Healthy strands boast tightly closed cuticle layers. If hair is in good condition, it shines, swings, feels good when touched, and has no "candyfloss" ends or split strands.If you want to keep your hair healthy, you have to avoid the enemies of healthy hair; too much sun, vitamin deficiencies, illness or other stresses, certain drugs like sulfa drugs and birth control pills, and cosmetic assaults like perming or dyeing. There is also the issue of environmental contamination, as from chlorine. The easiest route to healthy hair is to avoid as many of the following damaging things as possible.ShampooingShampoo works by removing dirt and excess sebum from the hair's surface. Gentle shampoos remove just what they need to. Strong shampoos, however, can take with them your hair's protective sebum, that necessary natural oil that keeps hair pliable, moisturized, and healthy. In some cases, strong shampoos also disrupt your hair's cuticle layer, roughing up those tile-like portions and allowing damage to the interior cortex.Don't overdo it- Get into washing habits that suit your hair and you will benefit from healthy looking, naturally shiny hair.Rough handlingRaking through damp strands with a fine-toothed comb, yanking at tangles, brushing hair 20 times a day, absent mindedly tugging at locks, backcombing strands for a fuller finish - these all constitute rough handling, and they are all guaranteed ways to damages fragile tresses.Every time you handle your hair, even if you just push your fingers through it, you put stress on its cuticle layer, causing the cuticle's tightly overlapping tiles to come unhinged; in hair-care circles, this is known as mechanical damage. Particularly aggressive treatment can even strip away a section of these tiles. When this protective armour is compromised or removed, hair splits, frays, or snaps off. Hair accessoriesPonytail holders, hair slides, combs, clips - most of us have been using these and other hairdo helpers since childhood. This is fine, as long as you don't use them more then one or three times a week. Wearing your hair day after day in the same style can wear away the hair's cuticle layer and cause breakage in those locks that are contained by the accessory.Similarly, if you're not gentle when removing them, hair accessories you can damage locks in another way. Try not to yank free any tresses that become stuck in the hinge of a clip or a hair slide or wound around a ponytail holder. Unfortunately, ripping strands out of a hair ornament's grasp can strip away a long swath of the cuticle layer.Heat stylingAsk any dermatologist or stylist the main cause of damaged hair and they will probably say heat-styling. Heat causes a number of problems: it lifts those tightly fitting tiles that create cuticle layer, causing small spaces where water and other substances can enter and cause damage. Heat can also damage and remove small chips of the cuticle layer, causing a porous, hole-pocked surface that leaves hair weakened and prone to splitting, fraying, and breaking. The best way to avoid heat damage is to air-dry hair and stay away from heated curling and straightening appliances. Blow-dry only when necessary (for example, when you're going out), prepare hair with a leave-in conditioner for a bit of protection, and hold the blower at least 15 cm (6 inches) from the head.Environmental ContaminationChlorine, used in swimming pools, is a bleach and it does have a damaging effect on hair. Not only does it affect the texture and color of the hair, but it can also weaken hair at the follicle. When you swim, always rinse your hair out after every swim in clean water as chlorine and salt ruin your hair, even more so if your hair is chemically treated.Eating An Unbalanced DietGood hair, skin, teeth and overall health is directly tied to eating well balanced meals. Our bodies crave vitamins and minerals. When we don't provide these goodies to our bodies, many things suffer. Often our hair and skin are obvious victims. A poor diet will also prevent us from having the optimal energy to be successful in other areas of our life. Besides, smoking has also been proven to accelerate the incidence of hair loss and the accumulation of gray hair. Caffeine is also not blameless. Excessive caffeine use can do all kinds of damage and has been proven to be a culprit in all sorts of hair and skin related problems.Hair vitamins do work. This is because they actually supplement the vitamins and minerals that our bodies and hair require for optimal growth and condition. Hair vitamins alone are not the perfect solution. Eating well for your body type in combination with vitamins and minerals will be the real winning combination. Generally, a safe, conservative approach to hair care is the best way to keep hair healthy.
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