More Than Skin Deep: Healthy habits for healthy hair

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Dear Scott: I am a 50-year-old female and I am experiencing excessive hair loss. I don’t know if it is male pattered baldness or not. My hair was thick at one time but now it is very thin. My scalp is dry and itchy and my hair is dry too. I use a dandruff shampoo that seems to help a little, but when I use it, my hair gets very dry, and it fades my hair color. I switch back and forth to regular shampoo in hopes of it helping with the dry hair but it doesn’t. Is there a shampoo you can recommend for me to try?

Answer: At the age of 35 years old the scalp and hair begin to go through some unpleasant changes. Overall excessive hair loss can be the result of many serious underlying conditions that should be checked by a physician. But there are some things that you can do, and not do, to create a better environment for your hair to grow.

If you want to improve the quality of your hair, start by eating plenty of orange foods. They are rich in the antioxidant beta-carotene necessary for the support of healthy hair growth and production of keratin. Vitamins A and C will also help ward off infections.

Supplementing your diet with Biotin twice a day may also help with the process of eliminating negative proteins caused by the increased amounts of testosterone associated with the aging process. It also aids with assisting the production of keratin needed for the replication of DNA associated with healthy hair, scalp and skin.

Shampooing hair too much, or too often can have unfavorable side effects. Shampoo your hair only once. Don’t do the repeat step on the back of the bottles. Use a gentle shampoo and products that will not dry the scalp. Switching back and forth with shampoos can cause an irritating, drying effect to the scalp. The opposite can occur too by the overstimulation of the sebaceous glands of the scalp, resulting in the production of excessive oil.

Many over the counter products are high in detergents and alcohol. Some favorite well-known salon products boasting to be all-natural actually have a plant derivative that is in fact, alcohol. Excessive amounts of alcohol in any hair product will remove hair color, dry the hair, and cause the scalp to became aggravated with repeated use. Hairspray that is high in alcohol content can increase your chances of experiencing dermatitis symptoms.

Check for a high concentration of alcohol in hairspray by taking a piece of fabric and draw a line on it with a ball-point ink pen. Take the hairspray you use on your hair and spray the line of ink. Try to get it out with a fresh cloth. If the ink comes out, there is too much alcohol. With repeated use, the scalp will become dry and so will your hair.

Scott Terwilliger, an Aiken salon owner, can be reached at scott.terwilliger@hotmail.com.


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