Hair Health 101

Even if you consider yourself a beauty guru, you probably don’t spend as much time every day caring for your hair as you do your skin, nails, or teeth.

Sure, you’ll occasionally get a deep treatment or a cut and you wash it a few times a week, but it doesn’t get a ton of daily love. Developing a good hair routine is all about protecting your mane from everyday damage and then fueling it with top-notch hair care products that stimulate growth and leave behind silky-soft strands.

Today, we’re focusing on the first part of the formula: stuff to avoid. Here’s our list of the biggest threats to healthy hair that you should know.

  1. The Sun: Dryness and Scalp Sunburn – These days, it seems like the sun has a really bad rap—and for good reason. The harsh UV rays that shine down on us are notoriously unkind to our bodies, causing sunburn and skin cancer. But that great, big ball of hydrogen doesn’t stop there. It also zaps our hair of the necessary nutrients it needs to stay shiny, durable, and all-around gorgeous. The best way to prevent your hair from the damage, and to keep your scalp safe from sunburn if you have thin hair, is to use a hair and scalp sunscreen that blocks the locks from harsh, life-zapping sunrays.
  2. Tight Hairstyles: Hair Loss and Thinning – Okay, we don’t want to be alarmist, but did you know that there is actually a form of alopecia (hair loss), that occurs due to constantly wearing your hair in tight hairstyles? Yep, it’s called traction alopecia and it’s our worst nightmare. This kind of hair loss is especially dangerous for people who fancy tight braids and ponytails. It occurs due to damage that results from constant twisting and pulling, triggering permanent damage to the hair follicles, making them unable to regrow hair. There are some promising hair growth solutions out there, but prevention is the best medicine here, so keep it loose.
  3. Chlorine: Dryness and Color Fading – Have you ever returned from a beach vacation, only to unpack a much lighter-colored swimsuit than the one you started with? Chlorine from the pool can do a number on our swimwear and our hair, especially when it comes to color. The stuff is a life-saver for routinely sanitizing public pools, but it also sanitizes the life and moisture out of our locks. To prevent your hair from emerging from the pool brittle, dull, and faded, you can treat it with certain protectant products or wear a swimming cap.
  4. Washing It Too Much: Greasiness and Dryness – Finding the right shampoo and conditioner, and the right frequency at which to use them, is a real challenge for many people, but, once you get it down to a science, you’ll be glad you spent the extra time and effort. One of the biggest forms of damage your shampoo and conditioner can do is disrupt the natural oil content in your scalp and hair, causing it to be excessively oily or excessively dry. Often, training the hair to require fewer washes can help the follicles return to their natural state of oil production for the perfect balance.
  5. Washing It Too Little: Dandruff and Greasiness – It’s a lose-lose situation with shampooing—wash too much and your hair will be perpetually greasy; wash too little and your hair will be perpetually greasy. In truth, your hair needs the perfect balance of oils to prevent hair damage and scalp issues. Though it would seem like dandruff comes from a dry scalp, the opposite is actually true. Since washing your locks too infrequently can leave it super-greasy, it can also leave it plagued with dandruff. Those who have dandruff should wash their hair daily and leave conditioning as a once- or twice-a-week treat.
  6. Hot Styling Tools: Dryness, Dullness, and Split Ends – Most of us can’t live without our blow dryers and hot styling tools, but these are by far some of the biggest war-wagers of the beauty aisle. The fact of the matter is that heat takes all the moisture and nutrients from hair, leaving it feeling dry and dull. It also attacks the complex proteins found within the structure of the hair, causing split ends and a rougher texture. The good news is that hot tools aren’t off-limits; they just need to be used the right way. Make sure you only wield them occasionally and when your hair is properly prepped with a heat protectant spray.
  7. A Poor Diet: Weakness and Dullness – Healthy, happy hair is well-nourished hair. Your hair follicles are like any other part of your body in that they need the proper nutrients in order to work at their very best. You get those nutrients from your diet. Some of the things your hair needs to grow long, strong, and beautiful include biotin and protein (two of the things essential for building a hair protein called keratin) as well as fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. You might want to consider altering your diet or introducing a supplement if you believe that your locks aren’t getting enough good stuff.

Make Hair Care Easy

Between our skin, nails, teeth, and the rest of our bodies, it seems like there’s no room in the routine for hair care, too. But the truth is that, as long as you’re aware of what to avoid, you won’t have to make a ton of serious changes at all.

Add in a few easy dailies or weekly hair care routine-enhancers, and you’ll be left with lovely, low-maintenance locks that command compliments.

About The Author:

Stacey Smith is a freelance health writer. She is passionate to write about women’s health, dental health, diabetes, endocrinology and nutrition and provides in-depth features on the latest in health news for medical clinics and health magazines.

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