It's Never Too Late to Protect Your Hair - Start Today!
Hair loss is gradual. You may not realize you are thinning or losing your hair until you see a noticeable difference in the mirror – or on a selfie. The first signs of thinning are usually found in a comb, hairbrush and the shower drain. It's only when 30% of your healthy, growing hair has already disappeared that you begin to see the difference. But don’t panic! Starting a daily hair care regimen at the first signs, or even better, before you start experiencing thinning or loss of hair is crucial to not only keeping what you’ve got but also preserving the health of your hair. Although there is an overwhelming amount of hair care products out on the market today, there are a few things you can do at home to help protect and care for your hair.
Here are seven tips to protect your hair
1. No more daily washing
Your body knows how to take care of itself. That's why it produces natural oils to protect and lubricate your hair. If you wash your hair too often you strip it of those natural oils and your hair will begin to look dry and brittle. Worse still, your scalp may try to make up for those lost oils by trying to produce even more – and that could result in scalp irritation and dandruff. Washing your hair a few times a week as opposed to every day helps support your natural hair growth cycle and your overall scalp health, and will help keep your hair balanced and looking healthy.
2. Protect wet hair
Your hair is at its most vulnerable when wet. Massage your hair gently with your fingertips when washing and avoid vigorous rubbing when drying your hair as this can increase breakage, not to mention further damaging thin and brittle hair. Also make sure to use a microfiber towel to absorb excess moisture from your hair instead of a rough, cotton-based towel. As wet hair dries it contracts and shortens, so if you have it gathered together in a tight bun or ponytail it can pull on your scalp and may result in hair loss, commonly called traction alopecia. This is one form of hair loss that is totally in your control, so be gentle with wet hair.
3. Go sulfate-free
Your hair needs moisture to remain supple, lustrous and healthy. Sulfates found in some shampoos and conditioners are extremely drying and can strip the hair of its natural oils. Because hair needs all the moisture it can get, a sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner is the only way to go. Don't forget that other source of unwanted chemicals either – chlorine in the swimming pool. Before jumping in the pool, wet your hair under the tap so it will absorb less pool water. And when you get out rinse or wash your hair as soon as possible. You can also strengthen your hair by using moisturizers to help the cuticle or outer layer of your hair retain moisture and stay smooth and shiny.
4. Be careful when styling your hair
Over styling your hair by using products like spray, mousse, gel and hot styling tools can all contribute to damaging your hair. Not to mention hairstyles that constantly pull on your hair, like tight braids or ponytails, as this eventually stretches and weakens your hair strands. Using too many hair styling products together can also cause product build up and disrupt your scalp’s natural state, so keep it simple and choose only those products that are right for your hair. Be wary of hot styling tools such as your hairdryer, curling wand, and straighteners, as consistent heat makes your hair prone to breakage and more likely to become brittle and fall out. When you do use these tools, make sure you use a heat protectant to shield your hair from heat damage, and condition and hydrate your hair to help it heal.
5. Nourish your scalp
Since hair is produced by the scalp, providing a strong and healthy foundation for your follicles is crucial to growing strong, healthy hair. Don’t forget, your scalp is still skin and therefore also undergoes the biological aging process. Maintaining a healthy, youthful scalp keeps your hair better rooted and growing strong. Your scalp needs nutrients, oxygen, and light to provide energy to your follicles. Clinical studies have shown that low-level (cool) laser light therapy can be a highly effective way to jumpstart your follicles, stop the progression of hair loss and stimulate re-growth. HairMax® has developed home-use laser technology for this very purpose and has led the way with its innovative HairMax LaserBand and LaserComb devices to help hair loss sufferers regrow their hair naturally, without worrisome side effects.
6. Eliminate pillow friction
Get a slippery pillowcase. Repeated friction between brittle hair and a pillowcase could be more damaging than you’d expect. Cosmetic surgeons and hair transplant doctors have known this for years and recommend this to their patients. Sleeping on a satin, bamboo or silk pillowcase can minimize this friction and prevent overnight hair breakage, as well as give you a luxurious night's sleep. Also important: getting enough sleep! The healing process happens at night when your body is at rest – entering a “repair and rejuvenate mode” while you sleep. Lack of sleep can affect the body’s ability to repair and regenerate, which can influence hair growth. Well-rested hair is healthy hair!
7. Boost your immune system
A healthy diet is key to growing strong and healthy hair. Your cells need the right nutrition to convert into energy and rejuvenate skin which in turn promotes healthy hair growth. Ensuring your body takes in as many hair-friendly minerals and nutrients benefits thinning hair and helps promote hair growth and hair health. Look for foods that contain plenty of minerals, nutrients, vitamins and proteins that will give your immune system a boost, such as vitamin B7 (also known as biotin) which is found in almonds and peanuts, omega-3 fatty acids prevalent in fish like salmon, and zinc which can be found in seeds and beans. Adding supplements specially formulated for growing hair to your daily diet is another great way to get all the essential nutrients your hair needs. Based on an article by The International Hair Authority™, and reprinted with permission