlorinated water has evident benefits in drinking water, whereas at the same time, it may have undesirable effects on your skin and hair. As avoiding showering is maybe not a possibility, the best way to lessen the impacts of chlorine is to cut down on hot showers and use a filter (which, beyond your hair and skin health, may additionally facilitate reduce exposure to disinfection byproducts).