Could pollution be wreaking havoc on your hair and scalp?
We all know pollution can have harmful effects on your health, as well as on your skin, but did you know your hair is also at risk?
If you think about it, our skin and hair are the first things exposed to external geo aggressors like pollution, UV damage, smog and chemicals. We think to protect our skin with sunscreen, but what are we doing to protect our hair and scalp?
When we’re exposed to pollution, minuscule bits of soot and grime plus smoke and fumes can settle on our heads, causing dryness, hair breakage and an itchy, inflamed scalp.
While those who live in highly-polluted areas are at higher risk, hair is vulnerable anytime you’re outside, whether it’s during your commute or an outdoor workout.
Luckily, there are simple things you can do to protect your hair:
1. Take cover
Look to minimize air pollution exposure when out and about. Keep your hair covered or tie it back with a hair band. For extremely porous or highly-color treated hair this can be a game changer, especially if the area is windy! Being aware of your surroundings and its conditions is key to combating any negative effects on your hair.
2. Style it out
Heavy products like mousses, thickening creams or hair spray can actually attract more pollution elements to your hair. If you’re someone who experiences build up on your strands and scalp then you may want to opt for a lightweight, multi-tasking product.
3. Brush with care
Smoky, polluted air can cause hair quality to deteriorate, making it brittle and more likely to break. Be gentle when styling and always detangle from the ends of your hair, up. Use the nozzle on hair dryers to reduce heat exposure and keep straighteners and curlers at no higher than 360-400 degrees.
4. Get product-specific
Hair companies are becoming more and more aware of the effects of pollution on hair and the scalp and are creating anti-pollution products to eradicate and deter pollutants. While the exact ingredients for this purpose vary, antioxidant-rich botanicals are popular and often the most effective.
Look for products containing Horehound extracts, which protect skin cells from the penetration of pollutants and ﬁght free radicals, while strengthening and repairing hair. Hyaluronic acid is a water-binding humectant that not only works for skin, but it can also keep your scalp in peak condition. When applied to the hair, it coats strands, locks in moisture and shields from styling and heat damage.
Pollution can also affect the scalp’s sebaceous glands, making hair oilier than normally due to follicle clogging. Ingredients like Spiruline & Dog Rose Fruits can help counteract this effect.
5. Reduce washes
It may sound odd — after all, shampooing is the best way to eliminate dirt and grime, right? — but pollution and UV exposure both dry out hair, so excessive washing especially with sulfates, can worsen the problem.
Go as long as you can between washes, but if you do need to wash your hair daily, focus shampoo only on the scalp. Rinse and be sure to re-hydrate from mid lengths to ends with conditioner.
6. Bring back hydration
Another way to help with dryness is with a hydrating mask. Choose a moisturizing or reparative formula and use at least once a week. An ingredient to look out for is Jojoba oil, which strengthens and moisturizes the hair’s natural hydro-lipid layer, while also boosting hydration levels.
Keep your hair protected and healthy with these six quick tips from the experts at Prose.