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Most
people,
especially
women,
define and
shape their
identity
primarily
through their
hair style.
As the crowning glory
of a woman, the hair is
considered by many as
a significant symbol or
extension of their
personality and style. No
wonder, so many women
take extra lengths to maintain
the health and
good appearance
of their locks.
H
Human hair is subjected
to a number of pollutants,
irritants, and other sources
of potential damage. The
most common causes
of hair damage include
harsh chemicals found
in hair styling products,
straightening or waving
treatments, hair dyes, and
even overexposure to the
sun. If this continues, hair
that was once radiant would
eventually look brittle and
frizzy.
Zoe Draelos, a noted
dermatologist, said that
people need to understand
that hair is actually non-
living material that cannot
be repaired once it is
damaged. Draelos added
that hair growth slows
down as we get older, and
the cosmetic beauty of our
hair decreases. Hair loss
that occurs from continual
breakage over the years is a
serious concern for many
women, so the key is to
prevent damage by stopping
the cycle of over processing
or over grooming the hair
while selecting hair care
products.
While the hair is at its
healthiest in our 20s, Dr.
Draelos noted that some
young women fall for fad
diets at this age which can
ruin the hair. Some of these
hair care fads make use of
chemicals that deplete the
hair of essential vitamins and
minerals that come from the
food we eat.
Adding to this, Dr. Draelos
said that hair appearance
is a sign of our general
health. If a person has an
eating disorder or has an
imbalanced diet, it would
surely show from the
way their hair looks like.
Some women in their 20s
and 30s also experience
changes in hair quality and
appearance due to their use
of birth control pills. Dr.
Draelos explained that when
estrogen levels fall during
this process, hair will also
fall out. According to Dr.
Draelos, when a woman
notices her hair falling out,
the use of birth control pills
would not usually come under
suspicion. Most women do not
suspect anything wrong with
shedding hair since it is quite
normal to lose a number of
strands at any given day. Only
when a sizeable amount of hair
is lost would a woman start to
feel uneasy.
For women in their 30s,
pregnancy becomes another
reason why women lose their
hair. During pregnancy, all
hair follicles usually experience
re-generation, resulting in
luxurious, radiant-looking
hair. However, six months
after delivery, the new mother
would most likely loose hair
again. Some of the hair that
is shed post-pregnancy may
eventually re-grow, said Dr.
Draelos. However, for women
who have female-pattern
hair loss, hair may no longer
return. Those women who
have an inherited tendency
towards hair loss should seek
professional help.
Although hair dyes are popular
for women of all ages, women
in their 40s may be more
likely to turn to hair color as
a way to camouflage gray hair
that typically starts to appear
at this age. Dr. Draelos said
that once the hair has been
dyed chemically, it strips the
protective lipid layer of the hair
shaft and opens up holes in the
hair shaft, allowing the dye to
enter and create a new color.
Adding also that hair dyeing is
damaging, but lightening hair
for more than three shades
require more peroxide, which
creates more holes in the
hair shaft and therefore more
damage. The best thing for
covering gray hair is to stay on
shade, within three colors of
her natural color. Dr. Draelos
advises women in their 50s to
shorten the amount of time
they leave on styling products
such as hair dyes or permanent
wave solutions because
thinner hair shafts require less
time to process. Dr. Draelos
recommended that older
women use a good conditioner,
and also advised women to
handle their hair as little as
possible, including avoiding
over-brushing hair.
May/June 2013
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