Hair care is the umbrella term for cosmetology and hygiene that involves hair growing from the human scalp. To a lesser extent, it also involves pubic, facial, and other body hair. Hair care routines vary as per the person’s culture as well as physical attributes, types and properties of their hair. Hair can be trimmed, colored, plucked, shaved, or removed using treatments like sugaring, threading, and waxing.
Hair care services are provided in barbershops, day spas and salons, as well as a variety of products commercially available for home use. Laser hair removal along with electrolysis are some of the most popular treatments, often available by licensed professionals in clinics or speciality spas.
Is Hair Cleaning an Important Part of Hair Care?
Hair washing is an important procedure that helps in the removal of excess oil and sweat, along with unwanted content from the scalp and hair. Hair is often washed during bathing or showering using shampoo, which is a specialized surfactant. Shampoos are generally mixed with water on the scalp and hair. It helps break the water’s surface tension, allowing soaking of hair. This is called the wetting action. This wetting action happens due to the shampoo molecule’s head which attracts water to the hair shaft. On the contrary, the shampoo molecule’s tail gets attracted to the dirt, oil and grease, present on the hair shaft.
Shampooing’s physical action turns dirt and grease into an emulsion, which is rinsed away with the help of water. This is called the emulsifying action. Sulfate-free shampoos are considered to be much less harmful for use on colored hair compared to normal shampoos containing sulfates. Sulfates are toxic since they strip away the scalp’s natural oils along with hair dye.
Sulfates also result in the foaming effect when using shampoos. Shampoos’ pH is between 4 and 6. Acidic shampoos are commonly used and help maintain the hair condition since these don’t burgeon the hair shaft and never strip the natural oils.
What Are Some of the Most Common Hair Issues?
Hair growth takes place for some time but tends to fall off, with new hair taking the fallen hair’s place. Each hair strand undergoes this process, so if there are around one lakh hair strands on the scalp, nearly 100 strands fall every day. Therefore, hair loss of around a hundred every day is quite normal.
Although hair loss has always been a common issue among men, thinning hair or hair loss has gained prevalence among women as well. Among men, it is male pattern balding while among women, hair loss is an issue brought on by changing hormones, medication, stress, and sometimes menopause. Moreover, a variety of hair styling products (excessive heat or chemicals) cause hair loss.
Dryness often dandruff as well as white flakes, which lead to plucking of hair from the root during the shedding of the flakes. As a result of excessive dandruff, an infection can take place, which in turn causes pain. At this point, one needs to go for specialized medical treatment. Most of the shampoos in the market are ineffective for treating severe dandruff and can, in fact, worsen the issue. Excessive shampooing can lead to hair dryness.
Dandruff can be described as scaly particles that stick to the hair’s root. It is often brought on by an infection, a deficient diet, or slow metabolism. A number of anti-dandruff shampoos, as well as conditioners of high quality, are available in the market and are often recommended by a doctor.
Greasy or Oil Hair
The scalp secretes a type of oil called sebum, which lubricates the skin, and is generated by the sebaceous glands. These glands are sometimes overactive, which means they generate excess oil, leading to greasy hair. This hair issue is a major problem among people who prefer cleanliness. To address this issue, people cleanse their hair using a gentle shampoo to bring down the sebum production.
What is the Relation Between Nutrition and Hair Care?
Genetics, as well as health, remain some of the major factors when it comes to healthy hair. Proper nutrition ensures that hair remains healthy. Hair’s living part is present under the scalp wherein the root is housed within the hair follicle. The overall follicle, as well as the root, gets nutrition by way of arteries, with the blood carrying the nutrients to the root/follicle. If the person is dealing with some health condition owing to trauma, chronic medical disorder, stress, medications, heavy metal presence in food and water, and smoking etc, can affect the health of hair, its growth rate, along with its appearance.
Consuming a diet containing protein, vegetables, fruits, carbohydrates, and fat is important for ensuring healthy hair. Any deficiency is generally indicated via the condition of the hair. Mild anemia can lead to shedding coupled with hair loss. Mostly, vitamin B is the most significant nutrition for healthy hair, particularly biotin. B5 or pantothenic acid provides the hair with flexibility, shine and strength, helping prevent hair loss as well as graying. On the other hand, B6 helps prevent the development of dandruff and is found in egg yolk, liver, and cereals. Vitamin B12 prevents hair loss and is mostly found in eggs, fish, milk, and chicken.
Under strain, the body reprioritizes a lot of its processes. For instance, the foremost attention goes to the vital organs, which means that oxygenated, healthy blood does not first go to the hair follicle, which translates into less healthy hair or even slower growth rate. While not every hair growth problem stems from malnutrition, it is a critical symptom during diagnosis.
Protein, essential omega-3 fatty acids, iron, and vitamin B12 are generally found in fish, and help prevent dull hair and dry scalp. Dark green vegetables comprise significant levels of vitamin A and C, which facilitate the production of sebum and serve as a natural hair conditioner. Legumes contain a high rate of protein that helps foster hair growth and also has zinc, biotin, and iron. Biotin activates certain types of enzymes that encourage the metabolism of carbon dioxide along with fats, carbohydrates, and protein. Biotin deficiency can lead to brittle hair and result in hair loss. To alleviate the chances of deficiency, one can find several biotin sources in cereal-grain products, egg yolk, liver, yeast, and soy flour.