Like our skin, our hair contains melanin, the natural pigment that filters harmful UV radiation. Although melanin helps filter some of the sun’s harmful UV rays, it cannot filter them all. That is why we are advised to wear sunscreens and sunblocks for added protection. While there is a wealth of information when it comes to UV protection for the skin, there is not so much information on UV protection for the hair. Just like our skin, our hair can accumulate damage from overexposure to the sun. The lack of information/ caution can be due to the fact that hair is technically “dead.” Any accrued damage to the hair shaft does not actually affect our overall health. However, hair is a huge source of confidence and pride for many, which is an incentive to keep it healthy!
A strand of hair is made up of the follicle, the bulb and the shaft. The follicle houses the bulb and is responsible for the regrowth of hair after a strand falls out. The visible part of the hair is called the shaft. Keeping it healthy and free of damage takes some work but the results are definitely worth it.
No matter what season it is, it is always important to be mindful of the products you use on your hair. Many hair products contain sulfates and excess chemicals and dyes. Sulfates are what cause the shampoo to create foam and bubbles when you lather it. We have associated thick foam with cleanliness, but the bubbles don’t actually make your hair any cleaner. In fact, sulfates can strip your hair of natural oils and dry it out. Knowing this, Dr. Marder created the Scalp Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner line. Scalp Therapy is sulfate-free and specially formulated for dry, itchy scalp. With 1% hydrocortisone, it is perfect for individuals who suffer from dandruff.
As the seasons change, so should our daily routines. The summertime calls for outdoor activities, which unfortunately exposes our hair to intense UV rays, chemicals in pool water and salt in ocean water. All of these environmental factors can dry out hair, leaving it more susceptible to sun damage and breakage. Sunscreen products, tanning products and sweat can also dull the hair. The first step in transitioning your hair care routine from summer to winter is to care for it the right way during the summer. Wash your hair after outdoor activities that leave it dry or dirty. Condition your hair.
Sunlight can lighten and fade color treated hair. It can also dry out the ends quicker and lead to brittle ends that are prone to breakage. To protect color treated hair during the summer, use a shampoo and conditioner with built-in UV protectant. As the summer draws to a close, go to your hairstylist for a trim to remove any split and damaged ends. Getting a hot oil treatment or deep conditioning mask at this time is also a good option. However, if you don’t want to shell out the money for expensive salon treatments, try some DIY masks.
Avocados are easiest and cheapest to get during the summer months. Conveniently enough, they also make great moisturizing hair masks. To make the mask, mash up one half of an avocado and blend it with two teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil. Whisk the mixture until you get a creamy consistency. Take it with you into the shower. Wet your hair, apply the mask ends first and work your way up to the roots. Clip your hair up and put a shower cap on. The steam from the shower will heat the mask and allow for better absorbency. Leave the mask on anywhere from 5-30 minutes. As an alternative, you can also exit the shower with the cap on and blow dry it at a low temperature to seal in more heat. When your time is up, rinse the mask off and shampoo. If possible, let your hair air dry. It will be soft, nourished and shiny!
If avocados are no longer in season at your local supermarket, don’t fret. Extra virgin coconut oil is another great hair mask. It is solid at room temperature, so simply scoop a tablespoon out at a time and rub it into your hair. Your body heat will melt the oil and allow it to soak into the hair shaft and scalp. As with the avocado mask, clip your hair up and put a shower cap on. You can stay in the shower or exit and return when your 5-30 minutes are up. You can even put a face mask on and unwind while you wait!
We put our hair through a lot during the winter months. Treating it to a deep-conditioning mask once a week can help keep the strands moisturized and happy. Cold weather tends to dry out hair and aggravate it if we don’t take the proper precautions. Try your best to not leave the house with wet hair. In extreme cold, the water particles in wet hair will freeze. This causes damage to the hair shaft because hair is more fragile when it is wet. Any wind factor will also cause the hair to tangle so when it defrosts it will be unkempt and more susceptible to breakage. The best way to avoid freezing wet hair is to shower the night before, or allow ample time for the hair to dry before going out into the cold. As a general rule, it is best to avoid heat styling altogether, but it is especially wise in the winter months, when indoor heating already plays a part in dehydrating hair. If you must use heat, prep your hair with a heat protectant first and be sure to condition it afters.
On extremely harsh weather days, loose hair can be a nuisance and not much of a fashion statement when it’s just blowing in your face and getting tangled. Putting your hair up in a bun can get boring, so try some braids. A French plait, a fishtail braid, and a four-strand braid are some fun and unique hairstyles that are stylish and functional!
Adjusting your hair care routine from summer to winter is extremely important. The better you are to your hair during the winter, the better it will look and feel by the time summer rolls back around!
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