We can easily abuse our hair without knowing it, when using certain products or using them too much. Why do we have to take good care of our hair? How do we know if it is still healthy? How can we damage it?
The hair is one of the most fascinating structures of the body. It grows the fastest, about half an inch (1.25cm) each month.
Its development is faster in the summer than in the winter, more rapid at night than in the daytime.
The hair on our scalp also becomes extremely elastic when wet and can stretch about one-quarter of its length. This, and the fact that it returns to its normal length when it dries, helps hairdressers in styling the hair. How do you know if your hair is still healthy?
The signs of healthy hair and scalp are:
- Smooth surface
- Tangles little
- Slightly oily
- Scalp is free of flakes or redness.
Signs of a damaged hair:
- Straw-like structure
- Poor & brittle
- Lacks elasticity (breaks off easily)
- Scalp produces flakes.
So how do you damage your hair?
Our hair is prone to wear and tear, mechanical, natural and chemical damage and the condition of the scalp also has an effect on the strength and health of it.
Wear and tear and mechanical damage come hand in hand when:
Hair is washed incorrectly, i.e.: with the wrong shampoo. In this case, the damage would be only a mild one.
- Harsh objects are used during styling, such as heated rollers, metal combs or even plastic brushes.
- Elastic bands are applied, as they tear the hair further.
- Electric tongs are used as these are drying and can burn the hair’s ends.
- Sunbathing, swimming in seawater or chlorinated water and even when central heating is put on, as these are also very drying.
- Perming or straightening hair.
Natural damage occurs when there is insufficient moisture level in the cortex, for the naturally contained water will evaporate and the hair will dry out. This can be a hereditary tendency, part of the natural ageing process or due to hormonal imbalance. Pregnancy, poor diet and emotional problems can also trigger it.
Chemical damage happens when the hair is bleached or tinted carelessly or too often. It becomes over-porouse, very stretchy and soft. Hair tangles badly and easily and may even show brassy or green tones.
Condition of the scalp can be:
- Dry, flaky, red and itchy. It causes dry, powdery dandruff on the scalp, hair and eventually on the clothing. This is usually hereditary but can also occur as a result of poor diet, vitamin deficiency (B12) or poor health. Scratching or harsh brushing and combing can aggravate it as well as irritating chemicals such as wrong types of hair products.
- Greasy, oily, red and sore with the face, neck and shoulders covered in spots. Dandruff is yellow, greasy and soft to touch this time. This condition can cause more severe problems such as Seborrhoeic Dermatitis, a chronic scaling eruption accompanied by inflammation. Further complications can arise when the scalp is scratched.
Watch out for the next article on hair products to learn how to avoid many of these problems and have healthy, shiny and beautiful hair.