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Friday, 10 December 2010

Damaged Hair and What to do about it!

What causes Damaged Hair? Well, usually, we do. Poor diet is a major factor in unhealthy hair as well as incorrect brushing, (see the Grooming posts) combing, washing, styling, sun, sea, swimming pools, not to mention shampoos, conditioners, hair dyes, straighteners, perms, gels, waxes and hairsprays all have a big part to play in the daily damage done to our hair. Yep, pretty much everything damages our hair.

Split ends, flakey scalp, dull and lifeless hair and excess hair loss at a young age may all be attributed to your lifestyle choices.

There are treatments that you can use to help repair and heal badly damaged hair but none of them work with only one application and many of them contain a cocktail of chemicals that add to long-term damage. In short, if you continue to inflict daily damage on your hair you are never going to get the upper hand. Therefore it is important to re-learn the basics about hair care and begin a routine to correct the damage already done, or shave your head and start again! If it seems that I am assuming that everyone has damaged hair I apologise. I know that there are women out there who do have beautiful, strong, healthy hair but I am sad to say they are in the minority and they can, of course, simply skip this post.

The Most Common Causes of Lifeless Hair

A poor diet or unhealthy lifestyle will show up as damaged hair. Other factors include, stress, hormone fluctuations, tiredness and the weather. With all of these factors conspiring to give us bad hair days s it any wonder we get overwrought about our hair?!
First and foremost it is important to step back and view the situation objectively. We all of us are envious of someone else’s hair. Few of us are happy with what nature has given us and most of us are disappointed after trying the numerous remedies that adorn the shelves of supermarket and chemist.
Stop yourself before you buy your next hair product. Look at it and ask yourself, am I buying this because I believe the girl in the advert? Am I buying this because the picture shows a beautiful person with unbelievable hair? If there is even a moment's hesitation... then perhaps it’s a good idea to just put it back on the shelf and think about it rationally before spending your money.

Healthy hair under the microscope shows that it is coated with a layer of scales that fit smoothly one slightly overlapping the other. With damaged hair these scales can become rough and raised slightly from the shaft of the hair. This kind of damage can be caused by chemicals in hair products or simply rough handling with comb or brush. If the hair is weakened by the use of chemicals then even using hair clips or ties can cause breakages and lasting damage. When enough individual hairs have been damaged in this way the overall condition of the hair looks very bad. The gland at the base of the hair secretes a special oil designed to lubricate the hair shaft and keep these scales smooth and damage free.

Unfortunately hair wash products (shampoos, which are usually made from mild detergent) will often strip all of the oil from the scalp so cleanly that the hair is starved of its natural lubricant, dries out and breaks. The scalp will then overproduce oil in order to rectify the situation giving you an oily scalp that feels greasy and unclean. You reach for the shampoo designed for greasy hair and the vicious circle begins again.

It is almost worse for those who suffer from dry hair. The hair never seems to have enough oil on it, it never appears shiny or glossy and so products that promise shine by coating the hair with silicon are used. Unfortunately these products are really only short term solutions, since the coating on your hair actually starves the hair shaft of the nutrients that it craves and causes it to further dry out. Ultimately, over time, the hair gets worse not better.

So what do I do first?

The first thing you do is read the Grooming posts. You can begin your new grooming regime right away. Incorrect grooming is often the primary cause of damaged hair. The second thing you do is read the Hair Wash post (coming next) - after this you will be able to make an informed decision about which kind of hair cleaning system you need to use.
As well as reading these posts... YOU WILL NEED PATIENCE. Fixing unhealthy hair takes time - time to improve your diet and to refine your hair care regime. At least 6 weeks of your new healthy hair care lifestyle is required before you can say definitely whether something is working or not. This is NOT A QUICK FIX. In nature there are really no quick fixes.

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