When we think of winter, the first image that comes to our mind is a diva clad in a red chiffon saree with shining brown cascade-like hair singing and dancing around the snow covered mountains. In this blog post we discuss how to treat damaged hair this winter.
We all aspire to have thick, long and shiny hair but the reality is far from our aspirations. We all have those bad hair days in our life but winter is a time when our hair needs some special care.
Before going into the solutions for damaged hair this winter, let us first discuss the types of damages and the underlying causes.
- Oily Scalp: Winter brings in a number of celebrations be it Christmas, New Year parties, or simply eating out. All these lead to delicious and palatable food higher on the oil and spice level than our usual routine staple. Excessive consumption of oily food leads to excessive sebaceous secretion. This results in a thick layer of oil deposition on our scalp making it oily and sticky.
- Dandruff: Dandruff is the most common problem experienced during the winter season. As we are discussing winter hair issues, we should give stress on the seasonal stimulating factors. As discussed above, oily scalp is a direct effect of winter. Oily scalp causes the skin cells to clump together and appear as white flake. This results in a yeast infection causing dandruff. Moreover, dry scalp causes dandruff as dead cells accumulate to form yellowish dusty flakes.
- Itchy Scalp and itchy bumps: Dandruff causes tiny itchy bumps on our scalp which, in turn, results in redness and an irritated scalp. This itchiness is also caused by dried dead cells and sebum. If not treated early, it can lead to Seborrheic dermatitis.
- Dry hair and scalp: The dry weather in winter draws moisture from our hair and scalp making it dry and dull. Also, exposure to oily and highly processed food leads to hormone fluctuation leading to dehydration which, in turn, causes dry hair. Natural exfoliation process takes place in this season making the dead and dried cells to accumulate on the scalp making it dry and flaky.
- Split ends: Dry, moisture less hair may end up having split ends. If the cuticle – which is the outermost layer of the hair – becomes damaged, the hair becomes vulnerable to cracks and splits. Split ends make our hair look uneven, tangled and nutrition less.
- Hair Loss: Cold weather causes flu which can cause temporary hair loss. This is a type of hair loss called Telogen effluvium. Also, over styling of hair for parties and outings and simple hair treatments like blow drying wet hair can cause hair fall. Examples of extreme styling include tight braids, hair weaves or chemical relaxers to straighten your hair. Hot-oil treatments or any kind of harsh chemical or high heat should be avoided as well.
So, these are the hair damaging factors and their underlying causes. Now let’s focus on a solution to protect our hair from the weather extremities.
- Avoid oily food: To do away with the issue of an oily scalp, keep a check on what you are eating. If avoiding greasy food is not an option, control your portioning. Anything within permissible limits is not harmful.
- Use a mild shampoo: Try to wash your hair thrice a week with a cleansing chemical free shampoo and with with a mild ketoconazole shampoo once every few days to get rid of the excess oil.
- Apart from using an anti-dandruff shampoo, simple hair care techniques like regular warm oil massage followed by a hot towel treatment (wrap the hot towel around your oiled hair just like a turban and wait for about fifteen minutes and rinse your hair with mild shampoo). Using a good nourishing conditioner can help you fight the dry rough ends. Consult a dermatologist, if the problem persists.
- Get rid of the itchy scalp by brushing off the white dandruff flakes and treating the underlying dandruff problem.
- Massage your hair with lukewarm oil (from mid to the tip, avoid roots if it’s oily) every alternate day. Wash off with a keratin or Argan or Moroccan oil-rich shampoo followed by proper conditioning. Remember to use a leave-in conditioner containing a UV-filter. Heat from a hair dryer or the Sun can damage your hair. Do not overdo massaging your hair as it can cause hair shedding.
- Eat food that is rich in Omega 3 fatty acid or have fish oil supplements to top up your hair’s oil reserves in the colder months.
- It is tough to avoid hair dryers, curlers or straighteners during the party season but reducing its usage will definitely help in treating the brittle split ends. Regularly trimming your hair (approximately once in every 6 weeks) helps you retain frizz-free and healthy looking hair.
- Comb your hair regularly to circulate blood flow in the scalp. It may significantly boost the functionality of the hair pores.
- Last and most importantly, drink a lot of water.
Dry scalp, hair fall and split ends are common phenomena during winter. But carrying out a few simple things can save your hair from damages. Follow the steps mentioned above and walk out like a diva with shining hair this winter.
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