August 06 2021
An individual’s hair type is predominantly decided by the combination of various factors like shape, texture, porosity, and elasticity. Straight hair is characterized by hair that is straight after drying. A natural wavy pattern with the absence of full curls characterizes wavy hair. Curly hair is indicated by more defined curls whereas oily hair consists of tight z - shaped curls.
Hair texture can be thick or coarse where the hair strands look fuller and are less prone to damage from breaking. This type of hair takes more time to dry and is the least likely to absorb hair colour and it is also resistant to chemical treatment like straightening. Medium textured hair is the most commonly found hair texture and it is the type to most likely hold hairstyles. Fine hair texture is the most fragile type and it can get oily easily and it is more prone to damage from chemical treatments and requires more than normal procedural care while using styling tools.
Hair porosity determines how much the hair absorbs moisture and compounds released by hair products. The cuticular layer of the hair which helps in the protection of the inner hair layers determines the hair porosity which in turn is governed by many factors such as heredity, environment, chemical treatments, and heat stylings. Damaged hair denotes high porosity where there is an injury to the protective cuticular hair layer which then becomes dry and brittle. When the hair is resistant to the absorption of moisture it is characteristic of low porosity. Medium porosity hair allows for the best styling and is the healthiest type of hair.
Hair elasticity is the measure of how much stretching the hair can tolerate without getting damaged. Various factors such as age, heat, exposure to the sun, and chemicals affect hair elasticity. Healthy hair is characterized by high elasticity and low elasticity hair is more prone to breakage and split ends.
The various hair conditions which occur commonly include dandruff, scalp disorders, and hair loss. Hereditary hair conditions usually do not have a permanent cure but otherwise, other hair conditions are usually treatable and reversible. Some of them include:
Oily or greasy hair can cause the hair to look limp and clumpy which occurs as a result of Increased production of sebum mainly because of hormonal imbalances that occur during puberty, pregnancy, or menstruation. Other seasonal and environmental factors along with an imbalanced diet, poor hair care, and side effects of some medications can also lead to greasy or oily hair. Excessive brushing of hair and the use of hair products also increase the grease formation in the hair.
When the hair loses the ability to retain moisture, the hair becomes dry making it appear dull and frizzy which occurs as a result of the breakdown of the outer layer of hair mainly due to environmental conditions, poor hair maintenance, and bad physical health of individual. Conditions that can cause hair to become dry and damaged include frequent washing of hair, excessive use of styling products, the use of harsh shampoos and conditioners, dyes and chemical treatments, too much blow-drying, and frequent use of heat-based curling iron and straighteners. Use of moisturizing products such as conditioners, hair oils, and hair masks and reducing various hair treatments reduces dry hair and makes it look healthier.
Dandruff causes the scalp skin to form flakes and leads to the formation of dead skin on the scalp, in the hair and eyebrows causing an itchy scalp. Inflamed, irritated oily skin and use of improper shampoos may cause dandruff. Mild dandruff can be treated by using a medicated shampoo usually containing zinc pyrithione which has antibacterial and antifungal properties along with coal and salicylic acid. Moisturising the scalp helps in reducing itching and decreasing stress along alleviates dandruff.
Brittle hair contains frayed edges known as split ends which can occur as a result of various environmental factors such as excessive sun or wind, improper hair care, and use of excessive styling techniques and chemicals. Hair once split cannot be repaired so the only solution is to prevent split ends by regular hair trimming, moisturizing hair frequently by using conditioners, and avoiding conditions that cause damage to hair such as excess heat, cold, and wind.
Various hair loss disorders are together known as alopecia. Alopecia areata causes hair to fall off in patches and it is an autoimmune disorder. Alopecia totalis is characterized by the loss of all the hair on the scalp. Consumption of omega -3 fatty acids and antioxidants prevent hair thinning. Alvizia hair, skin, and nail supplements rich in biotin and collagen improve the hair texture and make it look healthier.
Dietary modifications for obtaining healthy hair
Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, iron, vitamins B, C, and beta carotene are essential for healthy hair. Eggs which are a rich source of protein biotin contribute to the production of keratin. Fruit like blueberries and tangerines are rich in vitamin C and exhibit antioxidant properties and aid in the production of collagen and absorption of iron. Spinach helps in hair growth by promoting moisture retention as it is an essential source of folate and vitamins A and C. Salmon and sardines help in promoting healthy hair as they have omega -3 fatty acids in abundance. A rich source of beta carotene is carrots which increase hair growth and avocados supply antioxidants like vitamin E. Nuts like peanuts contribute vitamins and minerals essential for the growth of hair and at the same time reducing inflammation.
Flaxseeds and chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and sunflower seeds which contain vitamins E and B are also good for stimulating hair growth. Vegetables like sweet potatoes contribute vitamin C and beans offer zinc, iron, biotin, and folate which are all essential hair growth ingredients. Shrimp is a rich contributor of vitamins B and D and soybeans are a source of spermidine which is a promoter of hair growth.
Foods that are not recommended for those suffering from hair disorders include swordfish as they have a high mercury content and alcohol which reduces the absorption of zinc in the body and also causes dehydration.