Are you one among those who heave a sigh every time they see a model flaunting her silky, soft hair on the magazine cover? Dry hair is a common problem, and most of us are likely to have this problem as we grow older. Having dry, frizzy and dull hair has a negative effect on your self- confidence. But the good news is that in most cases, you can take some simple measures to get back your smooth and soft hair. Let us understand what causes dry hair and how to get rid of them.
ABOUT DRY HAIR:
Your hair has three layers; the outermost layer (cuticle) protects the hair from heat and sun. It should be adequately lubricated with natural oils so that it can protect the inner layers and make your hair look lustrous.
Your hair become dry when your scalp is not able to make sufficient oil to lubricate your hair or when external conditions cause moisture to escape from hair and render them dry. When the hair becomes dry, the outer layer breaks down and the hair looks dull.
DRY HAIR- CAUSES:
Dry hair can be due to harsh external environments, incorrect hair care practices, or underlying health problems:
INCORRECT HAIR CARE PRACTIES:
SIGNS ASSOCIATED WITH DRY HAIR:
These are some signs that are usually seen in people with dry hair:
DIAGNOSIS OF DRY HAIR:
If you have been following the right hair care routine but your hair doesn’t seem to improve- it is time to visit a hair specialist (dermatologist/ trichologist). Your doctor would ask for details of your hair care routine such as- how often you wash your hair, the hair products you use, your diet and other symptoms that you have.
If you seem to have any underlying disorder, your doctor may ask you to take some blood tests to check for thyroid and parathyroid hormones.
PROTECT YOUR HAIR FROM GETTING DRY AND DAMAGED:
Washing your hair: Do not wash your hair more than once or twice a week. Use cold water to rinse your hair rather than hot water. Use a mild shampoo to wash your hair. While choosing your shampoo, look for those shampoos which are sulfate-free and have dimethicone which adds sheen to your hair. Make sure that the hair products that you use do not have alcohol. Always use a moisturizing conditioner after shampooing. Other than this, use a deep conditioner which contains ingredients like amino acids, wheat proteins or panthenol on a regular basis.
Drying hair: Avoid blow drying your hair. Let your hair air dry as much as possible. Even if you use a blow dryer, choose the lowest temperature setting.
Using curlers and straighteners: Avoid the use of such items as much as possible. If you are using a straightener or a curling iron, limit the time that the heat blades touch your hair.
Combing hair: Use a wide-toothed comb for detangling your hair. Never detangle wet hair.
Haircare treatments: If you want to take up some hair care treatment, preferably go to a good quality salon. When you plan to colour your hair, add more time between touch-ups; let the time between alternate touch up sessions be more than 8 weeks. Use specially formulated shampoos for coloured hair. If you plan to take multiple hair treatments (colouring/ perming), make sure to use only one service at a time and keep a gap of 2-3 weeks between the different treatments.
Recommendations for swimmers: Always wear a swimming cap when you get into a pool. Rinse your hair well with tap water as soon as you come out of the pool. It is recommended to use specially formulated shampoos for swimmers and use a deep conditioner later
Sun and wind exposure: Always wear a hat while going outdoors if the weather is sunny or windy.
Regular hair-cuts: Go for regular haircuts to remove the dry, damaged hair ends.
Healthy diet: Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables which are rich in biotin, vitamin A and C
HOME REMEDIES TO MAKE HAIR SMOOTHER:
Oil massage: Massage your scalp with coconut, olive or jojoba oil. This helps to retain moisture in the hair and smoothen the cuticle. Almond oil has been used for ages to reduce frizz. Apply a small amount of almond oil at the end of the hair before drying it. Argan oil is another popular oil these days for smoothening your hair. It is rich in vitamin C and E and helps in deep moisturizing.
Rice water rinse: Studies suggest that rice water (water which we throw while rinsing rice) contain inositol, a chemical which penetrates the dry hair and repairs them.
Apple cider vinegar rinse: Many hair products change the pH of your hair and make them more susceptible to dryness and damage. An apple cider vinegar rinse helps to restore pH and adds lustre to the hair.
Beer conditioner: Beer contains a protein which repairs damaged cuticles and makes the hair smooth and shiny.
SALON TREATMENT FOR DRY HAIR:
Keratin treatments have been the treatment of choice for managing dry, frizzy hair for quite some time now. This treatment involves coating of hair with keratin (hair protein) that keeps your hair smooth and shiny for around 4 weeks.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Dry hair is a pervasive problem. Hair become dry when the scalp is not able to make sufficient natural oils to smoothen your hair or when harsh environments cause moisture to escape from hair and render them dry. Incorrect hair care practices, exposure to extremely hot and dry climates and certain underlying health conditions like nutritional deficiencies and hypothyroidism can make your hair dry.
Massage your hair with warm oil. You can use coconut oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, or castor oil. These oils are rich in antioxidants and vitamin E. These oils lock moisture in the hair cuticles. Also, deep condition your hair regularly. Apply a deep conditioner and wear a shower cap. Wait for 15-30 minutes and then wash your hair.
A coconut oil mask which is kept overnight works wonders to keep your hair well hydrated. If coconut oil is not available, you could also use olive oil. Warm the oil, apply it on the scalp, cover it with a plastic cap and leave it overnight. Wash your hair in the morning to remove the oil. If you are comfortable, you can also use an egg and coconut oil hair mask. Whisk an egg and add coconut oil. Apply this mixture from hair roots to tips.
Olive oil penetrates the hair follicles and moisturizes them from inside out. Olive oil treatment not only fights frizz but also reduces dandruff and hair fall. For best results, olive oil masks should be applied at night and can be washed off in the morning.
Follow a proper hair care regime. Do periodic deep conditioning, eat healthy, do not expose your hair to harsh environments and chemicals. If your hair is extremely dry and don’t seem to improve in spite of taking all hair care measures, it is best to consult your doctor. You may be having certain health problems which may be responsible for dry hair.