Taking care of dry hair


Dry hair is more than just a type of hair texture. It indicates a lack of moisture and nutrition.

Though genetics could be a contributing factor to your dry and frizzy hair, in most cases it is not the sole culprit. In fact, pollution and improper hair care account for more hair damage and lack of hydration in your scalp than any health condition. Excessive dryness also makes your hair prone to other problems such as split ends and hair loss, making your hair to look lifeless and aesthetically unappealing.

If you too are tired of dry hair and are looking for quick fixes for your problem, you might be glad to know that the solution is right at hand. And yes, inherently dry hair can also look alive and healthy.

(Read more: Itchy scalp symptoms, causes, treatment)

  1. Choose the right shampoo
  2. Shampoo in the right way
  3. Never forget to condition
  4. Avoid blow drying
  5. Avoid hair styling products
  6. Don't rub your hair
  7. Hot oil treatment to reduce dryness
  8. Decrease the frequency of shampooing
  9. Deep conditioning to reduce hair dryness
  10. Use a hair mask to reduce hair dryness
  11. Foods to reduce dryness in hair
  12. Use a humidifier to reduce hair dryness
  13. Treatment for dry hair
  14. Prevention from dry hair
  15. Causes of dry hair

Choose the right shampoo

There are shampoos available in the market which are specially made for people who are more susceptible to dry hair. People who have undergone chemical hair treatments like hair dying, colouring or highlighting can also use dry hair shampoo to prevent further damage to hair. Though they have a milder cleansing action as compared to normal or oily hair shampoo, they are designed to provide deep conditioning, which is the most urgent need for dry hair types. If you are concerned about your hair texture, check the label on the bottle before buying a shampoo.

Also, you can opt for natural or herbal alternatives. These shampoos have an additional benefit in the form of nourishing macronutrients and antioxidant compounds that help ward off most hair problems and also aid in maintaining the natural colour of your hair.

Shampoo in the right way

The first and foremost tip for preventing your hair from getting dry is to shampoo in the correct way. Everyone has their own style to shampoo their hair. It is totally fine to wash your hair in a way you are comfortable with. But there are certain pointers that you need to be aware of to avoid hair damage and breakage while you are busy cleaning your scalp.

  • Be gentle with your hair while washing.
  • Don't rub your hair too much; it generates friction, which results in loss of protein from hair shaft hence hair damage.
  • Don't use an excessive amount of shampoo, just take as much as your hair needs.

Never forget to condition

The very next thing that comes after shampooing is conditioning. Condition your hair as a ritual if you want to have healthy looking locks. Thorough conditioning helps to reduce friction, eliminate frizz, detangles hair and boost compatibility. Apart from playing these basic roles, conditioners add shine, smoothness to the hair shaft. Just like shampoos, conditioners are also available for various hair types. Opt for one that suits your hair type well and has a minimal amount of chemicals. Most effective conditioner ingredient is silicone. Quality of a conditioner depends on the type of silicone, its adherence to the hair and its wash out capacity. Always look for the good quality conditioner to get rid of active dryness.

Conditioners are not applied on the scalp, it is only meant for the length of hair or hair shaft. There are two types of conditioners available in the market, conventional conditioners, which have to be washed off and leave in conditioners, which are left on the hair as such. If you have curly and dry hair, leave in conditioners help in restoring hair quality and also makes your unruly hair to be manageable enough.

When in doubt, always go for trusted brands and safety labels.

Avoid blow drying

One more essential tip, to follow after every hair wash is to let the hair dry normally instead of using a hairdryer. A hair dryer will definitely make the task easy and quick for you but it takes away the natural moisture from your hair, which will ultimately lead to dryness. If are noticing changes in hair quality and texture, stop using heat on your hair for a while at least if you can't abandon it completely. You will definitely see improvement within a few days.

Avoid hair styling products

Hair styling products are one of the major reasons for dry and damaged hair. Most of these products contain harmful chemicals that damage your hair massively by taking out the natural shine of your hair and leaving it dry and dull. Furthermore, hair straighteners and rollers break down hair proteins, making your hair weak and prone to damage.

Don’t experiment with all the products available in the market. Instead, look for specific products that contain natural ingredients.

Argan oil is one such ingredient that has made a special place for itself in various cosmetic products. Not only does it hydrate and nourish your hair shafts but also it prevents inflammatory conditions of the scalp thus improving hair strength and quality.

(Read more: Dandruff symptoms, causes, treatment)

To get all of these benefits from argan oil you can buy it in the form of hair serums, hair conditioners, leave in conditioners and hair cleansers.

If you want to use a hair straightener or curling rods, make sure to keep their heat to a minimum.

Don't rub your hair

While towel drying, most people tend to rub their hair vigorously, which leads to excessive friction between hair shafts, making them lose their hydration. Be a bit gentle with your hair and pat dry instead or just wrap your hair in a soft towel to let it absorb some of the extra water.

Also, use a wide-toothed comb on wet hair and be gentle while brushing your hair. Brushing also leads to frizz and hair damage. You can also buy a soft bristled brush for regular combing.

Hot oil treatment to reduce dryness

Hair oiling has always been one of the most sought after remedy for almost all hair problems. And why not? Proper oiling helps lock in moisture and adds lustre to your hair. It also aids in nourishing your hair follicles and scalp and is an excellent stress-busting tool. Surely most of you remember getting that regular head massage from your mothers or grandmothers. Sadly, with age, it becomes difficult to give as much time to proper hair care as you should.

Though if you genuinely want to improve the quality of your hair, you can absolutely not skip this ritual. If you don’t have time, massage your hair with any hair oil just an hour before washing. Though coconut oil and olive oil work best in promoting hair strength.

(Read more: Best hair oil for men and women)

A study reveals coconut oil has high affinity to the hair as a result gets absorbed easily by the hair shaft. The attributing factors according to researchers is its low molecular weight and straight linear chain. The more the penetration potential of the oil, the better is its effectivity.

Another important thing to keep in mind is to slightly heat the oil before oiling. The warmth of the oil upgrades its penetration potential, making it more potent for improving hair quality and texture. You should oil your hair two times a week for at least a month to see the evident changes.

Don’t forget to put a small amount of oil to your hair after shampooing to control dryness and frizz.

Decrease the frequency of shampooing

Shampoos cleanse the scalp as well as hair, which is essential for maintaining the health and hygiene of your tresses. However, overdoing shampoo affects the hair adversely by stealing their gloss and shine. If you have a habit of shampooing every day or alternate day, this might be the reason for the dryness of your hair. One should shampoo their hair once or twice a week. Try using shampoo customised for dry hair for best results. These shampoos are gentle to your hair and have deep conditioning properties that decrease frizz and dryness in your hair.

Deep conditioning to reduce hair dryness

While oiling and conditioning are more than enough to reduce excessive dryness in hair, if you still notice your hair losing their quality day by day, maybe it's time to pamper your hair a bit more. And the best way to do that is by deep conditioning. Deep conditioning will give all the essential nutrients your hair is craving for. Unlike normal conditioners ingredients in a deep conditioner has a better penetration capacity so they can go deeper into your hair shaft and have longer lasting effects than either oiling or conditioning alone. A deep conditioner usually involves a leave in time for a few minutes before you can rinse it. This is the time required for its components to reach in your cuticle and start their action. They also have a thicker consistency than your normal rinse out conditioners and generally contain more natural ingredients. So, the next time you find yourself struggling with dry hair just buy a deep conditioner to revert the condition before it starts to damage your mane.

Use a hair mask to reduce hair dryness

Hair masks provide deep conditioning to the hair and scalp and help in restoring the structural as well as functional integrity of the hair. There are various hair masks available in the market. Alternatively, you can also make a hair mask at home.

A study indicates a few natural ingredients, which work incredibly well to bring back the quality of hair. These include egg, honey, yoghurt, fish oil, butter and aloe vera. You can apply any of the individual ingredients on your hair once a week or mix a few of them in varied proportions to use on a regular basis.

Apply any hair mask for at least 1 month to see noticeable changes. Every time you apply hair mask leave it for half an hour at least to do the work it is meant for.

Foods to reduce dryness in hair

Only if your hair is healthy from inside will they look lustrous from outside. To make this possible, you have to make a few changes in your diet by including foods which your hair need to be healthy and beautiful.

Since your hair are mainly made of protein, including protein-rich sources like fish, cheese, meat, egg, yoghurt, legumes, seeds and nuts will be an excellent option for improving their quality as well as growth.

But proteins are not the only nutrients that make up a healthy mane. Healthy fats such as fish, egg and olive oil help lock hydration in hair and keep your hair shaft intact and glossy. Also, vitamins and minerals are an integral part of the hair and extremely essential for maintaining as well as regulating hair quality and growth. Vitamin C, B, A and D are mainly responsible for hair health. So, adding more of these vitamins would definitely lead to an improvement in the texture and quality of your hair.

Furthermore, minerals such as zinc, iron, selenium and calcium are important to make an important part of various metabolic processes that are directly or indirectly involved in maintaining hair quality and growth. Eat wholesome grains, green leafy vegetables, fruits, eggs, fish and meat to get the right amount of vitamins and minerals your hair and body requires.

Use a humidifier to reduce hair dryness

You already know that environment and climate has a direct impact on the overall health of an individual. For obvious reasons, dry summers and winters have the most severe impact on dry hair types. To eliminate excessive dryness of hair and provide adequate hydration and moisture to your tresses in these seasons you can use a humidifier. Humidifier functions to regulate as well as maintain an optimum humidity in the air, thereby making sure that your hair breathes in a balanced environment. Though it might not help you in an outdoor environment, if you spend most of your time in an indoor setting you can definitely opt for this alternative.

However, if you don’t want mould growth or respiratory infections, make sure to clean the humidifier after every use and use only distilled water in it.

Treatment for dry hair

If you have dry hair, prevention methods would definitely help in putting a stopper to further damage but to improve the condition of your hair you need to put some extra effort along with the prevention tips mentioned above. So, read on to know what all you should do to get your lustrous hair back.

Prevention from dry hair

If your hair has started to show the first signs of dryness or you are just concerned about your hair quality and want to keep being one step ahead of dry hair problems, you can start taking some preventive measures to nip this condition in the bud. To help you with this, some of the preventive measures are mentioned below.

Causes of dry hair

There are various causes of dry hair including environmental factors, genetic factors, health factors as well as personal factors. The reason for dry hair varies from person to person. Some of these include:

  • Excessive hair washing: Washing your hair too frequently will take out the natural oil and moisture from your hair, making it look brittle and full of frizz.
  • Excessive blow drying: Heat saps out the moisture and hydration from hair. Regular blow drying will make the hair appear dull and lifeless.
  • Climate change: Sudden changes in climate or excessive heat and dryness in the air are some of the major causes determining the quality of your hair. Hot climate acts just like any heat treatment, making your hair to lose its moisture and thus appear dull and dry.
  • Malnutrition: Hair is an integral part of the body. If your body is not able to get sufficient nutrients, it is obvious that your hair will also lack all of those nutrients. While it may not exactly lead to dryness, it would certainly make your hair to appear unhealthy. (Read more: Malnutrition types)
  • Anorexia nervosa: Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder where an individual develops an aversion to food, thinking that it might lead to weight gain. Skipping meals leads to lack of nutrition, making your skin as well as hair appear starved and lifeless.
  • Hair products: Most hair products including some hair cleansers, dyes and colours contain harsh chemicals, which take away the natural shine and lustre from hair. Bleaching your hair or using hair sprays and gels also lead to hair damage and loss of natural oils from your scalp.
  • Scurvy: This is a vitamin C deficiency disease which mainly affects gums and oral health. However, in the long term, it may even affect the quality of your hair. Late symptoms of scurvy manifest in the form of dry hair, which are prone to damage and hair fall.
  • Genetics: Genetics plays an important role in determining the texture as well as the colour of hair. Apart from normal dry hair, there is a disease condition known as uncombable hair syndrome, which is characterized by dry, frizzy hair. This condition usually appears at the age of 3 to 12 years and is associated with the abnormal direction of hair growth that is in a direction opposite to the original growth. It may become so severe that the individual is unable to comb or detangle their hair.
  • Other conditions: Apart from these common causes of dry hair, there are few systemic disease conditions associated with dryness of hair like hypoparathyroidism, hypothyroidism, Menke's kinky hair syndrome.

References

  1. Better health channel. Department of Health and Human Services [internet]. State government of Victoria; Scurvy
  2. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Uncombable hair syndrome
  3. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Dry hair
  4. Maria Fernanda Reis Gavazzoni Dias. Hair Cosmetics: An Overview. 2015 Jan-Mar; 7(1): 2–15.PMID: 25878443
  5. Paschal D'Souza and Sanjay K Rathi. Shampoo and Conditioners: What a Dermatologist Should Know?. 2015 May-Jun; 60(3): 248–254.PMID: 26120149.
  6. National Service Center for Environmental Publications:United states environment protection agency. Techniques to Achieve Naturally Healthy Hair
  7. Rele AS, Mohile RB. Effect of mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil on prevention of hair damage.. 2003 Mar-Apr;54(2):175-92. PMID: 12715094
  8. Abdel Naser Zaid, Nidal Amin Jaradat,corresponding author Ahmad Mustafa Eid, Hamzeh Al Zabadi, Abdulsalam Alkaiyat, and Saja Adam Darwish. Ethnopharmacological survey of home remedies used for treatment of hair and scalp and their methods of preparation in the West Bank-Palestine. 2017; 17: 355. PMID: 28679382
  9. Zuzanna Sabina Goluch-Koniuszy. Nutrition of women with hair loss problem during the period of menopause. 2016 Mar; 15(1): 56–61. PMID: 27095961
  10. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Humidifiers and health
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