Dry Hair Dilemma
If you are amongst those who assume that you have been born with dry hair, then you are highly mistaken. While genetics do play a role in deciding the texture of your hair, in very rare cases, some people have dry hair because of their genetic inheritance. Dry hair is an often ignored condition which can be treated. The shampoo bottles which sell according to dry hair type are the biggest examples of marketing gimmicks. A shampoo bottle cannot treat your dry hair and it can add to your dry hair woes if not chosen properly.
Many women suffer from dry hair problems and not many are aware of dry hair causes. Many resort to temporary treatments such as chemical straightening and heat styling which damage the hair all the more in the long run. The causes of dry hair are simple lifestyle related which can be easily rectified. The main cause for dry hair is that the natural oil in your hair is being ripped off totally and regularly. If not checked and treated in time, dry hair can lead to severe hair breakage, brittleness and hair loss.
Fixing dry hair cannot happen overnight and it may take some time for you to analyze what suits your hair and what doesn't. This entire process of trial and error consists of simple home remedies and lifestyle changes.
The main causes of dry hair are lack of moisture and lack of natural oil. When the natural oil is ripped off your hair and when your hair loses its natural moisture, it appears lifeless, dull, frizzy and may develop split ends. Split ends occur when the hair strand does not have enough moisture or nutrition to support a single hair strand properly and so it splits into two. Dry hair can affect both women and men and dry hair problems increase as a person gets older.
A healthy hair strand has three layers. The natural oil in the outer layer protects the inner two layers and also gives a shine to the hair from the outside. If a healthy hair strand is coated in its natural oils, these oils reflect light making the hair shiny. In dry hair, the outer layer breaks apart and the resultant hair strand appears dull, dry and lifeless.
Let us read in detail about dry hair causes and treatment.
1. Bad Weather - One of the primary causes
Extreme climatic conditions render our hair dull and lifeless. Summer leads to overexposure to the sun, swimming and outdoor activities which can dehydrate our hair. Winter makes us stay in overheated conditions indoors which again makes the hair dry. Varying temperatures can rip off the moisture from the hair. It is common to experience dry hair with split ends in winter.
2. Smoothening Treatments - One of the major causes of the urban era
The availability of smoothening treatments and the desire to groom your hair in a different style every time has made our hair more exposed to harmful chemicals. Smoothening treatments are nothing but strong chemicals which may effectively smooth out natural hair making it appear smooth and soft but if done on a regular basis, these treatments harm the natural buildup of protein in a hair strand making it brittle.
Chemicals used for curling, straightening or coloring the hair are so harsh and strong that one needs to wear gloves while applying them on hair. Then imagine the condition of the hair strand which is nakedly exposed to such chemicals regularly! Hair is quite porous and much more delicate than human skin. A hair strand is highly stressed when it comes in contact with chemical colors and bleaches. If you must color or style your hair, look for organic and gentle products in the market.
Today, many companies are selling chemical-free and harmless hair styling products. You have to look out for these varieties.
3. Hormonal Changes - another factor
The body goes through a lot of hormonal changes during pregnancy, menopause and birth control pills. These physiological changes in the body lead to an adverse effect on our hair. The hair during this phase might get brittle, dry and lifeless.
4. Using the wrong shampoo or too much shampoo
Shampoo plays a big role in hair dryness. Always choose a shampoo which is right for your hair type. A shampoo that does not suit your hair type will only rip off the moisture from your hair making it dry and dull.
It is ideal to shampoo your hair thrice a week. If you wash your hair only once a week, you will let the dirt and grime collect in your hair making it lifeless and dandruff prone. Shampooing your hair every other day or every day causes the natural oils to get washed away resulting in dry hair and itchy scalp.
Too little shampooing can have a similar effect, allowing oils and products to build up and block natural oils from being released. Make sure you always apply a conditioner to your hair after shampooing. Also, do not tie your hair when wet after a shampoo as this will add stress to the elasticity of the hair strand making it brittle.
5. Brushing hair when wet leads to dry hair
Hair gets more susceptible to breakage if it is wet. This may not cause dry hair directly but will lead to split ends and brittle hair. Try to use a leave-in conditioner after a shampoo which detangles your hair making it easier to finger comb and set your hair until dry.
6. Daily heat styling
Heat styling is exposing the hair to such a high amount of heat that curly hair becomes straight and wavy hair too becomes straight. While straightened hair does look good, you are causing a lot of stress on the hair strand making it change its texture. Heat styling can be used to make straight hair curly or wavy too. Exposing the hair to direct heat makes the hair lose moisture and become dry and dull. While hair can be heat-styled once a while, if done regularly, it will damage your hair.
Everyone's hair texture is different and you need to choose hair styles which do not require altering your hair's natural texture. Also, keep in mind to use a protective hair spray if you must style your hair with a heat styler.
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Certain medications also have an adverse effect on the hair leading to thinning hair or dry hair. Medications such as anti-depressants, acne medications, chemotherapy drugs, antibiotics, weight loss medications or such others may damage your hair. Talk to your physician if you feel medications are drying your hair. He might prescribe some vitamins and other medications to treat deficiency and hair loss. Sometimes, simply changing the medications can cure your hair woes.
Sometimes, dry hair is not in your hands. If your mom and dad or either one of your parents have dry hair and itchy scalp, you might inherit it. If you have dry hair genetically, there is still much you can do. Things like the proper haircut for dry hair and leave-in serums might be some solutions to tackle your dry hair problems,
Remedies to Treat Dry Hair
There are numerous home remedies and certain other easily available remedies which help us treat dry hair and prevent hair loss. Some of these remedies are listed below:
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1. Apply thicker moisturizer in winter
Winter months require heavier and thicker moisturizers not only for the skin but also for hair. Lack of humidity in the hair and freezing temperatures cause the natural moisture levels to deplete. A thicker hair conditioner after a shampoo or a leave-in conditioner helps in protecting the natural moisture of the hair and keeping it hydrated.
2. Use an Ion Blow Dryer
An Ion blow dryer is a latest technology in hair drying. The ions dry the hair from the outside as compared to a traditional hair dryer which dries a hair strand from within. This technology does not only help in improving the health of your hair but also helps in drying the hair faster.
3. Straighten the hair while wet
A great way to straighten the hair is to straighten them while wet after applying some argan oil onto the damp hair. When you run the iron over it, it results in quick conditioning treatment.
4. Try not to use hair straighteners or other heat stylers
If you can, try and avoid hair straighteners and instead go for a haircut suiting your hair texture.
5. Go in for deep conditioning treatment once a week
A deep-conditioning treatment once a week helps in restoring the lost hair moisture. You can make many hair masks at home with ingredients available in your kitchen. Hair masks treat frizzy and dry hair making them soft and manageable.
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6. Use sulfate-free formulas
Shampoos, conditioners and hair products with sulfates are very harmful for hair as they fade the hair color. They also remove moisture from the hair. Buy sulfate-free formulas to prevent your hair from getting frizzy and dry.
7. Healthy diet
Vitamin deficiency leads to hair loss, frizzy hair and dry hair. Make sure you eat a diet with the required vitamins and nutrients to condition and nourish your hair from within. Eat plenty of nuts, fruits and vegetables loaded with essential vitamins and minerals. Deficiency in vitamins A, E and C may lead to dry and dull hair.
7. Essential oil treatments
Many essential oil treatments such as argan oil and coconut oil help to restore the moisture in dry hair. You need to massage some warm oil into your hair and gently rub in circular motions until it penetrates into the scalp. These essential oils are loaded with vitamins and other nourishing ingredients which make your hair soft and bouncy. Coconut oil has been used since time immemorial for the nourishment of hair.
Dry hair can be due to an internal vitamin deficiency in the body or due to harsh exposure of chemicals and sunlight on the hair. In extreme climatic conditions, make sure to step out after covering your hair with a scarf. Eat a healthy and balanced diet to nourish your hair from within. Interpret your lifestyle and make necessary lifestyle changes to protect and prevent your hair from dryness.