Many of us overlook our hair, which is located at the very top of our bodies, even though we work to keep ourselves in good health from head to toe. However, there are valid reasons for wanting to maintain healthy hair. Jessica Walker, a hairstylist and the owner of the J. Walker Salon Group in New Jersey, says that “our hair is our crown” and is one of the first things that people notice about us. She continues, “Our hair determines so much of our confidence and how we feel on the inside and out. In addition to helping with self-esteem, having healthy hair is crucial for maintaining other parts of good health. Debra Wattenberg, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, says that our hair shields us from the cold, insulates our cranium, and offers some protection against injuries. Additionally, your hair may provide insight into your general wellbeing. For instance, an abrupt loss of hair may indicate an autoimmune disease or that you’re under too much stress. Angela Lamb, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and assistant professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, says that your hair can be an expression of your cleanliness and also represent nutrient deficits and internal health issues. According to Lamb, “untreated persistent skin diseases like eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, and alopecia can cause itching, inflammation, and unhealthy hair and head. Simply stated, caring for your hair and wanting to keep it healthy are important for many reasons besides just wanting to appear good.
Learn here how to maintain your hair in the finest condition so that it remains wholesome and vibrant.
What Is Hair Exactly?
A significant protein found in hair, known as keratin, is a narrow thread or filament. The interior strand of hair also contains some lipids, which are fats. A cuticle, which is composed of decaying cells and covers each strand of hair, helps to safeguard it.
Why It’s Important to Care for Your Hair?
In addition to boosting your confidence, hair has health benefits. When it’s chilly outside, hair keeps you toasty, and when it’s hot outside, it helps wick away perspiration. Additionally, it helps cushion your impact and could shield your head from the light. In addition to boosting your confidence, hair has health benefits. When it’s chilly outside, hair keeps you toasty, and when it’s hot outside, it helps wick away perspiration. Additionally, it helps cushion your impact and could shield your head from the light. Sebum, the fluid that the scalp secretes, has antimicrobial properties and can shield the epidermis from the heat. However, Dr. Wattenberg points out that the oils can also result in odor and illness; for this reason, you should maintain excellent hair care!
What Does Healthy Hair Look Like?
There are numerous indications of good hair, just as there are many different hair varieties. According to Lamb, “healthy hair” is hair that is growing to its full capacity and is free of breakage and broken ends. So, for instance, if you have curly hair, it might not be’shiny,’ but as long as you do not experience excessive loss or breaking during treatments, Lamb continues, your hair is healthy. Although they might not apply to all hair varieties, these are some of the primary indications of healthy hair, according to the specialists consulted. We must be cautious not to characterize hair health in terms of particular societal norms, warns Lamb.
- Exhibits little breakage and minimal shedding
- Does not break when it’s brushed
- Does not contain dandruff
- Reflects light
- Has sheen and luster
- Contains moisture
Signs Your Hair Is Potentially Unhealthy
Similar to how you can probably sense when your hair is healthy, you can probably sense when something is wrong. For instance, your hair may feel extremely brittle or you may be shedding more hair than usual. According to famous hair colorist and creator of the TO112 beauty and lifestyle brand Luis Pacheco, there are common signs of healthy hair, though the severity of these signs varies depending on the type of hair. For instance, naturally dehydrated hair varieties, such as kinky and wavy hair or completely gray hair, will be prone to dryness; however, if it begins to split or feel brittle, you need to look into the issue, advises Pacheco.
Here, learn the signs of damaged hair, though they may differ based on hair type:
- The hair is brittle.
- Lots of hair is removed when running a brush or comb through it.
- Big clumps of hair fall out.
- You have visible bald spots or can easily see your scalp.
- The strands break at mid shaft.
- The hair lacks luster or shine.
- It is split at the ends.
- It is hard to detangle.
- It is drier than normal.
How to Care for Your Hair: Do’s and Don’ts
While different hair varieties necessitate various approaches to maintenance, one fundamental truth remains: it’s critical to give your hair some tender loving care. Find out what to do and what not to do to maintain the health of your hair here.
1. Don’t Over process Your Hair
Regardless of the color, structure, or heredity of the hair, overprocessing is harmful, according to Wattenberg. Background: Bleaching your hair or using relaxers or hair color incorrectly can cause overprocessing. According to Wattenberg, overprocessing causes disulfide bonds to dissolve, which in turn causes hair to fall out. The chemical links that hold the proteins in your hair together and give it power are called disulfide bonds. One research, for example, showed that bleaching or overly coloring your hair can harm the cuticle layer, as well as impair the protein and cause lipid loss. proper up arrow Therefore, the majority of professionals advise avoiding the chlorine and delaying color touch-ups (in the winter, they suggest waiting as long as 8 to 10 weeks).
2. Do Choose a Shampoo and Conditioner That’s Specific to Your Hair Type
There are probably products for every hair variety available if you browse the hair treatment section of your neighborhood retailer (and every hair issue). They’re not just a novelty, it turns out. “These goods are quite specialized and can make a world of difference,” adds Wattenberg. Do you have a greasy or parched scalp? Do you dye your hair? Have you got dandruff? Choose the shampoo and conditioner that are specifically formulated for you, she advises. For instance, the American Academy of Dermatology suggests that individuals with dandruff use a shampoo that has been specifically made to help treat and manage it.
3. Don’t Over dry Your Hair
Frequently using your hair drier and other hot styling products is another example of over processing. According to Wattenberg, blow dryers, curling irons, and flat irons can burn your hair and head as well as cause your hair to split and bald.
The surface of the hair became more damaged as the temperature of the hair drier increased, according to previous studies that examined the impacts of using hair dryers at different temps. In order to minimize harm, the study’s authors advise using a hair dryer at the lowest setting at a distance of 15 millimeters. Additionally, move the gadget continuously rather than remaining still for extended amounts of time.
4. Do Shield Your Hair and Scalp From the Sun
Most of us are worried about protecting our epidermis from the weather from head to toe, but do you ever consider your scalp and hair? You ought to! According to Wattenberg, color-treated hair can change hues in the weather, but the scalp can also become burned. Even though some ultraviolet radiation that can cause cancer are blocked by the hair, having hairless patches or a part in your hair doesn’t make you any more protected. The solution? Wear a cap or apply sunblock with a high SPF that is made for the head, suggests Wattenberg. Be aware that the sun can also harm your real hair, possibly weakening the hair strand and cuticle in addition to discoloring it.
5. Don’t Skip the Conditioner
If your timetable is hectic, you might rush through your baths, but it’s a good idea to make sure you condition your hair after every shampoo. Because conditioner adds luster, strengthens hair, and even lessens static electricity, it can enhance the appearance of harmed hair. proper up arrow So, for excellent hair days, a little conditioner is worthwhile. Make careful to leave the conditioner on for the recommended amount of time, suggests Wattenberg. Observe the instructions on the container. Maintain a shampooing and conditioning regimen based on the characteristics of your particular hair. “Styling practices differ completely depending on hair type and intended style,” explains Lamb. For instance, if you have dreadlocks, you can frequently cleanse, condition, and preserve them every day, but if your hair is straighter, this styling technique won’t result in healthy hair, says Lamb. “In general, though, you should shampoo and condition your hair as often as your style and hair type require. A daily, weekly, or monthly basis is possible.
6. Do Protect Your Hair While Swimming
Even though swimming is a wonderful form of exercise, spending a lot of time in the water is bad for your hair. Chemicals in the water can dry out and aggravate your hair, according to Wattenberg. She suggests donning a hat or applying conditioner before diving in. To ensure that your hair receives the chlorine-free water rather than the water that is chemically-filled, it is also a good idea to moisten your hair with fresh water before conditioning it. Even better, invest in some swimming-specific shampoo and conditioner to help replenish any hydration that may have been lost from your hair.
7. Don’t Intensely Brush Your Hair
Even though you might be compelled to remove every last knot, brushing your hair too frequently can harm it, particularly if you use all of your power. Brush carefully as much as possible to avoid damage. Although you should ask your stylist if there is a specific brush that is best for your hair condition, the ideal brush to use is one with broad teeth and smooth prongs. If you have long hair, hold the bottom section in place while you gently run the brush through the tips. Then, raise your palm and keep brushing beneath it.
8. Do Conduct Your Own Research on Products Before Buying Them
Hair care products usually contain a shockingly lengthy number of ingredients, not all of which are, to put it mildly, healthy. Although more research is required to determine whether hair dye itself increases the risk of breast cancer, one study found a possible link between breast cancer and personal use of hair dye (i.e., goods purchased over the counter). According to the study, white women who used permanent hair dye once or more during a 12-month span had a 9 percent greater chance of breast cancer than those who didn’t. A 45 percent increased chance was present for black women who used permanent hair dye once or more per month as compared to non-users. There were 46,709 subjects in the research. The writers suggest that the ingredients in hair color may contribute to the emergence of breast cancer. Before you purchase any hair product, it is wise to conduct some study to help maintain your hair (and body) healthy. However, a different, longer, and bigger research found no link between hair dye and the chance of cancer. The American Cancer Society states that there are conflicting study findings. Check out websites like the Environmental Working Group, which has a catalog of better-for-you hair care products manufactured without the most harmful chemicals, and ask your hairstylist what is in the hair dye they use. But keep in mind that the Environmental Working Group holds extreme opinions on some health issues, according to some specialists.
9. Don’t Go Too Long Without a Haircut
It’s not just to keep you as a frequent customer that your hair stylist recommends you go in for a trim every few months. Regular trims prevent harm from the ends up because split ends weaken the hair and expose it to moisture loss and tangling, according to Pacheco. Walker advises getting a trim every six to eight weeks to avoid injury. The same is true for those who want to stretch their hair out. “If you’re looking to grow your hair, you might be contemplating missing a haircut — but reshaping and trimming your hair frequently keeps it appearing strong and healthy, as opposed to brittle and thin, while you progress through the growth process,” Walker adds.
10. Do Consider a Silk Pillowcase
Silk pillowcases are popular right now, and with good cause. All hair varieties should think about using a silk cushion, advises Pacheco, to avoid rubbing the cuticle while you slumber. For fizz-prone, curly, kinky, and delicate hair varieties, in particular, this is advantageous, he continues.
11. Don’t Let Braids, Cornrows, or Weaves Get Too Tight
Your hair is probably being damaged if it aches when it is tugged firmly. If your hairdresser pulls your hair too tightly, make sure to speak up and ask them to fix it. Frequent use of cornrows and tight knots can harm follicles permanently, possibly preventing future hair growth.
12. Do Go to a Professional for Relaxers
If you decide to use a relaxant, exercise care. Going to an expert is a good option because they can make sure the product is administered safely. Don’t hurry the intervals between touch-ups either. Make sure that only fresh hair receives the relaxer (not hair that has already undergone relaxation) and that you visit no more frequently than every two to three months. If you observe that your hair is breaking or coming out after procedures, you may want to avoid chemicals entirely. “Too many heat or chemical treatments can impose stress on any hair type,” explains Lamb.