We know chlorine as a potent chemical primarily known for bleaching water. Our daily contact with it is more or less benign, but we must not neglect the fact of our regular exposure to it.
Chlorine is not only in the nearby pool—it’s in the water that comes from faucets.
Read more to learn what chlorine actually is and does, and how to work around its potentially corrosive effects on your hair possibly contributing to female hair loss.
What Is Chlorine and Why Is It in Our Tap Water
In nature, chlorine just comes from salt—it’s most common compound. It naturally forms in saltwater brines, turning into the inorganic compound we typically associate with summer. Also referred to as a halogen—(or a “salt-former”)—chlorine can be exceptionally reactive and even explode in direct sunlight when combined with hydrogen—yikes!
When manufactured on a large scale, (I’ll save you the gory details), there is some gas-bubbling, Manganese Dioxide, Hydrochloric Acid, and sulphuric acid involved in the process. And, you guessed it!
Water treatment plants don’t use naturally occurring chlorine in water sanitation. Why the heck do we douse our scalps and hair in it?
There are a number of reasons why people view chlorinated water as beneficial or even a modern breakthrough in public health. Chlorine treatment for water began in the late 1800’s. By 1904, it was standard procedure and protocol for cities to treat their water supply in this way before piping it into homes.
Water, although life-saving, can be hazardous as it effortlessly carries diseases. Chlorine destroys deadly bacteria and viruses that cause e. Coli and the norovirus. This technological advancement was revolutionary on a global scale.
Just like with everything, there are costs and benefits. One of the main reasons plants use chlorine is because of its price—it’s cheap. The production process is extraordinarily efficient in the eyes of manufacturers because there are chemical by-products such as sodium hydroxide that are useful to other chemical manufacturing efforts.
However, as scientific understanding and holistic health progresses, the world is now beginning to see the harmful effects of chlorine. And, for women who experience hair loss, chlorine might be dually an aggravating and disinfecting agent.
What Chlorine Does to Our Bodies
Abundant in nature in its chloride ion form, many animals—including humans—need chlorine. However, there is a limit to how much we can physically tolerate.
The previous description of its reactivity (remember how it explodes in the sun!) supposes chlorine in small quantities acts as an irritant. (In fact, as defined by the U.S. EPA, chlorine’s sole purpose is to kill living organisms—it’s termed as a pesticide). Think about the effects consecutive days at the pool have on your external body—itchy eyes, dry skin, and brittle hair.
The concern of chlorine and hair damage is nothing new to the haircare world. Many stylists and hair care experts advise using a product like a leave-in conditioner before jumping into a chlorinated pool.
Some even suggest taking a shower to fill hair pores avoiding a chlorine overload. Now, though, that we know chlorine is in tap water, it’s easy to conclude that the accumulation of small quantities can wreak havoc on hair health over time.
At Home and on the Scalp—Where Your Hair Health Begins
Your scalp is a very tender part of your body and the most arguably tender form of skin on your body. The skin on your head is rich in blood vessels and contains more hair follicles and more sebaceous glands than any other part.
Hair care experts warn of dry shampoo fanatics not washing their hair enough resulting in build-up—not good for hair growth. Our hair and scalp are the most wash-focused parts of our selves, though, resulting in dry, itchy scalps at least one time in our lives—REALLY not good for hair growth.
Your scalp needs to be loved, massaged and treated with respect. Many cultures stimulate the scalp with methods such as rosemary oil massages, regular supplementation with herbs known to treat hair loss, and avoiding products with toxic chemical ingredients like sulfates.
We need to make sure we are giving our scalp the utmost respect by not pouring toxic substances on it. One way to do this is to take out the chlorine of our water before it hits the head.
Reverse Osmosis: Say Goodbye Forever to Chlorine
A reverse osmosis water filter system for the home separates dissolved inorganic substances, (such as salt), from the water. Remember, chlorine is also an inorganic compound—hurray!
This home reverse osmosis water filter system is rated as one of the best reverse osmosis water filter system with a whopping 3,641 reviews and five full stars on Amazon. Under the $200 price point, it is certified “Gold” (highest ranking) by the Water Quality Association (WQA) and ensures high reliability and low maintenance for many years to come.
The Home Master TMAFC Artesian Full Contact Undersink Reverse Osmosis Water Filter System is more expensive ($269.85) but enables users to add minerals into their water—RO water filters really remove everything from water. (Remember, when using RO systems make sure you have a toothpaste with fluoride). Some reverse osmosis filters attach to one sink. You can purchase a whole house reverse osmosis water filter system connecting to every faucet.
Alkaline Water: Your Scalp Says YES, PLEASE
You’ve probably heard of the Alkaline Diet and its internal health benefits. We think that’s true of external bodily health too. Some skin care experts promote acid washing for people born with thick oily skin. Although beneficial for acne on the face, back, etc…never intentionally dry out your scalp with acid or astringent substances.
Alkaline water—the opposite of acidic water—is the best solution to rub into your crown. Water ionizers are great for alkalinizing water while filtering it.
Ionizers are more expensive than RO systems, because they not only remove impurities, but they also enhance your water.
You can easily reap the benefits of positively charged drinking and bath water. These devices are about the size of a toaster oven and attach to your water supply performing controlled low voltage electrolysis on tap water before you drink it or use it.
This Air Water Life Aqua Ionizer has rave reviews and is priced at $1,389.00. The 7 water settings allow you to adjust the alkalinity & add antioxidants—imagine those vitamins on your scalp!
Priced a little lower at $814.94, the Air Water Life Aqua Ionizer Deluxe 7.0 hosts all the benefits of the other ionizer except for the antioxidant infusion.
Heads up: Get Help With Installation
Before purchasing an RO or ionizer and installing it, consider hiring an expert to hook it up for you. These systems (especially RO systems) come with many nuts, bolts, hoses, and other little parts that are pretty overwhelming to look at once removed from the package.
You can also, get your water directly from the cold water line under your sink. For this, you will need to install what’s called a “Tee”. It’s called a Tee, because the piece of hardware is shaped a bit like the letter, T.
Clean Water is only part of the journey to reversing female hair loss
Remember, if your scalp needs a good exfoliation use a good scalp cleanser — shampoo is for your hair.
Just like shampoo, you put it on your head. Focus on getting deep into the surface with tiny, firm circular motions. You’ll stimulate the blood flow while gently lifting dead cells.
Follow this with a high-quality scalp treatment such as a plant-powered oil or extract fortifying your scalp with a protective layer.
In the Defense of Your Scalp and Mane
Chlorine damaged hair is old news to many of us as we think of swimming pools. Now that we understand the mounting effects of daily tap water on our hair follicles, shafts, and scalp, preventive actions are crucial.
Protect your hair from chlorine’s disintegrating consequences and your scalp from its moisture-stripping properties with a better of understanding of your choices for chlorine removal at home.
At the bare minimum, you can reap the benefits of non-toxic, clean water for you and your loved ones’ whole health.
Any experiences with whole house reverse osmosis water filter systems or alkaline water ionizers? Anyone already kicked the chlorine and wants to tell us about it? As always, your comments are golden and I look forward to the feedback.