Everyone desires for good, lustrous and shiny looking hair. However, it is not always possible to maintain such good looking hair. One of the common problems faced by everyone at least once in their life time is trouble of dry and brittle hair. Dry hair is very difficult to manage and is usually an outcome of a number of causative factors. Depending on its causative factors it can be treated and one can get rid of dry and brittle hair.
Overview of Dry Hair
Hair develops from the tiny sacs called hair follicles that are situated under the skin. Each hair grows from a hair follicle normally for three years post which it sheds off and a new hair starts growing from the follicle. Each hair shaft is made of three layers. The outermost layer protects the inner layers. While when the hair is damaged, the scales separate and these can no longer protect inner layers. Due to which the oil and moisture escapes from the hair. Then hair becomes dry and brittle. It loses it look and breaks easily.
What Causes Dry Hair?
Dry hair can be caused due to external and internal factors.
External Factors That Can Cause Dry Hair:
- Usage of Shampoo: Using harsh shampoos and conditioners frequently can destroy the moisture of the hair. Shampoos strip the natural oils from the hair. Thus frequent use of harsh chemical containing shampoos leads to dry hair due to loss of oil.
- Excessive Heat Exposure: The natural moisture and oil of the hair are lost due to frequent use of hot water. Hot climatic conditions also make the hair dry and brittle.
- Excessive Hair Styling: The use of hair styling methods such as blow dry, ironing, hair curling, hair coloring and perming affects the hair tresses. These procedures expose hair to harsh chemicals which affects the looks of the hair stresses. Further, they also affect the sebum glands and lead to dry hair.
- Washing with Hard Water: In some localities, hard water is supplied which contains high concentrations of minerals such as calcium and magnesium. When such water is used for head bath, it results in accumulation of these minerals on the scalp. When used for prolonged time, they block the oil secretion, making the scalp dry hair.
- Swimming: Swimming pool water contains high chlorine content which affects hair texture. This makes the hair look dry and dull.
Internal Factors That Can Cause Dry Hair
- Poor Nutrition: Hair growth requires adequate amount of proteins and other essential minerals and vitamins and drinking plenty of water. In case of inadequate diet, it leads to poor looking and dry hair.
- Hormonal Changes Can Cause Dry Hair: Women go through a number of hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy and menopause. Further, some women also consume oral contraceptives which also contribute towards the hormonal changes. These hormonal changes altogether make the hair dry.
- Hypothyroidism (or low levels of thyroid hormone) affects hair growth and look of the hair and makes it dry as well.
- Hypoparathyroidism is a condition where the parathyroid gland does not work properly secreting less of the parathyroid hormone (PTH). The parathyroid gland controls use and removal of calcium from the body. One of the symptoms of this condition is that of dry hair.
- Prolonged Illness: After a month of suffering from prolonged illness, it is normally observed that the person suffers from dry hair followed by excessive hair loss. Dry hair is observed in cancer patients as well who undergo extensive chemotherapeutic and radiation therapy. It is caused due to side effects of these therapies.
- Age Factor Can Contribute to Dry Hair: It is known that as one starts aging, the hair becomes dry and brittle. It is mainly due to inadequate diet and hormonal changes.
Treatment for Dry Hair
The following home based remedies are useful since they hydrate the scalp thus reducing the dryness of hair:
- Applying mixture of egg and yogurt to the scalp once or twice a week can help get rid of dry hair.
- Use of finishing oils such as olive oil, coconut oil and jojoba oil prevents hair from being dry.
- Using appropriate conditioners to do deep conditioning to the hair can help prevent hair drying.
Prevention of Dry Hair
- One should use mild shampoos and conditioners to prevent dry hair. The shampoo and conditioner should be thoroughly washed off from the hair.
- One should massage the scalp regularly with natural oil containing essential oils. This stimulates the oil glands and thus keeps the hair hydrated.
- One should minimize the use of frequent hair styling procedures to pevent dry hair.
- One should use swimming cap while swimming in pools.
- One should use filters to filter off the minerals present in the hard water before washing the hair to prevent dry hair.
- One should use clean hair comb.
- One should consume healthy and nutritious diet which has adequate amounts of proteins. One should also drink plenty of water to keep body hydrated.
Taking good care of hair and scalp is important to have healthy and lustrous looking hair. Having dry hair is not good and needs to be treated with proper treatments. Also taking good precautions will prevent hair from becoming dry and it is a good approach for long term.