Haircare: How to Style Your Hair and Prevent Hair Loss
Did you know that heroes of ancient Greece used harsh soaps and bleaches to lighten and redden their hair to the colour that was identified with honour and courage? In fact even first-century Romans preferred dark hair, which was made so by a dye concocted from boiled walnuts and leeks.
The worst hit are probably models and actresses, who being under bright lights are prone to dandruff and probably have to get their hair styled every second day. But perming, dyeing and straightening hair seem to be becoming increasingly popular and before going in for these it is best to recognise the risks involved.
Perming & Straightening
Girls with curly hair want it straight and silky and those gifted with the latter want them curled. Salons are flooded with clients making requests for weird hairdos. However, many people have to settle for damaged and destroyed hair. When hair is straightened or curled, tremendous heat is applied in order to change its natural shape. This converts the protein cystine (of which the hair is composed) to cysteine and then manipulated into a certain look, before changing back. However, in the process some amount of cystic acid is generated. This process results in 20 percent of the hair getting destroyed. So, if you want to perm your hair or get it straightened, make sure you do not style it too frequently.
Regular streaking and dyeing can cause cumulative damage, although it may take years before there are obvious signs of hair breakage. Permanent chemical dyes may damage the hair by breaking through the cuticle shield to invade the cortex. They may also cause an autoimmune reaction leading to alopecia or a skin disease called dermatitis. Instead of using a permanent dye, try a rinse or a temporary dye.
The incidence of lawsuits seeking compensation for damage hair caused by chemical abuse is increasing alarmingly, and the role of the trichologist as an expert witness is increasingly coming into play.
Hot Rollers And Dryers
Applying excessive heat to the hair can damage the scalp and cause the hair follicles to weaken. High heat and the time for which it is used on the hair will also impact structure of hair. While hair loses its elasticity, damage to the cuticle makes it pron to breakage. Steam forming inside the hair shaft causes hair breakage. It is therefore necessary to limit the amount of heat as well as the length of time you dry your hair.
If you use a blow dryer, use a moderate heat setting - never overdry. Cold hair dryers are the best and are available in India. It is also advisable to towel dry your hair gently before blow drying.
Avoid tight braids and ponytails as these may cause breakage and tearing of the hair shaft.
‘Thin may be in’ but definitely not when it comes to hair. The hair roots may be too weak to sustain the pressure of the hair, leading to a form of hair loss called Anagen Effluvium. If you want to lose weight, do so under qualified supervision.
Airhostesses are prone to this as they have to continuously do the above and hence it is a occupational hazard. Always, remember if you ever notice worrying changes in your hair – such as hair loss, itchy scalp, and split ends – contact a trichologist immediately. You may be too fashionable for your hair’s liking.
* Data courtesy: Dr. Apoorva Shah, India's Leading Trichologist
*Image Courtesy: Wakpaper