When I was younger, every time I heard the term saltwater, I’d immediately think of ocean water. Besides swimming in the ocean’s salty water, there are saltwater pools that – as the name suggests – contain salty water. They aren’t incredibly common, but they serve as an alternative to chlorinated pools. So, is a saltwater pool good for your hair?
We know that constant exposure to chlorinated water can leave your hair with chlorine damage.
So are these saltwater pools a good alternative?
A saltwater pool refers to a swimming pool that uses salt chlorine generators to sanitize its pool water.
Salt is used in complex reactions to create chlorine.
There is a difference between saltwater pools and ocean water pools.
Ocean water pools have ocean water in the swimming pools, and they are mostly available near the ocean water.
Saltwater pools, however, are slightly different in that you add 3000ppm (per million range) of actual salt in your pool water.
This type of concentration is considerably low and is undetectable by the human taste buds and cannot leave any noticeable traces on the skin or the hair.
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Saltwater Pool Conversion (Pros And Cons)
Saltwater pools have their advantages and disadvantages.
Before we get to that, let’s quickly go through how it all happens.
You are probably wondering how salt changes and becomes chlorine.
The process is quite simple and not as complicated as you might think.
Well, there are a couple of reactions that take place to produce chlorine in a saltwater pool.
To create salt pools, you initially add salt to the pool water in the presence of a salt-chlorine generator.
The saltwater from the pool passes through the generator, and a process known as electrolysis leads to the formation of hypochlorous acid and hydrogen.
The solution created replaces the chlorine tablets you have always known to sanitize swimming pools.
So in reality, a saltwater pool is not chlorine-free.
Advantages Of Converting To Saltwater Pools
Some of the advantages of using saltwater pools include the following:
Maintaining saltwater pools is easier compared to chlorinated pools.
The salt added into pools regularly undergoes a chemical process to produce chlorine as opposed to traditional pools where you have to consistently add chlorine tablets to the water to make sure it is well disinfected.
The routine task of adding chlorine granules into a pool is taken off your hands.
However, you have to keep checking the pool’s alkalinity on a regular basis.
Milder On Skin And Hair
Although saltwater pools also contain chlorine, the water is milder on your skin and hair.
This is not the case when it comes to chlorinated pools which have a considerable amount of chlorine that is harsh to the hair and skin.
You are probably thinking that the salt present in the water makes it taste salty.
Well, the saltwater is relatively similar to the liquid you use to clean contact lenses (or even similar to your tears).
Opening your eyes in the pool, therefore, does not sting as much as it would have in traditional pools.
The chemicals used in saltwater pools are way more affordable than chlorine tablets and granules.
Salt does not evaporate as fast as chlorine does.
Hence, one input is guaranteed to take you a long way.
The hypochlorous acid and hydrogen produced during electrolysis, forming a solution, does not smell as strongly as chlorine does. It’s milder on your nose.
Swimming in a pool that does not make you feel like you are drowning in chlorine would be an enjoyable experience.
Disadvantages Of Saltwater Pools
The following are some of the disadvantages of using saltwater pools:
Converting a traditional chlorine water pool into a saltwater pool can be a hassle.
Pricing is something we’d all like to consider.
The initial cost is relatively high compared to installing a chlorinated swimming pool for the first time.
The salt chlorine generators can cost you about 2,000 bucks.
This initial expense is the major disadvantage of the saltwater pool.
On the upside, you won’t have recurring costs that are involved when you have a traditional chlorinated pool where you have to keep buying chlorine tablets.
As we all know, salt is a corrosive substance.
If the amount of salt is above the normal range and goes above 5,500ppm, there is a high chance that it can corrode the system.
Now, if this is the case, then replacing the metal in your saltwater pool is likely to be done more often.
If you find yourself replacing your pool’s metal equipment more often, please consider reducing the amount of salt used in the salt chlorine generator.
This will greatly reduce your overall operating costs.
Salinity, pH, And Alkalinity Levels
To keep a saltwater pool healthy, you need to balance three things: saltiness, how acidic or basic it is (pH), and alkalinity.
These factors play a crucial role in ensuring that the pool water remains safe and suitable for swimming.
Salinity is how much salt is in the water.
Maintaining the right salinity levels ensures that the water feels comfortable and allows for proper sanitation.
pH shows if it’s more acidic (sour) or basic (bitter).
pH is measured on a scale from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral.
It’s good to keep pH between 7.2 and 7.8 to prevent problems.
If the pH is too low (acidic), it can cause skin and eye irritation, while a high pH (alkaline) can lead to cloudy water and reduce the effectiveness of chlorine.
Alkalinity helps keep pH stable and should be around 80 to 120 parts per million.
You can use special kits to test the water regularly and add chemicals if needed to keep everything balanced.
Is A Salt Water Pool Good For Your Hair?
Sometimes you want to go out and swim without having to put on a swim cap.
However, the thought of chlorine getting in contact with your hair makes you cringe.
You quickly rethink your idea.
Chlorine getting in contact with your hair can make it appear sticky when wet and straw-like when dry.
When your hair suffers from chlorine damage, there is a build-up of chlorine on the hair follicle.
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This can lead to stunted hair growth since chlorine blocks the pores of the scalp.
When it comes to saltwater pools, the situation is a little different.
With these pools, the water actually benefits your hair in some ways – such as offering some degreasing assistance.
Salt Water For Greasy Hair
Do you have greasy hair that is just difficult to control?
Saltwater helps you in controlling the oil levels in your hair.
The minerals present in the saltwater break down the oils present in your hair and help to keep the amount of oil balanced.
Saltwater practically acts like your very own natural shampoo.
Your greasy, irritated scalp also gets some soothing effects.
So, the next time you go for a swim in a saltwater pool, think of it as killing two birds with one stone.
As much as saltwater has benefits for your hair, excessive exposure might not be too good for your hair, especially when your hair is naturally dry.
When you have dry hair, the degreasing factor of saltwater will make your hair drier.
This will eventually lead to hair breakage, and you do not want that to happen to your locks.
When you expose your dry hair to saltwater for an extended period of time, it may also lead to your hair losing its natural moisture.
Saltwater cannot have the same effects on everyone; thus if you have naturally dry hair, you must control your hair’s exposure to saltwater pools.
Salt Water And Scalp Health
Saltwater can be helpful for scalp health in some cases.
The salt in the water acts as a natural exfoliant, removing dead skin cells and reducing dryness and flakiness.
This exfoliation leaves the scalp feeling refreshed.
If you have scalp conditions, like dandruff or dryness, salt water may provide some relief, but it’s best to consult a dermatologist or hairstylist for personalized advice.
It’s important to note that not everyone’s scalp reacts positively to salt water.
Individuals with sensitive scalps may experience discomfort or irritation when exposed to salt water.
The salt content can be drying and may exacerbate existing scalp sensitivities.
If you have a sensitive scalp, it’s advisable to exercise caution when swimming in saltwater pools or the ocean.
Hair Porosity And Cuticle Health
Salt water can affect the outer layer of your hair called the cuticles, especially if you have high porosity hair.
High porosity hair easily absorbs and loses moisture, which makes it more prone to damage when exposed to salt water.
Salt water can make the cuticles rough and raised, resulting in the loss of moisture and essential oils from the hair.
This can lead to dryness, brittleness, and increased susceptibility to damage.
To protect overly porous hair from salt water, wet your hair with clean water before swimming to reduce how much salt water gets absorbed.
After swimming, rinse your hair thoroughly with fresh water to remove any salt residue.
Use a moisturizing conditioner to restore moisture and keep your hair soft.
Regular deep conditioning treatments can also provide extra hydration and repair any damage caused by saltwater exposure.
Taking these steps can help prevent damage and keep your hair healthy when swimming in salt water.
Salt Water And Dyed Hair
Saltwater pools can be tough on colored hair.
The salt content in the water can strip away the color molecules, causing your hair color to lose its intensity over time.
To protect your hair, wear a swim cap or use a leave-in conditioner before swimming.
These products can help create a protective layer on your hair, shielding it from the damaging effects of salt water.
Rinse your hair thoroughly with fresh water afterward and use color-safe products.
Regular deep conditioning treatments can also help keep your colored hair healthy.
Consulting with a hairstylist for personalized advice is recommended.
Pre-Swim Haircare Routine
To maintain the best possible condition of your hair while swimming in a salt water pool, it is important to take specific precautions before your swim session.
Wear A Swim Cap
Wearing a swim cap can provide a physical barrier between your hair and the salt water, reducing direct contact and minimizing potential damage.
A cap not only shields your hair from the salt water but also offers protection against other pool chemicals, such as chlorine, which can cause dryness and color fading.
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Apply Leave-In Conditioner
Applying a leave-in conditioner to your hair before swimming in a saltwater pool can offer valuable protection.
The conditioner creates a barrier that shields your hair from direct contact with salt water, reducing the drying effects and maintaining moisture.
Leave-in conditioners are designed to hydrate and nourish the hair, retaining moisture and safeguarding against environmental factors like salt water.
Applying them prior to swimming helps to seal in moisture and prevent excessive absorption of salt water, reducing the likelihood of dryness and damage.
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Taking care of your hair after swimming in a saltwater pool is crucial to keep it healthy.
Follow these steps for post-pool hair care:
Rinse Your Hair Thoroughly
The first step is to thoroughly rinse your hair with fresh water after swimming.
Use cool or lukewarm water to avoid opening the hair cuticles excessively.
This rinsing process is vital as it helps eliminate any lingering salt or chlorine residue from your hair, preventing potential damage.
By rinsing with fresh water, you’re giving your hair a clean slate and minimizing the adverse effects of salt and chlorine exposure.
Shampoo Your Hair
Next, wash your hair with a gentle shampoo specifically designed for swimmers.
These shampoos are formulated to effectively remove impurities, such as salt and chlorine, without stripping away the natural oils that keep your hair healthy.
Gently massage the shampoo into your scalp and work it through your hair, ensuring thorough cleansing.
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Condition Your Hair
Conditioning your hair is an essential step in post-pool hair care.
After shampooing, apply a generous amount of moisturizing conditioner to replenish lost moisture.
By conditioning your hair after swimming in a salt water pool, you’re giving it the hydration and nourishment it needs to recover from the drying effects of the salt water.
Deep Conditioning Treatments
Deep conditioners provide intense hydration and nourishment to replenish moisture and repair any damage caused by salt water.
Deep conditioning treatments are formulated with concentrated ingredients that penetrate the hair shaft deeply, delivering moisture and nutrients to the hair.
Use deep conditioners once a week or as needed.
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Protect Against UV Damage
Protecting your hair from the sun is crucial in maintaining its health and preventing damage.
Consider using a leave-in conditioner or a hair product that contains UV protection.
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These products act as a barrier, creating an additional layer of defense against the sun’s rays.
Seek shade whenever possible, especially during the peak hours when the sun’s rays are the strongest.
Saltwater swimming pools substitute the traditional chlorine pellets with salt.
As discussed above, saltwater pools are overall cheaper to run than traditional chlorine water pools.
The initial costs are, however, higher, but manageable.
The repair costs maybe also be higher, but it is worth your money since you don’t have to take frequent trips to your local store to buy more chlorine granules for your pool.
One great advantage of a saltwater pool is that it aids in keeping your hair healthy.
It levels the natural oils in your hair.
Saltwater also has therapeutic effects and helps to soothe your scalp.
So, is a saltwater pool good for your hair?
Well, it depends. If you have naturally dry hair, you may want to swim there just occasionally.
If you really want to take a dip in a saltwater pool and you have dry hair, consider throwing a swim cap on.
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