A swim in the backyard pool doesn’t seem like a dangerous thing to do. You can stay cool in the heat and get in some quick laps to burn off all the beer you’ve consumed. But you should exercise caution when swimming with a beard. After a quick dip, your body might be refreshed but you may have jsut caused some serious beard damage.
What’s the Purpose of Chlorine?
Chlorine is a chemical added to pools to kill potentially harmful bacteria. E. coli, salmonella, and protozoa are just a few of the nasty pathogens floating around in the pool. Chlorine is the most common and effective way to keep them at bay. However, there’s a price to pay for your protection—your hair’s natural moisture.
How Does Chlorine Cause Beard Damage?
Most notably, chlorine strips your beard hair of its natural oil (sebum), leaving it dry and brittle. You’re wondering what the big deal is. Can’t a couple dabs of beard oil fix the problem? Not quite. Chlorine does more than dry out your beard in the moment; it has long-term effects, too.
With that loss of oil comes a loss of flexibility and shine. Chlorine reacts with your hair’s keratin supply and creates water-soluble chemicals. This leads to weakened chemical bonds between the fibers that make up your hair shafts.
Chlorine can even crystallize inside your hair, which separates the hair fibers and makes your hair weak. This means split ends, lack of growth, and breakage. Your hair cuticles are also at risk. Flaked cuticles means dull hair and even more breakage.
Chlorine even reacts with the melanin pigments in your hair, causing it to change color without warning. A lot of things can go wrong when you emerge from the pool.
How Can You Protect Your Beard?
Avid swimmers have the advantage of protecting their hair with swim caps. But since the beard swim cap hasn’t hit its stride yet, and frankly looks ridiculous, you need to focus on protection and proper steps to repair beard damage.
Before you dive in, make you sure you wet your beard hair. When your hair is already wet, this slows down the chlorine absorption process. A quick run through the shower can help form a protective layer to keep chlorine from soaking in and crystallizing as easily as it would without any moisture. After your swim, make sure you apply beard oil evenly throughout your beard. Beard oil strengthens your beard hair and encourages healthy growth under normal circumstances. Applying it after can also quickly help you restore the moisture that’s been zapped out by chlorine. You may need to apply more than the typical dime-sized amount for maximum protection.
Summer beard care tips don’t stop with beard oil though. Use a beard shampoo to give your beard a deep clean after your afternoon swim. As mentioned earlier, chlorine tends to chemically bond to your hair, and that damage takes place over time. A beard shampoo with a rich lather is the best way to rinse out any of the bacteria-killing chemical that’s left behind. Beard shampoo is great for this because it’s designed for an incredible wash without stripping any more oil from your hair. It’s exactly what you need after being exposed to chlorine.
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the spoils of summer. After all, what’s June or July without time in the pool? But if you indulge without following crucial summer beard care tips, you could end up suffering from stagnant growth and a dull beard. With some beard oil in tow, you can avoid the pitfalls of chlorine.