How To Take Care of Hair
General Hair Care
Hair care is not just a matter of vanity; if your hair looks good you will feel good – and anything that affects your sense of well-being is worth attention.
However luxuriant your hair was as a child and teenager, if you neglect or abuse it, you will probably suffer split ends and it will be lank or brittle later in life. So have it cut or trimmed regularly, according to how quickly it grows.
Wash it regularly, according to its type and where you live; if you live in the heart of a big city you almost certainly need to wash it more regularly than if you live in the country.
Nowadays you can buy shampoos for all textures and types of hair. Some make pretty extravagantly claims – boasting, for instance, that they can thicken it. This is not possible, although they may leave a film on the hair shaft so that it appears thicker.
It will also probably need washing more often because such a coating attracts dirt in the same way that setting lotion or lacquer can. So don’t be brainwashed by the advertisers. Save your money by buying the least expensive shampoo the cleanses your hair without causing you adverse reactions.
The essential ingredient in shampoo is a detergent (which varies in concentration according to the manufacturer) to remove accumulated dust and excess grease from your hair.
Most of the other ingredients, apart from something to prevent the detergent from irritating your scalp, are included just to woo you: perfumes, conditioners, foam-boosters, herbs, and so on.
When you have discovered an acceptable shampoo, if you wash your hair more than once a week, one lathering should be quite sufficient. Just make sure that you dispense the shampoo evenly through your hair.
Once you have worked it into a lather, leave it for just 30 seconds or so, then rinse it off thoroughly. Do not be tempted to use an extra amount for good measure – it will simply take longer to rinse.
Whether or not you need to use a conditioner depends on the health of your hair. If it is brittle from too frequent coloring or perming sessions, a conditioner may help. But the sensible thing is to give your hair a few months to recover before subjecting it to further treatments of that kind.
Perms and dyes are usually strongly alkaline, and therefore disturb the hair’s natural pH balance. And because they distort the keratin scales, the hair tends to become wiry and difficult to comb through.
Some dos and don’ts for hair care:
- Do use a wide-toothed comb to untangle wet or damp hair. A fine one will drag on the hair and may even tug it out.
- Do hold each section of the hair as you comb it through and gently comb the length below your hand, i.e. furthest away from your scalp. This safeguards the length below your hand, ie furthest away from your scalp. This safeguards against tugging the hair out by the roots if you encounter a particularly stubborn tangle.
- Do towel-dry your hair at least every other time you wash it, to protect it from the dyeing effects of electric blow-dryers, or electric rollers.
- Do, if you must use heated rollers, first wind a tissue around the ends of your hair to protect it a little.
- Don’t color-shampoo your hair a second or third time in rapid succession after a first result that was a disappointment.
- Don’t do a full-head home perm until you have done a test curl as instructed, even if you have used that particular brand successfully before. You may in the meantime have developed an allergy and so create terrible problems for yourself.
- Don’t use spiky brush rollers; remove the inner brush and use the roller on its own. Better still, use cushioned rollers or strips of twisted rag instead.
Don’t sunbathe after perming or tinting your hair, unless you wear some head protection – a sun hat or scarf. Without it, you risk having very dry, brittle hair.
Hair care Guide:
A healthy head of hair positively glows with life – so it may come as a surprise to you to learn that it is, in fact, dead. The only part of it that is alive is the root, buried deep in a hair follicle and nourished by capillary blood vessels in the skull.
Each follicle has a long activity phase of from two to three years, during which it produces hair that can grow to a considerable length. Then it takes a respite, the hair stops growing and, when the follicle gears up again and starts producing a new hair, the old hair is shed.
That is why, no matter how gently you treat your hair, you will always find a few in your brush or comb. Only if you notice a marked increase in the amount shed, and see a visible thinning of your scalp hair, is there cause for concern, in which case you are best advised to see your doctor.
Resorting to the use of commercial products without any qualified diagnosis of the cause may aggravate rather than correct the situation, and involve you in unnecessary expenditure.
Possible Cause of Sudden, Dramatic hair loss:
Any one of the following may cause many follicles to begin their rest period prematurely, causing wholesale shedding of hair, perhaps even resulting in partial, temporary baldness. Usually, replacement hair eventually grows although it may be months before the patch disappears.
Try not to worry about it; you will aggravate the problem if you do. If necessary, change your hair-style instead to disguise the patch, and make sure that you eat a well-balanced diet, and get plenty of fresh air and rest – these are all positive aids to recovery.
The main cause of sudden, dramatic hair loss is very often anxiety but there may well be other reasons:
- Severe or prolonged emotional stress.
- The aftermath of a major operation.
- Heavy blood loss.
- A high temperature.
Another cause of hair loss is any disease that affects the scalp. If this causes damage to the hair follicle, it may even result in permanent hair loss.
This is another good reason why you should consult your doctor at the outset; your doctor can refer you to a dermatologist who is best qualified to attempt the arrest of the disease. A trichologist (hair specialist) cannot do that.
Hair Care: Common Complaints:
We all know what dandruff looks like – small particles of skin that accumulate on the scalp, then become lodged in the hair or flake off on to clothing.
What is the Cause of Dandruff:
We shed dead skin scales all over the body every day without even noticing them, but when they accumulate on the scalp they are clearly visible. Dandruff is not infectious; it is simply the result of a cell turnover that has accelerated past the normal rate. It can occur when you are generally run down.
What is Treatment of Dandruff:
Do not try to remove the scales by vigorous brushing, combing, or – worse – scratching with your fingernails; you might cause an infection. If the problem is only slight, it will suffice to use a shampoo specifically designed for the treatment of dandruff – one containing zinc pyrithione is most likely to help the condition.
Use it according to directions on the container. Do not use more on the principle that if a little help then a bit extra will be better still. It won’t! And don’t message your scalp vigorously when shampooing. Your scalp needs gentle treatment at such times. Keep your comb and brush scrupulously clean.
A simple, herbal treatment for dandruff consists of boiling four tablespoons of dried thyme in two cups of water for ten minutes. Strain the mixture and cool. After shampooing pour one cup over your damp hair and massage gently. Do not rinse off, but dry your hair as normal. This makes enough for treatments.
Hair Care: Ringworm (tinea)
This fungal infection of the scalp is identifiable by irritation and circular, pink, scaly patches on the skin. They may sometimes weep. This is a contagious disease.
Hair Care: Treatment of Ringworm:
This is not a complaint that you can treat efficiently yourself. Go to your doctor, who can prescribe an anti-fungal cream not available over the counter. And do not wait to see if it will clear up of its own accord. The sooner treatment begins, the easier it is to eradicate.
Make-up makes you look good and feel good, but these benefits will not last unless you remove it as scrupulously as you apply it. Traces left on your skin overnight can lead to clogged pores and, eventually, to a spoiled complexion. So, however, tired you are, always remove make-up last thing at night with an appropriate cleanser for your skin type: cream, milky cleansing cream, or a liquid cleanser.
Eye make-up is best removed with a cleanser specifically designed for the purpose, applied on a pad of lightly moistened cotton wool, or with your fingertip. Use a light touch; never scrub your skin. If you tend to have dry skin, after removing make-up apply a light film of moisturizer. But remember that a little goes a long way. Adding an extra amount for good measure will not be beneficial and may make your skin feel tacky!
It is a good idea to give your skin a complete rest from make-up at least once a week, but even then careful cleansing is still important, particularly if you live or work in an urban environment.
Skin care Guide:
Strange as it may seem, the skin is an organ. In fact, it is the largest organ of the body. It covers the entire surface, on average comprising about three square meters (20 square feet) in adults, and accounting for about one-sixth of our total body-weight.
It also varies in thickness from a mere millimeter (1/25th of an inch) on our eyelids to a comparatively thick layer of about six millimeters (a quarter of an inch) on the soles of our feet. And though subjected to continuous wear and sometimes tear, its amazing structure allows it to regenerate itself and serve us well in many important ways.
Skin Care: Function of the skin:
The skin provides a perfect, protective coating – flexible enough to allow us complete freedom of movement. It is also temperature regulating, and sensitive to pain so that we have immediate warning of potential danger if we come near intense heat, cold or sharp objects.
Skin Care: Regulation temperature:
Vasomotor nerves in our skin dilate or contract the blood vessels, according to the climate.
- In hot weather, the blood vessels enlarge to remove heat in the form of sweat and we may lose about two liters (four points) of fluid a day. In very hot weather it is advisable, therefore, to drink more fluids to guard against dehydration – most of us do this instinctively. (Even in temperate weather we lose about 0.5 liters (a pint) of liquid in sweat, but it evaporates as soon as it reaches the skin’s surface so we are not ordinarily aware of it.) If our temperature still sises, despite the sweat loss, blood vessels in the dermis have one more trick: they dilate to increase the flow of warm blood to the surface of our body where it can cool down a little.
- In cold weather, the blood vessels constrict and this drives the blood inwards for a warm-up. Also, our pores contract and goose pimples form, the tiny muscles of the hair follicles pull the hairs upright, and the combined force of goose pimples and hairs prevent the cold from penetrating so quickly.
Skin Care Tips: Care of the Skin:
Apart from taking note of warning signs and acting upon them, we should pay attention to what we eat and drink and how we occupy our time as general health is reflected in the condition of the skin and our domestic and employment situations, even our pastimes affect the skin.
If we have skin problems, drugs may bring temporary relief, but if we want to find a permanent skin cure we need to discover the underlying causes and resolve them whether they be problems of health or stress.
Even if there is a family history of such disorders as eczema, psoriasis, or acne, it does not necessarily follow that it is your genes that are to blame. It could well be that the family’s lifestyle is at least partly responsible.
So, eat a sensible, balanced diet; avoid stress as far as possible, get lots of fresh air, exercise – and rest – and try to keep a positive outlook on life. Worry does not do anyone any food, and it can not only harm your skin, but it can cause harm to other organs in the body.
Skin Care: Allergies:
These are well-known sources of skin disorders. And in our technological society, the number of possible irritants is steadily increasing: artificial fibers, soaps, washing powders and detergents, bleaches and other household chemicals, food colorants and preservatives are just a few possible irritants.
If you do suspect a particular item is creating problems, avoid it for a few days and see if the problem clears. Particularly if the suspect item is a food, you should only continue to avoid it if you do clearly benefit. If the problem persists, it may be possible for your doctor to arrange for you to have allergy tests under clinical conditions.
Otherwise, you may deprive yourself of many possible ‘triggers’ that are not actually contributory factors at all – a miserable solution and potentially one that will do you harm rather than good.
It is sensible, however, to avoid obvious potential irritants such as harsh soaps and detergents that can alter the pH balance of your skin. If If you already have itchy skin due to using an alkaline soap, try bathing it in lukewarm water to which a dessertspoon of cider vinegar has been added – this should help to restore the correct acid content in your skin. A light moisturizing lotion or cream used after cleansing can also alleviate dryness.
Correct, deep breathing is beneficial because it tones up the other organs of elimination – the kidneys, large bowl, and lungs – which, together with the skin, rid our bodies of toxins and waste matter.
If skin problems do suddenly occurs and you are also constipated, take the necessary corrective action because this condition can be a major contributory factor to many skin problems.
Finally, because the skin develops from the same basic cell as the nervous system, skin problems may be aggravated by nerve problems, and vice versa. Again, deep breathing can be beneficial, because it has a wonderfully calming effect on the whole body.