Poster Title

The Effects of Chlorine on Different Ethnicities of Hair

Grade Level at Time of Presentation

Secondary School

Institution

Project Lead The Way - Kentucky

KY House District #

60

KY Senate District #

11

Abstract

Hair is an important aspect of people’s everyday lives. It is used as a form of protection, self-expression, and beauty. Often, drastic, involuntary changes to hair can cause dips in confidence, self-perception, and scalp safety. Specifically, teenagers who tolerate high levels of chlorine for an extended amount of time at swim practice are at a higher risk for experiencing these changes. Swimming is an ethnically diverse sport, so the effects of chlorine may vary per ethnicity. Swimmers often criticize the harsh effects of chlorine such as brittleness, dryness, and a change of color in hair. Different ethnicities produce different colors and textures of hair, possibly varying the effects chlorine in each ethnicity. The color, texture, and shape of each lock of hair will be tested after being subjected to chlorine exposure. It is hypothesized that hair from Black/African American people will have a more visceral reaction to chlorinated water because the hair naturally lacks oils. Chlorine, a hypochlorous acid, has a tendency to strip hair of their natural oils resulting in brittleness and changes in weight and length. Three locks of hair from various ethnicities (Black/African American, East Asian, Caucasian) were submerged in pure water in the dark or pool chlorine water at a pH of 7.6 with exposure to UV rays or total darkness. UV exposure simulates exposure to sunlight. Physical abnormalities and color change were qualitatively measured, and changes in weight and length were quantitatively measured. The data produced from this experiment will aid researchers in creating ethnically catered hair products or other safety methods that can potentially prevent these drastic changes from happening to swimmers.

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The Effects of Chlorine on Different Ethnicities of Hair

Hair is an important aspect of people’s everyday lives. It is used as a form of protection, self-expression, and beauty. Often, drastic, involuntary changes to hair can cause dips in confidence, self-perception, and scalp safety. Specifically, teenagers who tolerate high levels of chlorine for an extended amount of time at swim practice are at a higher risk for experiencing these changes. Swimming is an ethnically diverse sport, so the effects of chlorine may vary per ethnicity. Swimmers often criticize the harsh effects of chlorine such as brittleness, dryness, and a change of color in hair. Different ethnicities produce different colors and textures of hair, possibly varying the effects chlorine in each ethnicity. The color, texture, and shape of each lock of hair will be tested after being subjected to chlorine exposure. It is hypothesized that hair from Black/African American people will have a more visceral reaction to chlorinated water because the hair naturally lacks oils. Chlorine, a hypochlorous acid, has a tendency to strip hair of their natural oils resulting in brittleness and changes in weight and length. Three locks of hair from various ethnicities (Black/African American, East Asian, Caucasian) were submerged in pure water in the dark or pool chlorine water at a pH of 7.6 with exposure to UV rays or total darkness. UV exposure simulates exposure to sunlight. Physical abnormalities and color change were qualitatively measured, and changes in weight and length were quantitatively measured. The data produced from this experiment will aid researchers in creating ethnically catered hair products or other safety methods that can potentially prevent these drastic changes from happening to swimmers.