Tips for healthy thick hair growth

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While we all have friends who make hair look easy, achieving and maintaining healthy hair can be complex and confusing. We all want lush black hair, but we often unwittingly fall prey to everyday hair care habits that do more harm than good in our constant pursuit of fashion trends.

As someone with curly hair, I’ve had many struggles learning how to care for my hair. Years later, as a dermatologist who spends my days observing and fixing hair and scalp disorders, I have witnessed many patients make some of the same mistakes I did.

Read on for an in-depth look at some of the common conditions I see in clinics and ways to care for hair and scalp health.

Hair breakage
We’ve all been there — seriously, whip out a hair dryer, iron, or curling iron and make ourselves look like the cover of a celebrity magazine. Sitting in a hair salon for hours to get a great haircut that will refresh our makeup in the summer. How we style and color our hair can affect the health of our hair; for example, improper perms can lead to dry, brittle hair. Intuitively, we knew that applying 400 degrees directly to fragile hair might not be a good idea, but we did it anyway.

So how do heat and chemicals damage hair? Why does it cause hair to break and fall out? These traumatic injuries are thought to damage the hair shaft’s protective layer, the stratum corneum. In turn, the hair’s protein structure is altered, leading to acquired nodular alopecia, a typical hair shaft anomaly in which thin strands form along the coat, presenting as dry, dull hair that breaks easily at the light spots.

If you plan to use thermal modeling (and I know you do), here are some tips to help you reduce or even prevent heat damage:

Use ultra-low heat setting whenever possible to achieve the desired results – hotter doesn’t always mean better!
Make a significant effort to reduce the frequency of heat setting tools – three times a week is recommended instead of three times a day. Or how about once a week?
Limit the time your hair spends in contact with an iron, curling iron, or curling iron.
If possible, let your hair air dry — to speed up the process and protect your hair, try wrapping your hair in a towel. Use a stretchy absorbent cotton towel, recommended, so it doesn’t tangle or dry with heat.
Apply a heat protectant before setting. Professional-grade heat protectors can help prevent damage from heat and friction from perm tools.
Dry, brittle hair
Hair stylists will often answer questions about what products to use to treat dry hair. However, patients do occasionally raise these issues with me. As long as we’ve discussed any underlying or co-existing scalp problems, I usually start with a discussion of shampoo and conditioner to discuss how to keep hair healthy.

Shampoo cleans your hair and scalp of dirt, contaminants, excess oil, dead skin, and other greasy residue. While most shampoos also incorporate conditioners to reduce frizz, separate conditioners are specifically designed to increase hair manageability, reduce hair static, and replace natural oils removed during shampooing to add shine and shine. In addition, conditioners can help care for hair after chemically and heat-treated straightening, blow drying, and dyeing.

Here are some ingredients I recommend for cleansing and conditioning:

Shea Butter Conditioner
The ingredient has long been touted as a staple by curlers; There are good reasons for this. Shea butter conditioner can be used daily styling to help reduce frizz and prevent split ends or as an enhanced nighttime hair treatment.

Argan oil, shea butter, and amino acids
Shampoos and conditioners with these three ingredients provide extreme moisturizing care for dry, wavy, curly hair and dyed hair.

Coconut oil
Coconut oil is rich in saturated fat, moisturizes hair and scalp, and is suitable for rough, dry skin.

Healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp — which means we need to address any underlying inflammatory conditions hindering good hair growth, especially if they lead to itching and frequent rubbing and scratching, which is unsuitable for hair growth.

Squamosis is a chronic inflammatory response to skin problems. It often affects the scalp and is characterized by redness, flaking, and peeling. The phenomenon is thought to be multi-factorial, caused by a combination of genetic and external factors such as stress and infection. Another chronic scalp condition that dermatologists routinely repair is called seborrheic dermatitis; It has some overlapping features with the squamous disease – although most of us only know it as belonging to “dandruff.” Seborrheic dermatitis mainly occurs in areas with dense sebaceous glands, such as the face, ears, chest, and scalp. The sebaceous glands produce too much oil, which encourages the growth of a yeast called Malassezia. This yeast is a normal part of the skin flora, even in people who don’t have dandruff, So we don’t fully understand why some people seem to have an immune response to it and others don’t. However, since the link between dandruff and Malassezia is well established, various agents can target the yeast and the associated inflammatory response. The following list highlights some of the best ingredients for repairing seborrheic dermatitis and squamous disease; Think of these as scalp treatments, not hair treatments; So, for excellent results, you can use regular shampoo and conditioner to prevent your hair from becoming dry itself!

Coal tar
Coal tar is a trendy off-formula remedy for stubborn dandruff. It can also help repair symptoms of the scaly disease that affect the scalp, such as peeling, itching, and flaking. Its role is to relax dead skin cells and reduce skin cell renewal, thus reducing scale formation.

Salicylic acid
Salicylic acid helps with thick peeling; This peeling can lead to the irritation, itching, and redness associated with scaly disease and seborrheic dermatitis.

Zinc pyrithione
Zinc pyrithione is found in many dandruff shampoos; It controls the growth of fungi and yeast; Fungi and yeast are thought to be critical contributors to the inflammatory response associated with dandruff.

Selenium sulfide
Selenium sulfide is another anti-dust ingredient found in many anti-dandruff shampoos and has anti-fungal properties.

For thinning hair
Hair loss is such a complex topic that an entire textbook on dermatology could be devoted to it. So it’s no surprise that, as a small part of a blog post on healthy hair tips, we can only skim through it. Hair loss can happen for several reasons – genetics, stress, prescription medications, hormonal changes, rapid weight loss, poor nutrition, or any combination of these factors can all contribute to hair loss. For standard male and female pattern hair loss due to a variety of genetic and age factors, here are some valuable products:

B vitamins and coffee extract
B vitamins, including niacinamide (vitamin B3), panthenol (a form of vitamin B5), and coffee extract, are prevalent in thickening shampoos. These ingredients are thought to stimulate hair follicles and increase the hair shaft’s diameter, making hair appear thicker and fuller.

Marine collagen
We know that collagen is essential for hair growth; It provides protein and amino acids to make keratin. Marine collagen derived from wild cod has good scientific data to back it up as a nutritional supplement to promote hair growth. Note that this supplement has not been studied in a pregnant patient population; Therefore, I recommend avoiding it during pregnancy.

For persistent, rapid, or progressive hair loss, it’s a good idea to see a dermatologist as soon as possible to determine the cause, rule out the underlying condition, and develop a multifaceted repair plan.

As always, please get in touch with me if you have any further questions. I hope you reach your hair care goals in 2023, and your beauty will get higher!


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