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How Hanoi's Over-Chlorinated Water Affects Hair and Skin

Hanoi's water supply suffers from over-chlorination, which can have wide-ranging impacts one’s hair and skin.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, municipalities all around the world have added chlorine to water supplies to protect against the growth and spread of diseases including cholera, dysentery and typhoid. The addition of the naturally-occurring element has significantly reduced deaths from waterborne illnesses. While providing an overwhelming net-positive, reliance on chlorine comes with some negative effects.

For various reasons, Vietnam uses more chlorine in its water supply than many other countries. Tropical conditions and old pipes more prone to facilitating bacteria growth have led to over-chlorination throughout the country, and Hanoi and Saigon are no exception. Tuoi Tre reports that Saigon's Department of Health and Environment Management discovered numerous locations in the area where levels of chlorine far exceeded the allowed levels, and different wards and buildings feature drastically different levels.


Effects of High Levels of Chlorine

While those who have lived here their entire lives may not notice it, people who move to Hanoi frequently comment on observed changes to their hair and skin health. Because chlorine strips one’s hair and skin of natural protective oils and oxidizes lipids and proteins, it can result in dry and brittle follicles, split ends, dandruff and damaged color treatments, as well as tight, raw, itchy and irritated skin prone to infection. To illustrate the strength of chlorine, an article published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences explains that at even higher doses it can result in acute and long-term respiratory irritation and illness.

How to Protect Against Chlorine

The most obvious answer - simply avoiding showering - is clearly impossible. Reducing the amount of time spent in the water and limiting how frequently one washes their hair, however, is something everyone should consider, especially because this also cuts down on water costs and lessens one’s environmental impact. Additionally, a number of hair and skin care creams, lotions, oils and balms can help to restore skin and hair health.

And while one cannot change the amount of chlorine in the municipal pipes that bring water to one’s home, one can control its composition as it exits the faucet. Full water treatment and filtration devices can be installed at the point where water enters the home, while smaller devices such as showerheads can filter water the moment before it reaches you.


Dechlorinating Showerheads


Passing water through ultra-fine and granular-activated carbon filters effectively remove chlorine. The leading Japanese Torayvino showerhead, for example, relies on carbon made from coconut husks to ensure the water exiting the showerhead is devoid of chlorine, as well as large suspended particles and organic matter. Such filters also reduce water consumption by up to 30% while maintaining water pressure.

An experiment anyone can perform illustrates the efficacy of these showerheads. Reagents are mixtures or substances that react with certain chemicals and thus reveal whether or not they are present. Adding a simple free chlorine reagent to unfiltered Hanoi tap water, as well as water that has passed through a Torayvino showerhead, serves as clear proof of their performance.

The sleek Torayvino showerheads look indistinguishable from a normal showerhead, with the powerful filter stored discreetly in their necks. Coming in stylish blue, pink and gray, the newest model features twice as many surface holes wich creates an especially silky water flow. Each has a 12,000 liter / filter cartridge capacity with the lifespan depending on the type of water used (tap water is highly recommended) and how often. Many people will find them needing to be changed arround every five months. Their ability to switch between filtered and regular tap when cleaning or using the water for non-showering purposes helps prolong a showerhead’s lifespan.


The Japanese-made showerheads have been constantly improved for over 30 years and adhere to all of Japan’s safety standards. They have also earned a recommendation from the nation’s Atopic Dermatitis Patients Association thanks to their ability to produce water with levels safe for children with sensitive skin. Such a reputation and proven performance resulted in sales of 100 million units in 2017 alone. Vietnam recently became one of the 22 countries that the Torayvino RS52 model showerheads are available in.

There are many things that make living and working in Hanoi great. For many, these positives more than outweigh the need to deal with hectic traffic, air pollution and steamy summer temperatures, for example. Thankfully, the damaging effects of chlorine on one’s skin and hair don’t have to be one of these issues that people simply accept, but something they can take active steps to remedy.


 Urbanist Hanoi readers can receive a 15% discount on showerheads purchased directly from the Torayvino Website or Facebook page by entering the code SAITOR15 until 31 January 2020.

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