Healthy strands boast tightly closed cuticle layers. If hair is in good
condition, it shines, swings, feels good when touched, and has no "candyfloss"
ends or split strands.
If you want to keep your
hair healthy, you have
to avoid the enemies of healthy hair; too much sun,
illness or other stresses, certain drugs like sulfa drugs and birth control
pills, and cosmetic assaults like
dyeing. There is also the issue of
environmental contamination, as from chlorine. The easiest route to healthy hair
is to avoid as many of the following damaging things as possible.
Shampoo works by removing dirt and excess sebum
from the hair's surface. Gentle shampoos remove just what they need to. Strong
shampoos, however, can take with them your hair's protective sebum, that
necessary natural oil that keeps hair pliable, moisturized, and healthy. In some
cases, strong shampoos also disrupt your hair's cuticle layer, roughing up those
tile-like portions and allowing damage to the interior cortex.
Don't overdo it- Get into washing habits that suit your hair and
you will benefit from healthy looking, naturally shiny hair.
Raking through damp strands with a fine-toothed
comb, yanking at tangles,
brushing hair 20 times a day, absent mindedly tugging
at locks, backcombing strands for a fuller finish - these all constitute rough
handling, and they are all guaranteed ways to damages fragile tresses.
Every time you handle your hair, even if you
just push your fingers through it, you put stress on its cuticle layer, causing
the cuticle's tightly overlapping tiles to come unhinged; in hair-care circles,
this is known as mechanical damage. Particularly aggressive treatment can even
strip away a section of these tiles. When this protective armour is compromised
or removed, hair splits, frays, or snaps off.
Ponytail holders, hair slides, combs, clips -
most of us have been using these and other hairdo helpers since childhood. This
is fine, as long as you don't use them more then one or three times a week.
Wearing your hair day after day in the same
style can wear away the hair's
cuticle layer and cause breakage in those locks that are contained by the
Similarly, if you're not gentle when removing
them, hair accessories you can damage locks in another way. Try not to yank free any
tresses that become stuck in the hinge of a clip or a hair slide or wound around
a ponytail holder. Unfortunately, ripping strands out of a hair ornament's grasp
can strip away a long swath of the cuticle layer.
Ask any dermatologist or stylist the main cause
of damaged hair and they will probably say heat-styling. Heat causes a number of
problems: it lifts those tightly fitting tiles that create cuticle layer,
causing small spaces where water and other substances can enter and cause
damage. Heat can also damage and remove small chips of the cuticle layer,
causing a porous, hole-pocked surface that leaves hair weakened and prone to
splitting, fraying, and breaking.
The best way to avoid heat damage is to air-dry
hair and stay away from heated curling and straightening appliances. Blow-dry
only when necessary (for example, when you're going out), prepare hair with a
leave-in conditioner for a bit of protection, and hold the blower at least 15 cm
(6 inches) from the head.
Chlorine, used in
swimming pools, is a bleach
and it does have a damaging effect on hair. Not only does it affect the texture
and color of the hair, but it can also weaken hair at the follicle. When you swim, always rinse your hair out after
every swim in clean water as chlorine and salt ruin your hair, even more so if
your hair is chemically treated.
Eating An Unbalanced Diet
Good hair, skin, teeth and overall health is
directly tied to eating
well balanced meals. Our bodies crave vitamins and
minerals. When we don't provide these goodies to our bodies, many things
suffer. Often our hair and skin are obvious victims. A poor diet will also
prevent us from having the optimal energy to be successful in other areas of our
life. Besides, smoking has also been proven
to accelerate the incidence of
hair loss and the accumulation of
Caffeine is also not blameless. Excessive caffeine use can do all kinds of
damage and has been proven to be a culprit in all sorts of hair and
Hair vitamins do work. This is because they
actually supplement the vitamins and minerals that our bodies and hair require
for optimal growth and condition. Hair vitamins alone are not the perfect
solution. Eating well for your
body type in combination with vitamins and
minerals will be the real winning combination.
Generally, a safe, conservative approach to
hair care is the best way to keep hair healthy.
Dated 13 November 2013