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Protecting your scalp is important if you wish to have “healthy” hair. This is imperative for everyone, men and women, young and old. Young people, especially, need UV protection because the scalp skin is subject to a lifetime of damaging effects of our environment and especially from the sun. For “Boomers” who have progressed through a lifetime of damage, especially as protection from UV damage has only recently become a “cause celeb” in connection with aging skin, those same effects on the scalp affect the appearance of their hair.
The vitality of our bodies diminishes as we age. This is a normal consequence of the aging process, but our skin, being a major part of the body’s defenses, is subjected to a much greater level of stress. The scalp skin is subjected to the same or even more premature aging as the skin covering the body. But the telltale signs are different.
Aging of the scalp manifests itself not in wrinkles as with facial skin, but in its inability to maintain healthy follicles. The scalp’s cell regeneration diminishes to the point that, as with skin covering the rest of our bodies, it becomes thinner and loses its ability to retain moisture, and its ability to distribute nutrients to and detoxify the follicle.
Hair follicles diminish in number as we age. Both women and men experience a form of hair loss as they age. Men experience “Male Pattern Baldness” and women experience diffuse hair loss. Both are caused by the build-up of dihydrotestosterone or DHT within the follicle that is toxic to the follicle. As the follicles begin to die off, they produce fewer and thinner hairs, which at times may shrink by up to 10% in diameter. The hair becomes less voluminous and less able to hold a style.
As we age, we also lose the ability to manufacture melanin within the follicle. The hair loses its pigmentation and turns gray. Combined with the loss in the body caused by the diminution of hair in number and diameter, hair appears drab and lifeless. The solution is to treat the hair with a color service that returns the hair to a more youthful and vital appearance. While a gentle ammonia-free color treatment is in order, even the best color products can damage our hair. Combined with the damaging effect of the environment on the hair and scalp, hair must be protected and reconditioned.
Antioxidants play a key role for a healthy scalp. Look for organic ingredients like reishi mushroom, Chinese foxglove, ku shen, milk thistles, and wolfberry. These contain some of nature’s most powerful antioxidants. When applied to the scalp and hair, they help to ward off the damaging effects of the free radicals from UV rays and our environment that are proven to degrade our hair and scalp, and enhance the hair’s ability to retain color, moisture, and strength.
Dandruff and other debris such sebum (scalp oils), dirt and product residues can build up on the scalp, causing other scalp issues. It’s important to use products that can be easily removed by shampoo, as this will help prevent buildup in the first place. A clean scalp will also promote good cell turnover and promote a healthy environment for optimal hair growth. Just like anti-aging skin care, exfoliation of the scalp is important to remove dead skin cells from the follicle and promote a healthy looking hair follicle.
In combination with an exfoliating pre-shampoo treatment, hair can appear more youthful and with great body if the scalp is stimulated by exfoliation with the aid of brushing with a soft, smooth-tipped natural bristle brush.
Massage is a well-known method of stimulating blood circulation and detoxification to create the optimal environment for a healthy scalp. Look for weightless scalp moisturizers and conditioners such as organic olive oil, organic shea butter, and organic sunflower seed oil.
Foods You Can Eat For A Healthy Scalp
Just as food filled with loads of oil and calories can cause acne flares and jeopardize your waistline, unhealthy food can also cause damage to your healthy looking hair and scalp. Below are some foods you can eat for a healthy scalp:
The key ingredients for a healthy looking hair and scalp are protein and Vitamin D. Salmon is a great source of protein, Vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acid is very much essential to keep your scalp and hair shaft very well hydrated. As healthy looking hair starts with a healthy scalp, get in more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet.
Including prunes in your diet can help improve your hair texture as well as proper bowel movements. As prunes are rich in iron, it helps prevent hair loss, dull hair, thin hair, and discoloration of your hair.
The presence of polyphenols helps in keeping your scalp healthy. If your scalp is healthy, then the overall health of your hair improves, as it helps to keep your hair shiny and dandruff free.
Carrots not only help to sharpen your vision but also to maintain the health of your hair due to the presence of Vitamin A. Existence of Vitamin A helps in formation of sebum oil in the scalp. Sebum is a very important element which helps keep the scalp and hair very well moisturized. A moisturized scalp means healthy looking hair.
Eggs are rich in biotin and Vitamin B. These two nutrients are very important for the health and maintenance of your hair. Biotin is a star element, which helps to keep your hair shiny and lustrous. Biotin is also present in many shampoos and conditioners and is one of the most important elements needed for hair health.
Dark Green Leafy Vegetables
Including lots of dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli and lettuces in your diet is an excellent source of Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Both of these vitamins help in the formation of sebum, which is a natural hair conditioner and hence moisturizes your skin and scalp.
Hair loss or dandruff is due to low level of hormone androgen production. Include oysters in your diets as they are rich in zinc, which further helps in the production of androgen and hence fights against hair fall and dandruff. Besides, it also helps your locks retain shine and health.
What you eat can have a huge effect on the health of your hair.
A lack of the right nutrients including Vitamins A, C, D and E, zinc, B Vitamins, Iron, Biotin, protein and essential fatty acids may slow down hair growth or even cause hair loss. Fortunately, correcting a deficiency in any of these nutrients may help treat hair loss and promote the rate of hair growth.