It is always nice to have wild beach hair for the summer, but is saltwater good for your hair? Saltwater can have both positive and negative effects on hair. Everyone’s hair is different and will react differently to certain types of water. While saltwater can add minerals to the hair and scalp, it can also cause dryness and brittleness. Saltwater and hair don’t usually result in a positive interaction. Saltwater can strip hair color and weaken hair structure, so it is important to be careful with saltwater to maintain healthy hair. If you plan on spending a lot of time in saltwater, using a deep conditioner or leave-in conditioner can protect hair and reverse significant damage. Dr. Wassef and the DCSI team show you their findings on all things skin, nails, and hair. Keep reading to learn more from Our South Florida dermatologist, Dr. Wassef

Effects of Saltwater on Skin and Hair

Is saltwater good for your hair? Sea salt is a common element found in our daily lives, whether we are taking a dip in the ocean or using it to season our food. However, the effects of saltwater on our skin and hair are often overlooked. Some of the effects to look out for include the following:

On Skin

  • Dryness: Saltwater can be very drying for the skin because it strips away natural oils that help keep the skin hydrated. This can lead to itchy, dry, and flaky skin. When this happens to the skin underneath the hair on your head, it can result in dandruff.
  • Irritation: Saltwater can be irritating to the skin, especially if you already have sensitive skin. It can cause redness, inflammation, and even small cuts.
  • Acne: Saltwater can also contribute to acne breakouts because it is known to clog pores.
  • Sun sensitivity: Saltwater can make the skin more sensitive to the sun. When sensitive skin is in the sun, it is much more prone to sunburn and skin damage than skin that isn't as sensitive.

On Hair

  • Color fading: Saltwater can cause color-treated hair to fade more quickly. Saltwater strips away the color molecules from the hair shaft.
  • Dryness: Similar to skin, saltwater can be very drying for the hair because it strips away natural oils that help to keep the hair hydrated. This usually leads to brittle and tangled hair.
  • Breakage: Saltwater can weaken the hair, making it more prone to breaking, thus causing split ends.
  • Scalp irritation: Saltwater can be irritating to the scalp, especially if it's already dry and sensitive. 

How to Prevent Saltwater-Damaged Hair

Saltwater can have both benefits and drawbacks for hair and scalp. While it can remove excess oil and exfoliate the scalp, overexposure to salt can dry out and damage hair causing things like dandruff, split ends, and breakage. Some think that salt is a good natural hair care product, but this is only true when used in small doses. Here are some tips we have put together to prevent saltwater hair damage:
  • Rinse hair with fresh water before and after swimming to reduce saltwater damage.
  • Apply a leave-in conditioner or coconut oil before and after swimming to maintain your hair’s moisture.
  • Infuse hair with protein, which can help protect hair from damage. 
  • Use natural moisturizing hair masks to keep hair healthy.
  • Trim hair regularly to keep it healthy and prevent unhealthy split ends.

Our South Florida Dermatologist Is Here for You Today!

Overall, to minimize the effects of saltwater on skin and hair, it's important to rinse off with fresh water after swimming and to apply moisturizer and/or conditioner to help rehydrate and protect the skin and hair. We hope we were able to answer your question, “Is saltwater good for your hair?” Let the professionals at DCSI, one of the best dermatologists in South Florida, help your skin and hair this summer! We can help recommend haircare products for your hair to make it look and feel its healthiest. Contact our doctors today to make an appointment and learn more about how we can help you feel like the best version of yourself. Be sure to check out our blog to read more from our team.