It can be long and wavy, short and straight, or smooth and shiny. Hair comes in many different lengths, styles and colors. However, there are also many myths and misconceptions about her. This article covers some of the most common myths, facts and misconceptions so you can learn more about how to take the best care of your hair.
Some people consider gray hair a distinct and beautiful feature, but for others it's a painful reminder that they're getting older. However you think about it, gray or white hair is almost unavoidable with age.
Scientists have gone to great lengths to investigate the cause of gray hair, and they believe they have tackled the root of the problem. Hair gets its color from a pigment called melanin , which is produced by melanocyte cells in hair follicles. Researchers have found that melanocytes accumulate cumulative damage over the years, eventually preventing them from producing melanin. Studies cite DNA damage and a buildup of hydrogen peroxide in the follicles as possible causes of this disruption in melanin production. Without melanin, the new hair that grows has no pigment , making it appear gray, white, or silver.
Some people go gray at a young age, as early as their teens. Premature gray hair is usually determined by genes. So if your mom or dad went gray early, there's a chance you'll experience that too.
Normally, hair goes through a regular growth cycle. During the anagen phase, which lasts two to six years or more, hair grows. During the telogen phase, which lasts about three months, hair rests. At the end of the telogen phase, hair falls out and is replaced by new hair. The average person loses about 100 hairs per day. Hair loss can also have other causes, such as medications or diseases.
As men age, they usually lose the hair on top of their head. Then there is finally a horseshoe-shaped ring of hair on the sides . This form of hair loss is called male pattern baldness . It is caused by genes and fueled by the male hormone testosterone. These genes come from both parents, so the idea that men look like their mother's father is a myth. In female pattern baldness, the hair loss is different, it becomes thinner at the top of the scalp while the hair in the front remains intact.
Factors that contribute to hair damage can include birth control pills, medications for high blood pressure, or chemotherapy. Other things can also have a strong influence on hair damage, such as severe stress, hormonal problems or pregnancy.
Certain hair care practices such as wearing tight ponytails or regular bleaching can also lead to hair loss. Some people compulsively pull out their hair, this psychological disorder is called trichotillomania. If hair loss is related to a medication, stopping the medication usually prevents further hair loss and hair will eventually grow back. Even after most diseases, radiation or chemotherapy, the hair usually grows back.
Damage to the hair
Regular blow-drying, straightening, highlights and a perm can wreak havoc on hair. This can make it brittle, broken and unmanageable. Split ends and dry hair are just two casualties of over-styling. Excessive styling and heat can cause split ends, which occur when the hair's protective outer layer (the cuticle) becomes damaged and peels off. Some treatments for split ends are:
- Gently brush with a soft, flexible hairbrush; do not overbrush.
- Avoid towel drying. If you dry your hair with a towel, rub it gently.
- Use a conditioner, and apply a deep conditioner about once a week.
Hair needs moisture and a certain amount of oil to keep it looking healthy. A number of things can dry out hair, including:
- Wash too often
- Use an aggressive shampoo
- Excessive blow-drying or use of a curling or straightening iron
- Exposure to sun, wind and dry air
- Use of dyes
- Poor nutrition
- Certain medications
The scalp contains a natural oil/sebum that keeps the skin lubricated. Sebum is produced by the sebaceous glands. Sometimes these glands work overtime and produce too much oil, leading to an oily scalp. Oily hair can look dull, limp and lifeless and it can be more difficult to manage. To treat oily hair, opt for a gentle shampoo specially formulated to control sebum.
Pharmacist Dirk Christiaen
Founder of Metis Supplements