Shortly after I moved into my new apartment, I found myself covered in broken hair and extremely dry skin. Not only was my skin dry, but I was breaking out a lot on my back too. I immediately assumed that something was seriously wrong with my health. While some hair shedding is normal, I never used to pull clumps of hair from my head in the shower and have to dredge piles of it from the drain.
I assumed something was up with my health and I was familiar with the symptoms of hypothyroidism: sluggishness, difficulty concentrating, dry skin and hair, muscle pains and cramping, fluid retention, cold sensitivity. But the other symptoms weren’t so prevalent, so I couldn’t help but feel there was some correlation between the emergence of these symptoms and my new living space.
I visit an organic salon every four weeks or so and after one visit, my stylist told me my hair was very dry, even after a hydration session, and asked me if I have hard water in my apartment. Now, I already knew something was up with the water at my apartment. Before I had a proper filter for drinking water, I always noticed a film in the pot after I would boil water for coffee and tea, and I was well aware that the town I live in has a lot of chlorine in the water.
At this point I had been living in my apartment for five months. Before that, I was living at home off a well, which is as close to natural as I could get. My skin and hair were so used to the natural minerals they’d enjoyed over the last nine years that they simply weren’t prepared to be bombarded by this chemical. I was left with dry, brittle, and discoloured hair, and my skin was dry, itchy, and breaking out.
How Chlorine Affects Hair and Skin
When skin and hair meet chlorine, a direct chemical reaction occurs that changes their physical properties, as well as the electrical charge of minerals that are bonded to the hair. The chlorine then reacts with those changed minerals.
“Chlorine removes natural oils covering hair resulting in loss of hair shine and flexibility, as well as making them more susceptible to mechanical damage.”
Not only are you exposed to chlorine from swimming pools, but it’s also used to sterilize drinking water and in the manufacturing of products like paper, textiles, paints, plastic, medicines, and more.
Because chlorine is an oxidizing agent, it can promote the formation of free radicals, the molecules that damage your cells, proteins, lipids, and DNA. Too much of this oxidation exposure can lead to inflammation, disease, and rapid aging. This powerful oxidization process is corrosive to the skin and destroys vitamin E and essential fatty acids, which skin needs to appear its best.
Chlorine can even induce asthma-like symptoms in swimmers, especially when swimming indoors, as the airflow is restricted.
What I Did
I already have a water filter that was taking care of my drinking water, but I knew I needed one for the shower. It was important for me to find one that was highly effective and affordable.
I played between two options.
Omica Shower Filter (from their website):
Our Omica Shower Filter uses the oxidation reduction process known as “redox” (an electro-chemical reaction) to transfer electrons between molecules, thus creating new elements. In this way, the structure of harmful contaminants are changed into harmless particles; the chlorine atoms are converted into benign chloride ions that wash safely down the drain.
You can click here to see the results of third-party lab testing. You may notice that, in order to achieve a truly accurate test, the lab increased the chlorine in the test samples to simulate the amount added by many municipalities. Results show that the Omica Filter can reduce up to 96% of chlorine in the water.
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VitaFresh Shower Filter:
This filter is a little more unique in that, in addition to filtering out chlorine, it also adds Vitamin C to neutralize chlorine/chloramines.
From their website:
The EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency), National Risk Management Research Laboratory demonstrated that Vitamin C is ideal, safe and a fast agent for eliminate residual chlorine.
This food grade and pharmaceutical grade of Vitamin C is help to improve the condition of skin and texture of hair since it protects them from oxidizing by chlorine. Because, chlorinated water can cause or worsen skin irritations and rashes as well as drying skin and will also result in the breakage of hair shafts since chlorine is absorbed into the body through the skin, additional physical problems can ensue due to chlorine (Cl2) is one of halogen-based oxidant (disinfectants).
I chose to go with the VitaFresh because I’m not exposed to a lot of fluoride and my drinking filter takes care of the worst of it already. It’s really important that you find out what is in your specific drinking water. You can do so by visiting the website of the town in which you live; there should be a section that details what’s added and what’s already there.
In addition to getting a shower filter, I wanted to get my hair and skin back to normal as soon as possible, so I decided to supplement with MegaFood: Skin, Nails & Hair 2. They have two supplements you can choose from, but I found this one had better reviews, though both seem to be highly regarded.
Immediately after the first wash with my new shower filter, I could tell my skin was more hydrated. This really excited me because I knew that I was going to bring my body back to balance in no time!
My best advice for anyone who thinks that chlorine might be the culprit behind their hair and skin woes is to check what’s in your water first. There really could be something more serious brewing, but before you jump the gun and spend unnecessary amounts of money, time, and energy, do your homework. I couldn’t believe how strong the smell of chlorine was in my home, or how I’d missed it before. Being aware of what’s in your home and what you choose to put on your body is essential to lasting health. Be proactive with your body and educate yourself, always!
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