‘But Jenn often talks about skin’ I hear you ponder, well this week I have some exciting news!
As some of you may know, The Skin Nerd has expanded their website to include a wider range of supplements, body care, even more skin care, makeup, and hair care! As another area of personal care that can be overwhelming in terms of options and information, the decision to include hair allows me and the brand to help educate our community and empower them to make more informed decisions. Like skin, hair is also an area that is steeped in science and may require careful thought to reach its full health potential.
Strong, healthy locks are always in style, but the path to hair you’re happy with isn’t always easy. As one of the most frequently asked questions about hair care, I asked our resident trichologist Deborah Whelan about her top five tips for improving hair health.
‘In my opinion, the number one priority is having a balanced diet, drinking plenty of fluids and avoiding nutritional deficiencies,’ explains Deborah, who has over 20 years’ experience as a trichologist. Hair is made up of protein and it is beneficial for good hair growth if the first two meals of the day include protein. Carbohydrates also play an important role and should not be avoided.’
The strong correlation between hair loss and nutritional deficiencies means that fad or overly restrictive diets should be avoided. “Hair length, density, strength and appearance are significantly sacrificed by a diet that lacks protein and carbohydrates as well as vitamins and minerals, as they all serve an important purpose.”
‘Another important habit is daily washing and conditioning,’ adds Deborah. ‘A clean scalp is a healthier scalp, but remember that using excessive amounts of shampoo can make hair look dry and dull. Always wet hair well and avoid pouring shampoo directly onto hair. Lather the shampoo on your hands first and take your time to massage the lather into your scalp.
Other things to remember are that using warm water is better than hot or cold and keep in mind that conditioners are formulated for the hair, not the scalp.
Moisture is just as important for hair as it is for skin, explains Deborah. “Exposing hair to extreme heat on a regular basis is a major cause of hair breakage and fractures, so overuse of hot styling equipment can strip essential moisture and leave hair dry and brittle.
The most important thing to focus on is timing. It’s important to stop blow-drying as soon as the hair is dry, as it’s the last minute or two of using a blow dryer which can cause loss of protective moisture and split ends.’
“Brushing the hair vigorously can increase the likelihood of hair loss from breakage, as part of the hair’s cuticle (the protective outer layer) is removed and the hair gradually loses its strength.” You should also be selective with your choice of brush or comb. ‘Some combs are made in a mold and have abrasive lines in the center of each tooth that can damage hair with each stroke. A hard rubber serrated comb is preferred to prevent this damage and is ideal for longer hair.
“Very few people avoid having one scalp problem or another and it is important to get the correct diagnosis and treatment plan to treat it. For example, one of the most common conditions of the scalp is dandruff (or, to give its correct name, pityriasis capitis). It is estimated that about 70 percent of the population is prone to dandruff. A common thought is that having dandruff means that you have a dry scalp when, in fact, it is mainly seen in people with oily scalps. Therefore, the decision to rub oil on the scalp will probably cause more problems.
Typical causes of excess oil on the scalp and dandruff are; stress, poor dietary behavior (too much sugar and fatty, salty foods), hormonal changes or imbalances, not washing hair enough, and using the wrong shampoo. Frequent use of a scalp cleansing or peeling mask can help keep your scalp and hair in good health.’
Trichology is the science of the structure, function and diseases of human hair. Clinical trichology is the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and disorders of the human hair and scalp.* A trichologist will deal with numerous conditions of the hair and scalp. Unlike hairdressers or doctors, trichologists receive years of training in all aspects of hair science, hair health, and hair processing. A trichologist will take a holistic point of view, considering the many influences on the health of the hair and scalp.
- Deborah Whelan MIT Consultant Trichologist has been registered with the Institute of Trichologists since 1992. Deborah can be contacted at trichologist.ie.