I can’t tell why, for sure, but it seems that we are always very quick to blame the weather when our hair become dry. It is true that the heat of summer and the extreme cold of winter can have a part in this. But there are quite many factors that can cause dry hair.
For instance: hormonal changes, swimming, using alcohol-based products, styling with too much heat, inappropriate choice of shampoo and disease can all cause dry hair.
How then can you get out of this? What must you do to maintain the integrity of your hair?
Here is the first thing that you should always do: try and find out what is causing your dry hair. Once you have excluded all the causes that you can think of, then it may be the best time to visit your dermatologist for help.
Certain underlying severe conditions can cause hair dryness and should be treated promptly after they are diagnosed to preserve your health.
What is the science of dry hair? Why does your hair become dry? Read on.
The Science of Dry Hair
Indeed, your hair will become dry either when it cannot produce or retain enough moisture.
The moisturizing component of hair is oil produced chiefly from the sebaceous glands deep within the skin. Insufficient moisturization could be hereditary or possibly a consequence of old age which has been progressing over time.
Besides, the structure of the hair strand itself is protective against dryness. See, the hair strand is made up of three layers: the medulla, the cortex, and the cuticle.
The medulla is the innermost layer and is the supporting structure of the hair strand. Some literature sources may call it the core.
Surrounding the medulla is the cortex. The cortex forms the middle layer of the hair strand and is responsible for the elasticity, curl, shape and resilience of the hair strand.
The outermost layer is the cuticle. It is the outermost protective covering of the hair strand. In most cases of hair dryness, it is as a result of damage to the cuticle.
When the cuticle is damaged, moisturizing oil easily seeps from the inner layers of the strand and is lost to the environment.
Fortunately, hair dryness can be reversed. The condition in itself is not a disease, and you may not present with any symptoms – unless there is another disease that is causing your hair to dry.
How to Hydrate and Moisturize Your Hair Effectively
There are quite many things that you can do to restore the integrity of your hair. Remedies range from DIY options to using natural products for dry hair:
1. Start by Taking Care of Your Hair.
These are some of the Do It Yourself (DIY) alternatives that are equally very beneficial when you want to moisturize and hydrate your hair.
• Limit the frequency and amount of heat you apply to your hair
Although it is one the best ways to straighten your hair, too much heat can be very damaging. It cannot only cause hair dryness but can also lead to hair loss.
Using heat far too frequently for blow-drying, straightening or curling your hair can make your hair very brittle and uncomfortably dry.
You can allow your hair to dry naturally or use ionic hair dryers. You can also use a low heat setting on your hairdryer. Just don’t heat your hair daily.
• Use only the right shampoo that has always worked for you
Tying out new products for your hair can sometimes be a decision that will eventually haunt you. Stick to the shampoo that has ever worked for you. Alternatively, you can only use shampoos that are recommended for your hair type.
You should also avoid those hair products that contain silicones and sulfates. I know what you must be thinking: silicones are the best at making your hair look shiny. Why should you avoid them?
Well, here is the reason: silicones can only be removed by sulfates. Failure to remove them appropriately will cause them to build up and make your hair dull.
Moreover, the agent used to remove silicones from hairs is harsh sulfates that are mostly found in household cleaners. You can just comprehend the damage they can cause on your hair.
• Avoid washing your hair daily
This may be a tough call for some people, but it is the right thing to do. Ideally, washing your hair twice or thrice a week is very much okay.
It is beyond a reasonable doubt that the more you wash your hair, the more you predispose it to dryness. This is the reason why frequent swimmers may complain of hair dryness.
• Limit the number of times you style your hair
Do not overindulge in hair styling techniques such as dyeing, highlighting, or relaxing. While these methods are beneficial for the aesthetic value of your hair, they incorporate the use of certain chemicals that can be harsh to your hair.
Chemical-free relaxers and ammonia-free color for hairs are available. You can use these ones instead of other alternatives that contain harsh chemicals.
Visit a salon to get your hair done professionally with these products that won’t cause dryness to your hair.
• Protect your hair from the weather
Weather is by far one of the major causes of hair dryness. Always cover your hair when you are outdoors. Moisturizing conditioners can be very beneficial during extreme weather conditions, though; you should only apply them once weekly.
2. Use Natural Remedies Such as Masks and Other Treatments
Most people are going natural with most of the treatment options because they are very effective and with negligible side effects. Here are some of them:
• Buy conditioning treatments from the store
Wash your hair and then apply a deep conditioner that you bought from the store. After the application, tuck your hairs securely under a shower cup and wait for between 15 and 30 minutes. Afterward, remove the shower cap and wash out the deep conditioner.
• Apply hot oil treatment
To make hot oil treatment for dry hair, heat about 2 tablespoons of coconut oil or olive oil (you can use other oils if these two aren’t available). After heating, comb the oil through your hair and cover your hair with a shower cap for up to 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, rinse the oil off your hair and wash with both a shampoo and a conditioner. The amount of oil you use is dependent on the thickness of your hair. Thicker hair requires more oil.
• Try honey and coconut oil mask
Place one tablespoon of both honey and coconut oil into a microwave dish. Heat the sample until the coconut oil melts. Subsequently, stir and mix the combination. Once ready, comb it through your hair and then wash it off with shampoo and warm water. Olive oil is a better alternative if you don’t have coconut oil.
• Try out the nourishing effect of avocado and oil mask
Avocado is also a very beneficial remedy for dry hair. To use it, mash some ripe avocados and mix it with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. You can include one tablespoon of honey if you want to improve on hair nourishment and hydration. Once ready, apply the mask to your hair, wait for about 30 minutes while your hair is covered then wash out the mask.
3. Consider your general health
Putting your wellness into account will not only preserve the impressive luster of your hair but will benefit all other systems in your body.
• Eat plenty of silica-containing foods
Nutritious foods such as asparagus, cucumber, potatoes, and other vegetable are very rich in silica – a potent stimulator of healthy hair growth. Such foods prevent the possibility that your hair will dry because it is unhealthy.
• Don’t forget to supplement your diet with enough proteins and vitamins
Sources of proteins include yogurt, beans, eggs and the most obvious – meat. Proteins together with Vitamins A, B, C, E, and K are essential for the growth of healthy hair. You can obtain vitamins from vegetables and fruits.
• Eat foods that are rich in essential fatty acids
Essential fatty acids are known to combat the dryness and brittleness of hair. Foods rich in essential fatty acids include herring, sardines, tuna, mackerel and salmon species of fish.
• Drink enough water each day
Water rehydrates your entire body – your skin and your hair inclusive. Your doctor will recommend drinking about 6 to 8 glasses of water each day to improve the health of your body.
Hair dryness in itself is not a disease. But it can be pretty much uncomfortable. Conveniently, there are many proven options that can work well for you to restore the integrity of your hair. When you have tried every available option, and you are still not achieving any desirable results, you should visit your dermatologist or cosmetologists for help.
Written by Bonnke Arunga – a senior medical student and an expert health writer who has particular interest in dermatology and skin health, including treatment of hair loss. Bonnke is currently the main contributor at the Hairverse.com where you can find in-depth articles regarding hair loss causes and treatments.