Does your silky, soft hair lusciously bounce as you walk, making you look and feel like a supermodel? Or, like most Americans, do you suffer from dry, frizzy hair that’s prone to breakage and split ends? Learning how hair grows and understanding what causes dry hair will help you achieve the naturally beautiful locks of your dreams!
Understanding Your Hair
Each strand of hair on your body grows from a tiny pocket within your skin called a follicle. At the bottom of the follicle is a root, made of up protein cells. As blood from a blood vessel reaches the follicle, it connects to and feeds the root, which creates more cells and allows for the hair to grow. As it grows, the hair will push up out of the skin, passing an oil gland. As soon as the hair pokes out of the skin, it becomes dead! This is why haircuts aren’t painful.
People are born with all the hair follicles they will ever have. The average number is about 5 million, with around 100,000 follicles on your scalp. Each day, you normally lose between 50 and 100 hairs. This is due to each follicle having it’s own growth cycle.
Sebaceous glands are tiny exocrine glands within the skin, which secrete a natural oil called sebum. Sebum lubricates and waterproofs the skin and hair. Different types of sebaceous glands are located on every part of the human body except for the palms of hands and soles of the feet.
Aprocrine glands, also known as sweat glands, are found only in certain locations of the human body: ear canal, eyelids, nostrils, perianal area, armpits, nipples, and external genitalia. These sweat glands produce an oily (and sometimes smelly) compound which acts as a pheromone and warning signal. Stress sweat is caused by apocrine glands, which is induced by fear, sexual stimulation, pain, or stress.
The hair shaft is made of keratin and has three layers. The inner layer is called the medulla (not all hairs have a medulla), the second layer is the cortex, and the outer layer is the cuticle. The cortex composes the majority of the hair shaft and provides its strength. The cortex also determines the texture and color of the hair.
Hair Growth Cycle
Each hair on your body grows at a different interval and timeline. There are three phases within the hair growth cycle: anagen, catagen, and telogen. Anagen is the active or growth phase. During this phase hair grows about 1 cm every 28 days. The hairs on your head typically remain growing in the anagen phase for 2-6 years.
The catagen phase is known as the transitional stage. For hairs on your head, this phase lasts just about 2 – 3 weeks. During this phase, the follicle shrinks and stops producing hair.
The final phase in the hair life cycle is known as the telogen or resting phase. At any given point, between 10 – 15% of your hair is in the telogen phase, where it has ceased to grow and will eventually be released and fall out. Telogen effluvium is a condition where stress actually causes hair roots to be pushed into this stage prematurely, causing early hair loss. Thinning or shedding of hair characterizes this condition.
What Causes Dry Hair?
Dry hair is almost always caused by one or more of these reasons:
- Your scalp isn’t producing enough oil.
- Your hair cuticles are letting the moisture escape.
- Poor nutrition.
As you get older, your hair naturally produces less and less oil; however, it’s important not to speed up this natural process! Hair is designed to be slightly oily. As mentioned above, the oils known as sebum are produced in order for your hair follicles to lubricate and waterproof your skin and hair.
We’ve put together the following list to help you keep a full, strong, and healthy head of hair! There’s nothing quite like strong, vibrant hair to keep up your confidence with yourself and in social settings.
Ways to Keep Hair Strong, Healthy & Vibrant
1.) Take A Day Off!
Most women and men enjoy a good hair day. The problem with a good hair day is the amount of stress placed onto your hair. Daily shampooing with chemical cleaners, brushing hair to remove tangles, high heat for straightening, and further high heat associated with a blow dry… these are all daily activities which put a great deal of stress on your hair. Take a day off from all that, and treat your hair to a relaxing figurative “day at the spa!” Your hair will thank you.
2.) Moisturize with Argan Oil
Moroccan argan oil is known to help you instantly achieve smoother, silky, hydrated salon-style hair. I recommend Poppy Austin 100% Pure Agan Oil. By moisturizing your skin with this oil, you also get the benefit of topical Vitamin E, essential fatty acids, and natural antioxidants. This formula will help to eliminate your dry, frizzy hair, and give you a boost of confidence for work and play.
3.) Limit Most Hair Product Usage
Just about every type of common hair product sold at major groceries and drug stores is made with some type of harsh chemical agents for cleaning, dyeing, or styling. Try to avoid hair dye, mousse, gel, most shampoos, and even most popular conditioners. Stay away from the following ingredients: sodium laurel / sodium laureth sulfate, ammonium laurel sulfate, sodium salt sulfuric acid, Aquarex methyl, sulfuric acid, and sodium dodecylsulfate. These same ingredients, contained in many shampoos, are also the main ingredients contained within industrial engine cleaners and floor detergents!
4.) Avoid Brushing Hair While Wet
Wet hair is more likely to break or be damaged while wet, compared to dry hair. A better alternative is to use a wide-tooth comb. Another tip is to avoid towel drying your hair after a shower. Rubbing your wet hair with a towel can cause damage to your hair cuticle, leading to frizzy or dry looking hair. It’s better to wrap your hair in a towel and allow it to dry without rubbing.
5.) Include Fish in Your Diet
The food you eat, along with vitamins and minerals your body absorbs, can play an important role in the appearance and strength of your hair. The old saying, “you are what you eat” is incredibly true. Sustainably raised fish like salmon, sardines, and mackarel contain lots of healthy omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids aid in the production of sebum, which keeps your scalp moist and hair healthy. The proper amount of omega-3 fatty acids are also healthy for the brain, heart, and skin. I recommend Diamond Nutritionals’ Balanced Omega Support Capsules, two once a day. Omega Support has been distilled to remove heavy metals such as mercury, as well as fish protein impurities which often cause burping. It also has the shortest catch-to-capsule time in the industry. This ensures a fresh product, as many fish oil products are rancid by the time they reach the store, or after sitting on the shelf for an extended period of time.
6.) Daily Supplements for Healthy Hair
In addition to eating right, a daily supplement specifically formulated for healthy hair can help you achieve locks you’ll love. I recommend Diamond Nutritionals’ Skin, Hair, and Nail Formula, one three times a day, or three once a day. This formula provides the essential vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients necessary for optimal hair and nail growth and health. Over the years, many of my patients have used this formula with good success. The best way to treat hair, skin, and nails is by nourishing from the inside!
Diamond Nutritionals’ Skin, Hair, and Nail Formula also contains targeted, natural ingredients. Saw palmetto supports the control of dyhydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT is thought to be an instigator of premature hair loss. Poor hair health can also be a sign of sulfur or HCl deficiency. For these reasons, MSM and Betaine HCl are added. Premature graying is thought to be a sign of PABA deficiency. So PABA has been added. Horsetail Grass Powder has been added for a source of silica which plays a role in nail and skin formation.