06 . May . 2019 BY Dr. Sharmishtha Deshpande

Every man or women used to envy Rupa Ganguly. Her lovely long gorgeous hair was the toast of the whole city. Everywhere she went people had a hundred questions to ask her all about her beautiful hair. Today, you have so many of our celebrities with strikingly gorgeous hair. Malaika Arora, Celina Jaitley…the list goes on.
In India, hair is a culture in its own right, apart from it being your crowning glory. There is always a fascination attached to it. You have traditional practices like mundan associated with hair, built into the very fabric of our culture. Your well being is also connected with hair, and that is in fact based on science . Women have learned about their hair from their mothers and grandmothers down the ages. Hair care tips have been passed from generation to generation and so, even today, with the wonders of science and technology all around us, most of us continue to look at age-old wisdom for advice. While of course, many of these home truths that we cling to have a grain of truth in them, in the context of modern living, they need to be firmly qualified; and do they really hold true in these changed times?

Here are some facts that you should know before you blindly follow certain myths.
Myth: One should brush hair one hundred strokes every day to keep it healthy and shiny.

Fact: Brushing does help distribute the natural hair oils but more than 8 to 9 strokes of the hairbrush a day, can damage your hair. Excessive brushing can tear the hair, pull it out and ruin the cuticle layer causing split ends, especially in people with dry and colour-treated hair. Over-brushing does no good for oily hair either – it merely stimulates the sebaceous glands and thus, increases the level of sebum (skin oil) in the hair.

Myth: Shampoo is harmful to the hair.

Fact: Women in India seem to have an unfounded fear of shampoo, though perhaps a tad better off lately on that mindset. It is indeed harmful to the hair to have a continuous supply of moisture applied to it, but shampoo is not the culprit.
Infact, it is advisable to wash your hair more than thrice a week (with shampoo), if you find it distinctly greasy or dirty. If you are a sports-person or travel a lot and your hair gets dirty, don’t hesitate to use shampoo while washing your hair – only make sure it is formulated for daily use. A bottle of shampoo is merely a cleansing agent, and it makes no difference, as long as it is suited to your hair type. Moreover, shampoo alone does not lead to hair loss or increase in the production of sebum (skin oil).

Myth: Mundan is compulsory for baby. It ensures thick hair growth.

Fact: Even though it has traditionally become almost mandatory to shave a baby’s head at least twice, in the hope of promoting good hair growth, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that shaving helps. Many factors like having a balanced diet rich in proteins, adequate intake of water, proper routine hair care, determine the quality of hair. Our hair also requires minerals like iron, copper and zinc in the right proportions and deficiency of these will affect the condition of our hair. So shaving one’s head alone cannot promote healthy hair.

Myth: If you cut hair frequently it will make it grow long quickly.

Fact: The fact is that we cannot hurry our hair in its growth process (each strand of hair goes through its own cycle), but we can keep it healthy by eating a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, and washing, brushing it correctly. Trimming the ends of the hair will help in getting rid of split ends. If split ends are allowed to remain, they will continue to split higher, causing the hair to break off and thus shortening the hair.

Myth: Oiling is not good for the hair.

Fact: Although oiling performs the essential function of scalp-conditioning, it will not stop hair from falling if you are having a hair loss problem, nor will it accelerate the rate of hair regrowth. Oiling is a prerequisite to condition the scalp. Oiling hair twice a week, overnight, and shampooing it with a mild shampoo next day generally can take care of dryness of hair. It is a good practice to follow.

Myth: It is normal to lose 50-100 hairs a day

Fact: Our hair does go through a natural cycle of growth and fall, and as part of this process we lose a certain amount of hair after our hair has completed its period of growth. The fact is that there are no fixed numbers of hair loss that can be considered normal/ abnormal. Excessive hair loss means losing more hair than you naturally lose. A Trichologist can best check this by calculating your A/T ratio (i.e., the ratio of growth to ratio of fall). If you do suspect that you are losing hair excessively, it would be advisable to pay a visit to a Trichologist at earliest.

Myth: Standing on the head helps to grow hair (Shershasan)

Fact: The fact is that we cannot grow the hair. Hair follicles need more than blood flow to grow hair. Standing on your head to increase blood flow to your scalp, may be great for your gymnastic skills, but will not necessarily impact your hair.

These are perhaps just a few of the beliefs that have been in our society for long. It will always be a wise decision to check on its validity and suitability to you, before you follow it. A visit to a Trichologist truly clarify many of such myths and practices.

Here are some hair care tips that can ensure your hair stays healthy and you are clear of hair worries!

  • Do not use hard water for washing hair.
  • Oil your Hair at least twice a week.
  • Shampoo with a moisture-enhancing formula designed for your hair type and texture.
  • Always do a final rinse with a cold-water spray to naturally smoothen the hair cuticles & enhance the shine potential.
  • Do not keep the Hair wet after a bath or swim.
  • Gently pat hair dry. Never pull or rub the hair with a coarse towel.
  • Use a cold hair dryer while drying your hair.
  • Don’t brush or comb your Hair when it is wet.
  • Make sure that the bristles/teeth of your brush/comb are not pointed. Avoid metal combs.
  • Avoid sharing brushes, combs and towels to prevent transmitting infections to each other.
  • Never use anything hot on the Hair. Lukewarm is fine.
  • Coconut oil, honey, lemon are some ingredients that need to come into your DIY masks since they provide natural protection.
  • Wear your hair comfortably; do not pull back hard into tight ponytails/hair-dos.

If you, at any point, suspect that you are losing hair excessively, do remember that the best person to guide you right is a trichologist. They will study your hair and scalp condition, understand your medical history, your lifestyle, your diet and accordingly guide you on the right way forward.

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Remember, Hair Is No Magic; It Is Science!

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