Shiny, beautiful hair is a reflection of internal health, and no one understands that better than dermatologists. Today, many of them are warning that current hair care practices are dangerous for hair follicles, and many American women are at risk of losing hair, a condition called alopecia. One expert, Roopal V. Kundu, M.D., Associate Professor of Dermatology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, says alopecia is more common now than it was 20 years ago.
In a recent article in the Huffington Post, Dr. Kundu offered eight ideas to guarantee healthier, more beautiful hair:
1. Eat enough protein.
Hair is composed of protein, so as it grows, it requires a continual source of protein. If you are active, you need more; if your lifestyle is sedentary, you can get by with less.
2. Take your supplements.
Iron levels are critical for hair, especially for women. Dr. Kundu recommends Vitamin D, omegas, fish oils, biotin, and a generic multivitamin with iron.
3. Invest in silicone.
Silicone-based haircare products coat and protect your hair.
4. Style with care.
Minimize the heat you use on your hair. Set your dryer at a lower setting, and try to limit flat iron use to once a week.
5. Avoid using the flat iron on wet hair.
Wet hair is more fragile than dry hair, and more vulnerable to breakage. Always air dry or blow dry on a low setting, then use the flat iron.
6. Use products for the specified length.
Haircare products have been developed through careful testing. Don’t leave them in longer than the package advises.
7. The stylist shouldn’t hurt.
Dr. Kundu says any kind of scalp discomfort is a danger sign. If you experience pain when you’re having your hair colored or styled, you need to find a new stylist with more expertise.
8. Looser hairstyles are better.
Wear your hear in a style that is comfortable for your scalp. Tight braids, ponytails and weaves hurt, and that means there is too much tension, and you are in danger of hair loss.