04 . March . 2019 BY Dr. Sharmishtha Deshpande

Do you know the hair on your head is amazingly strong? A single hair can support up to 100g in weight and a whole head of hair could support up to 12 tonnes — the equivalent of two African elephants! And did you know? Hair is as strong as a wire of iron. It rips after applying a force equivalent to 60kg, only after it has stretched itself to about 70 per cent. Therefore, brittle hair could mean a significant problem.

The secret of this strength lies in the complex woven structure of each strand. Hair is a compact mass of keratinized cells that push up through the follicle from the hair bulb in the scalp, at an approximate rate of half an inch per month. The only part of our body that grows at this rate! Of course, this is incased of healthy hair. But despite its tenacity, our hair finds it hard to stand up to the wear and tear of modern life.

While genes & hereditary traits do play a part in your hair’s health or lack of it, much is accelerated by your daily lifestyle habits. Here are some daily habits that cause serious damage to your hair!

1) Smoking

Smoking is often spoken in connection with hair loss and going bald. While some may relate to it, some may not. It has been proven that it is one of the fastest accelerators for hair loss, especially in those who are already predisposed to the condition. Smoking affects the normal oxygen saturation levels restricts blood vessels throughout the body. This also affects the skin and hair.
Hair follicles need a fresh blood supply to stay strong & healthy. Slow flow makes hair regrowth harder. So when hair falls off, they do not grow back. Further, the tobacco enters the skin, bloodstream and the hair follicle leading to hair thinning and eventually hair loss. The process of smoking damages the dermal hair papilla. Smoking-induced damage to the DNA of the hair follicle eventually leads to hair loss. Quitting to smoke can save your hair and life, simply put.

2) Travel impact

While most of us commute to work or college every day, our work often takes us far from home. Our hair may be the first to react to CLIMATIC CHANGES. If you are used to the humid, muggy weather of Surat, the dry heat of the North will take its toll on you and your hair. So, if you find your hair behaving or looking a little strange, you could safely blame it on the weather.
Travelling in air-conditioned buses and trains and living in the comfort of A/C hotel rooms might add that extra luxury to your trip but it can take its toll on your hair due to the increased humidity levels.
If you find that your hair has suddenly become sticky and hard to dress, the problem could lie with the water you are using for the wash. HARD WATER causes calcium and magnesium deposits to cling to the hair shaft.
If you are prone to extensive travel, you will need to take extra precautions to take care of your hair’s health.

3) Unhealthy Diet

The current obsession with losing weight might wreak havoc on your hair. Skipping meals, intake of insufficient nutrients and unhealthy eating habits affect our hair and health in more ways than one.
Our hair is often the first to be affected by a lack of some nutrient. At times, it may be the only sign that something is wrong. It is said that your hair is your body’s barometer. Things that are not easily detected about your health, a show on your hair. So, we may feel quite healthy, but if we find our hair suddenly looking dull or falling excessively, we should not ignore it. It could just be our body telling us to eat better. Since our hair is made up primarily of proteins, make sure you include enough proteins in your diet. Our hair also requires minerals like zinc, magnesium, iron etc. in the right proportions. Hair foods and supplements (as directed by a Trichologist) can help maintain healthy hair.

4) Fashion Stress

Tough as it is, hair cannot cope with some of today’s beauty treatments and most of the commercial procedures can ruin your hair.

  • Hot rollers and dryers destroy the hair’s elasticity and strength.
  • Having hot showers & mishandling wet hair ruins your hair. Hot water dehydrates the strands leading to dry, brittle hair that’s more prone to snap and fall out.
  • Metal combs and fine bristled brushes displace the cuticle plates, making hair dull.
  • Permanent chemical dyes damage hair by breaking through the cuticle is to invade the cortex. Petroleum-based jellies, sprays and permanent waves depend on distorting the hair’s keratin structure to succeed.
  • Chemical processes such as perming, colouring, bleaching and straightening, remove all protein and moisture out of hair, leaving it fragile, porous, brittle; the scalp irritated and flaky.
    When you want to change the shape of your hair, you apply tremendous heat so that the protein of which the hair is composed, is converted into cysteine, and then manipulated into a certain look, before changing back. However, in the process, some amount of cysteic acid is generated and this damages your hair.
5) Mental Stress

Hair follicles are surrounded by and invaded by a network of nerve cells. Potentially, any adverse chemical activity in the nervous system might send unwanted signals to the hair follicles. Long-term chronic stress, depression and sudden intense action may promote the onset of telogen effluvium. Hair loss may develop and become noticeable a few weeks to four months after the initial stress episode. Sleep deprivation is also a key factor leading to hair loss. Stress leads to sleep deprivation in many and hair loss thereon…

Being aware of what your lifestyle does to you, your hair & health is important. Take a step back, assess your lifestyle and see where you need to bring in the change. Take professional help. Consult a Trichologist who will invest time in understanding your lifestyle, your diet, your needs, study your hair & scalp condition and help you on the right path forward.

RichFeel has unique diagnostic techniques that can reach to the source of the problem and the hair doctors can help you decipher them, and take corrective action. Some of the screening tests conducted are as below:

  • Hair Analysis Trichoanalysis or Trichogram gives an absolute quantification of abnormal or normal hair fall. They analyse the keratin levels, the density of hair, hair root and hair shaft condition.
  • HTMA Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis measures the levels and relative ratios of nutrients and toxic materials found in hair. Understanding the results with the help of a doctor lets you customize your healing regimen (including what you eat & corrections to lifestyle) to understand and rightly address your own body’s biochemistry.
  • CapilloscopyIt determines the physical state of hair and scalp. It is a non-invasive study that helps to understand the condition of the scalp and hair follicles. It can indicate the sebum activity and condition of the hair follicle. Understanding this test right and taking corrective action needs professional expertise.
    RichFeel’s trichologists play a significant role in this process.

Clean, good lifestyle choices are essential for healthy hair and a healthy you. Sometimes, owing to circumstances, you may be forced into certain practices. Taking due care, precautionary care at that can help you keep control of your hair. Go for a Hair Check-Up once every 6 mths to stay clear of hair worries.
Healthy Hair. Happy You!

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