Essential Nutrients for Healthy Hair
A balanced diet can provide numerous benefits — a good nutrition can lower your risk of developing a range of chronic diseases and even help you handle stress better, but did you know your diet also affects the health and look of your hair? Just like skin, the condition of your hair is an outward sign of inside health. The cells that make up each follicle of hair require a regular supply of key nutrients.
Adding a few varied ingredients to your diet is easy, practical and an inexpensive way to promote healthy tresses. The following vitamins and minerals will provide you with the necessary balance to supply your hair with all it needs to remain strong and healthy.
Ensuring you have sufficient amount of protein in your diet is important for making your hair full and vibrant. If you are not consuming enough protein in your diet, your hair is likely to become dry, brittle and weak. Protein deficient diets may result in hair loss. Lean meats such as fish are the easiest way to pack protein into your body along with vegetarian sources such as nuts, soybeans and whole grains.
Iron is an especially important mineral that helps hair follicles grow. When one experiences a deficiency of iron, they may experience hair loss and baldness. Iron is especially important to healthy tresses, because it helps cells carry oxygen to hair follicles. The best sources of iron are red meat, chicken and fish. They provide iron with a high bioavailability, meaning the nutrients are readily available for absorption. Alternatively pair meatless sources, such as soybeans or lentils, with a vitamin C-rich food like an orange to boost iron absorption.
Vitamin C is an all-in-one solution by itself—it is an antioxidant that is readily used by the body. It assists our bodies in the production of collagen that strengthens the capillaries that supply the hair shafts. An adequate amount of Vitamin C may also prevent both discoloration and hair loss. In addition, it boosts blood circulation throughout the body, ensuring your scalp is as healthy as possible. Some recommended sources of Vitamin C are blueberries, broccoli, guava, kiwi, oranges, papaya, strawberries and sweet potatoes.
Introducing more omega-3 fatty acids into your diet promotes shinier and richer looking hair. Omega-3s support scalp health and also provide the natural oils that keep your hair hydrated. Deficiency in essential fatty acids can otherwise result in a dry scalp or dandruff. Try fatty acid rich fish such as salmon, sardines, and trout and plant sources including avocado, spinach and walnuts.
Vitamin A importance to your hair is skin deep; it produces a conditioning substance for the scalp known as sebum. Sebum is natural oil created by our hair’s sebaceous glands and provides an essential conditioner for a healthy scalp. A low production of sebum may have you experiencing an itchy scalp and dry hair. Including colored vegetables in your diet that are high in beta-carotene (which makes vitamin A), such as carrots, pumpkins and sweet potatoes are a great way to boost your vitamin A intake.
In addition to helping the immune system function properly, zinc plays a significant role in scalp protection and has the ability to produce new proteins that are building blocks of strong hair. A lack of zinc can lead to hair loss and a dry, flaky scalp. Cashews, green beans and soybeans are a great source of zinc along with oysters, lobster and lean beef.
The sun can damage our hair just like it can damage our skin. Make sure you consume foods rich in vitamin E to provide protection for your hair. As an antioxidant, vitamin E contributes to your hair’s overall health by fighting off harmful free radicals. Good sources of vitamin E include sunflower seeds, almonds, cabbage, asparagus and avocados.
Possibly the most recommended supplement for hair health is biotin. Also known as vitamin H, biotin can improve hair that is splitting or thinning. Biotin deficiencies are not common because our own bodies produce this vitamin. In cases where a person may produce low levels of biotin, it can cause brittle hair and may lead to hair loss. A balanced diet with biotin rich foods such as bananas, beans, eggs and salmon should help maintain your natural biotin production.
Essential Nutrients for Healthy Hair
The Directors/Producers Views, Experiences and Positive outlook on Hair Restoration.
Before I get into the sheer amazement I have seen in the past 2 years of doing Video Production, Directing and editing for an amazing hair restoration company, let me introduce myself.
My name is Tim, and I own and operate Fourten Visuals Motion Pictures and video production in San Diego. I have had the honor to do video commercials and web video for a Company called Ultimate Hair in San Diego over the past few years. As Someone with thinning hair myself, I related with a lot of the issues, feelings and questions that go behind wanting to get your hair back to a fuller state.
I found myself astounded at the results not only for men, but for women also from Ultimate Hair. Through Doing Video Testimonials I found that this is a life changing experience for a lot of people, and the enhancement of quality of life after the hair restoration or hair replacement procedures is one of the most amazing things I have ever encountered. Not only does it give people their sense of confidence back, but everyone I encountered also goes back to being more active after the Ultimate Hair Restoration. I have filmed these clients underwater, swimming, surfing, wake boarding and many other amazing things that we are lucky enough to be able to do on a daily basis here in Southern California.
On another note, all of the San Diego hair replacement Client testimonials, action shots, photos and lifestyle videos are all actual Ultimate Hair Clients from the San Diego Location. After Watching Various Videos from other hair restoration companies, I was disappointed to see that all of them use actors, and most of the actors and procedures are NOT event their clients. Not any of the Videos from the Other “So Called” Hair Restoration Companies do you see the actual client in real lifestyle situation and in the water. Everything seems to be staged. These Companies Include Hair Club For Men, Bosley Medical and Dermetex. It seems to be that companies like that mislead you just to get you in and sign you up for something you may not even need and I know this for an absolute fact!
On that Note, one of the things I have seen at Ultimate Hair is the Amazing level of personal attention. Everyone’s hair loss is different in one way or the other, and Ultimate Hair really takes the time to find out whats best for the client. The Hair Restoration at Ultimate Hair is truly an amazing process and with their Virtual Imaging System, you can actually see what you would look like with a fully restored head of hair. Ultimate Hair is truly an amazing company to work with, and what they do for peoples self esteem, confidence and overall lifestyle is incomprehensible.
If you are having problems with thinning hair, and just tired of seeing misleading information all over then internet, I suggest you make your first and last stop at Ultimate Hair In San Diego. It will Change your life.
Here is a Video I did Recently for them and you really gotta check out the underwater and surfboard cam shots. Enjoy.
Cleanliness is close to godliness. It’s a popular idiom that gets repeated time and time again by mothers and teachers sick of sloppy homework assignments. Of course, you won’t become an immortal for keeping yourself clean, but it helps set a proper personal image; not to mention, proper hygiene is directly related to a healthy lifestyle.
When it comes to personal hygiene, we often don’t realize all the chemicals and ingredients that often go into the products we use. Keeping clean is important, but what we clean ourselves with plays significantly into that concept of cleanliness and health.
Sulfates, an ingredient found in shampoos and conditioners, among other cleaning products, have recently come under fire as a potential catalyst for hair loss.
Before delving into the world of sulfates, we have to under surfactants. Surfactants are found in every cleaning agent, whether it’s shampoo, body soap, facial wash, or laundry detergent. The chemical nature of a surfactant allows it to surround and trap oily materials while simultaneously reducing surface tension. This expedites the removal of oil, sweat, and dirt. Put simply, the surfactant is the cleaning factor in the formula.
However, surfactants are detergents, which can be harsh or gentle depending on the concentration and the type of compound used.
Sulfates in Shampoo
In the last few decades, shampoos have the used sodium lauryl sulfate or the related sodium laureth sulfate as surfactants. The main reason: they are super cheap and create lots of bubbles and foam.
People hold certain notions about shampoos and what they should do. They expect lots of lather and foam in their shampoo, but that’s actually a misconception. Lather and foam do nothing for hair and only occur as a result of the sulfates binding to air instead of oil. If anything, excessive foam is merely a sign of wasted shampoo.
So What’s Wrong with Sulfates?
So sulfates create a lot of foam, which the general public is trained to appreciate, and it’s cheap for manufacturers. What’s the big deal?
- Interesting enough, outside of the world of hair care, sodium lauryl sulfate is used around the world in clinical studies as a skin irritant. In higher concentrations, it has been shown to corrode skin. Of course, that doesn’t mean that commercial shampoos have enough of a concentration to cause irritation to your scalp, but if your skin is especially sensitive, washing your scalp in SLS probably won’t feel great.
- Sodium lauryl sulfate is rumored to be potentially carcinogenic (i.e. cancer causing). Although this has not been proven in experimental studies, SLS has been shown to cause significant epidermal changes when applied.
- Sodium lauryl sulfate strips your hair and scalp of essential oils, which causes a drying effect while also fading any dyes in your hair. Just imagine what it could do to your scalp.
- With that drying effect, your hair follicles can sustain some severe damage. This could, in turn, lead to hair loss. This may be the reason why teenagers often have problems with thinning hair.
Although the information surrounding SLS is a bit shaky, there’s no proof that SLS is more beneficial than alternatives either. It would be wise for health-conscious consumers to avoid shampoos containing SLS as it’s often a marker for the use of other undesirable ingredients.
What to Look for in a Shampoo
Now that you’re convinced to stay away from sodium lauryl sulfate, what ingredients should you look for in shampoo or conditioner?
You’ll want to find natural ingredients. Look for ingredients like glucosides and glycerine, which should show up on the label as decyl glucoside or coco-glucoside. These ingredients come naturally from corn and sugar. These shampoos obviously won’t have as much foam or lather as you might be used to, but your hair will still feel healthy, clean, and soft.
Another option would be using nothing but warm water to clean your hair. While this sounds potentially disgusting to many, you have to realize that your hair is the way it is because of years of using shampoos containing harmful chemicals, like sodium lauryl sulfate. Once those chemicals have worked their way out of your system, your hair will be left as clean as ever.
The better you take care of your hair, the better it will take care of you, so choose wisely and keep yourself informed about products you consume.
Have you ever thought about just how important the hair on your head is? A bad hair day can completely affect your demeanor all day long, while a good hair day gives you that extra push of confidence to rock what you’ve got proudly. As always, long, healthy hair is desired by women all over the world, but growing your hair out, while properly caring for it, can take whole years. It doesn’t help that hair grows at different rates for everyone.
However, there’s no need to wait years for long hair. Hair extensions have become increasingly popular in recent years. In the past, hair extensions were mainly made from synthetic fibers that looked and felt fake, but these days, hair extensions can be made from real, healthy human hair that blends into your own to create long, luscious locks.
Ultimate Hair Dynamics here in San Diego offers hair extension services to add length and fullness, giving you the advantage of countless good hair days.
When considering hair extensions, one of the first things you’ll want to think about is the type of fiber used in the extensions.
Synthetic fibers, like Kanekalon and Toyokalon, differ from brand to brand, but tend to be a bit cheaper than alternatives. Although synthetic hair comes in a wide range of colors and textures, it is also more sensitive to heat and is thus harder to style and even wash with hot water.
Human hair is an alternative that can be treated like normal hair—heat styling, coloring, and all. Ultimate Hair Dynamics uses high-quality hair from Europe and Russia, as these are two of the best areas to find top quality donated hair.
Levels of Hair Extension Quality
Quality tends to supersede all other factors. Hair extensions have three levels of quality.
- Virgin hair: As you might guess by the name, virgin hair is not processed in any way. There have been no coloring or texture treatments. Virgin hair is collected by tying off the hair on the donor’s head, thus maintaining direction of roots and tips, before being cut.
- Remy: This is the high-quality hair UHD makes use of. These extensions consist of human hair wherein the strands are organized correctly (i.e. with the roots in one direction and the tips at the other). This prevents tangling and ensures proper shine.
- Non-remy: The roots and tips are all mixed up, making tangling a problem as all the opposing cuticles tend to catch on each other. However, non-remy hair is still the most common and the most inexpensive.
Integrating Hair Extensions
Methods of integrating the hair extensions vary and have changed greatly over the years.
The “track and sew” method is one of the most common and long-lasting. This method involves sewing the wefts of hair into “tracks,” usually cornrows or braids, using a blunt-ended needle. The thread used in this sewing often depends on the hair color (dark thread for dark hair, etc.). This enables a secure feel and natural look.
Clip-in hair extensions have become popular recently. In this method, the weft is attached to a small clip or a row of clips. These clips are then attached in layers under your natural hair. The clips remain invisible, while the extensions blend into your hair. Unlike the traditional “track and sew” method, clip-in extensions take only minutes to apply properly. Even better, they can be removed if necessary or can be saved for special occasions.
Caring for Your Extensions
Here are a few tips for hair extension care:
- Brush your hair often (but not too often) to remove any tangles, starting at the ends and working your way up.
- When shampooing, wet your hair with warm water and lightly lather your hair up. Rinse with cool to warm water. For synthetic hair, you may want to consider using a mild shampoo or even a wig shampoo.
- A light conditioner will reduce tangling. Use one designed for dry, damaged hair.
In most cases, you can treat extensions the way you would normal hair, albeit a little gentler.
Hair is an important feature. For some of us, hair is the first thing we notice when we meet someone new. Hair is ultimately versatile. It can be styled differently on a whim, shaved off, or grown long. With the right hairstyle, you can completely change the way your outfit looks. It is the perfect accessory.
However, as we age, hair often grows weaker and thinner. In the worst case scenario, we will succumb to baldness. Hair loss affects about two-thirds of men over the age of 60 and a quarter of women over the age of 50. Baldness happens for various reasons. The most common form of baldness is androgenetic alopecia—which you might know as pattern baldness—and is hereditary. Other causes of baldness include stress, the environment, or specific medications.
Even more common than baldness is graying hair. As you age, your hair will undoubtedly turn color. That’s just how things work out unless you want to constantly dye your hair. The big question here is: Why does hair change color in the first place?
Understanding Hair and Hair Color
First, we have to understand hair. As one of the defining characteristics of mammals, hair is made up of keratin, a fibrous structural protein that is also found in fingernails, the outer layer of human skin, and the horns and hooves of animals.
Hair actually starts out white. It gets its color from melanin, a pigment that is also responsible for skin color. Our hair’s natural color depends on the distribution, type, and amount of melanin in the middle area, or cortex, of the hair shaft.
With the rainbow of different hair colors in existence, hair actually only has two different types of pigments: light (phaeomelanin) and dark (eumelanin). The two shades mix and blend into different concentrations to make up the massive range of hair colors.
Melanocytes, which are the cells that make up melanin, are found around the hair follicles. As the hair grows, melanocytes inject melanin into the hair’s keratin. As you grow, the melanoctyes continue injecting your hair with pigment, giving your hair its warm, colorful hue.
Why Do We Lose Hair Color?
Hair can change or lose color for a variety of reasons.
- Most commonly, as the body ages, the follicles and melanocytes might slow down or eventually stop production. This results in colorless hair, which appears gray when coupled with normal, colored hair. Similarly, follicles can produce color in spurts, which causes your hair to look less bright or faded.
- Genetics may also have a hand in graying hair. Genes regulate the exhaustion of the pigmentary potential of each hair follicle. However, this happens differently for everyone and for every follicle. Some follicles take whole decades to completely lose pigment.
- The sun can act as a natural bleaching agent, significantly lightening hair color. People with blonde or brown hair who spend lengthy periods of time in the sun might find their hair turning a few shades lighter. Once bleached by the sun, hair does not turn dark again. Instead, it is trimmed and replaced by growing hair roots. This is why some people have lighter tips and dark roots. As effective as it is, sun bleaching your hair is not recommended as it damages your hair and increases your risks of skin cancer.
- Believe it or not, your mood can actually result in physical changes in your body’s functions. Extreme fear or stress can change your hair color. Your psychological state has a significant impact on your hormones and body chemistry. In turn, this can affect your body’s production of melanin and the amount of melanin injected into each strand of hair. However, this will not happen instantly and may take years.
- Those suffering from malnutrition notice a distinct lightening in their hair color, along with much weaker strands and slower growth. This change in hair color is usually reversed once the individual receives proper nutrition.
- Some medical conditions, like pernicious anemia and Werner syndrome, can result in changing or graying hair color.
Other possible factors include:
- Genetic defects
- Exposure to chemicals
We all get older. It’s one of the things we can count on in life. Some people are excited to grow up. It means staying out late and doing things you couldn’t as a kid. Others wish they could return to childhood, to that doe-eyed sense of naïve bliss.
Everyone ages differently. Some people seem to perpetually look like high school students, while others have deep lines and wrinkles. One of the most common signs of aging is hair loss. Baldness affects as many as two-thirds of men over the age of 60. Even some women—about one in four—will suffer some form of hair loss by age 50. Believe it or not, some men and women lose their hair even earlier in their 20s and 30s.
For those not so fond of hair loss, there are numerous methods for restoring hair such as surgical or non-surgical hair replacement. However, as ominous as the numbers might seem, understand that hair loss is natural, and to many people, baldness is actually a distinguished trait.
Understanding Hair Loss
Hair is made up of a protein known as keratin, which is the same material that makes up fingernails and the outer layer of human skin. The hair that we see actually consists of long strings of dead keratin cells, which makes sense; otherwise, haircuts would be entirely painful affairs. As hair follicles grow new hair, old hair is pushed out of the skin in the head, which happens at an average rate of seven inches a year.
Of the over 100,000 hairs on your head, you will shed about 100 strands of hair over the course of the day. Before you panic, understand that this is perfectly normal and that your hair is constantly restoring itself.
As you age, your hair will gradually thin out. This is known as involutional alopecia and leads to loss of hair around the crown and temples. Just about everyone will experience thinning hair in old age, but what about losing hair even younger?
Am I Too Young to be Balding?
Although baldness generally affects older individuals, premature balding is not at all unheard of.
- The most common form of hair loss is androgenetic alopecia, more commonly known as pattern baldness. Female pattern baldness tends to occur after menopause, while male pattern baldness can happen in a man’s 20s, if not earlier. The main thing to understand about pattern baldness is that it is genetic.
Androgenetic alopecia is caused by the presence of excess hormones, namely testosterone and DHT, which drastically affect hair’s growth cycle. The hormones cause hair to shed more rapidly, simultaneously killing hair follicles. This leads to baldness in the front and top of the scalp, leaving the sides relatively intact.
- Certain medications can cause premature hair loss as well. Supplements for thyroid hormones can cause hair to shed, though conjointly, a lack of thyroid hormone can also lead to baldness. Medications for chemotherapy will, of course, lead to premature hair loss as well, though this is usually temporary. Some antidepressants and medications for mood disorders and seizures can also potentially lead to hair loss. Most of these pharmaceuticals will list hair loss as a potential side effect though.
- Trichotillomania is a disorder noted by a compulsive desire to pull out one’s hair. This disorder is similar to obsessive-compulsive disorder and can generally be treated with therapy and antidepressants. Excessive hair pulling can damage the follicles, enough to the point that they cease to function.
- Malnutrition can also play a factor in premature hair loss. Remember that what you put into your body affects all of its functions, which includes hair growth. Your body needs to absorb a regular supply of vitamins and minerals. Lack of proper nutrition means your hair has nothing to sustain itself on.
- Stress and emotional instability can have very real physical effects on your body, including hair loss. Excessive stress can force hair follicles into the resting phase. This can result in molting or massive hair loss. This condition is known as telogen effluvium and usually follows major stressful events or severe illnesses. Over time, the condition should reverse and your hair should grow back. In the mean time, make sure to calm down and try not to worry too much.
Sometimes premature hair loss occurs even without any of the above causes. In any case, it may be best to assess your lifestyle and make any changes that you feel could be deteriorating your health and the health of your hair. You can always schedule a consultation with us to talk about your hair restoration options as well.
Baldness has always been a very common condition, especially in men. Far from being considered unattractive, baldness can actually be fairly appealing; many people prefer the lack of hair. Of course, not everyone shares this sentiment and would rather hide their exposed scalps under large hats.
Baldness affects a vast majority of people, both men and women, in the world, and though there isn’t a single, definitive cause, heredity and genes tend to take the cake. A long line of parents, grandparents, and relatives with baldness might point to your own potential hair loss.
For those who aren’t so happy about losing their hair, there are dozens of options for regaining it, from medical procedures to pharmaceuticals. The most common hair loss treatment is hair transplant surgery.
Hair transplant surgery has come a long way since its original inception. Believe it or not, hair transplantation has been around for decades. Let’s take a look at the history and evolution of hair transplant surgery.
The Beginning of Hair Transplant Surgery
The early days of hair transplant surgery began in 1939. Japanese dermatologist Dr. Okuda published a medical journal that included a new method of using small grafts to restore hair loss. Dr. Okuda used a punch technique that involved extracting minute sections of skin with healthy hair and then implanting those sections of hair-bearing skin into tiny incisions in areas of bald skin. The hair then grew normally, restoring the previously balding areas.
This method was improved a few years later by another Japanese dermatologist. Dr. Tamura minimized the size of the grafts to only one to three hairs each. Although Dr. Tamura specialized in restoring hair in the pubic area, the concept was still applicable to the scalp. This process is actually nearly identical to the surgeries performed today.
Unfortunately, this method did not register with the Western Hemisphere until years later due to interruptions from World War II.
Evolution and Introductions to the West
It wasn’t until the 1950s that hair transplant surgery reached the Western Hemisphere. A New York dermatologist, Dr. Norman Orentreich, experimented with the idea of relocating grafts of hair from the back and sides of the head to balding areas, a technique similar to the one used by Dr. Okuda.
Dr. Orentreich completed the first hair transplant in the United States for a man with male pattern baldness. Although the results of the procedure did not look especially natural or attractive, Dr. Oretreich still developed the concept of “donor dominance”- hair could be transplanted from balding- resistant donor areas to areas of balding and continue to grow for a lifetime.
By the 1960s, hair transplant surgery became a very popular cosmetic procedure. Unfortunately, the procedure gained a negative reputation as the methods at this time weren’t quite finessed, and the results didn’t look so natural.
In the 80s, large punch grafts were replaced with a combination of mini and micrografts. Rather than using the punch to extract bald-resistant grafts, a strip of bald-resistant hair was surgically removed from the back of the head and trimmed into the smaller mini and micrografts.
The minigrafts consisted of four to eight hairs and were used to create fullness and density, while the micrografts created a refined, feathered hairline. This method used several hundred grafts, as opposed to about 50 to 200 large grafts with the punch method.
Modern Day Hair Transplants
It wasn’t until the 90s that hair transplant surgery saw a drastic improvement. The 1990s saw the introduction of follicular hair transplantation, a labor-intensive procedure wherein hairs were transplanted in naturally occurring one, two, three, or four hair follicular unit groupings. These groupings mimic the way hair grows naturally. The process requires high levels of magnification to isolate the specific groupings of follicles.
Follicular hair transplantation eliminated the old stigmas surrounding hair transplant surgery. The procedure left people with hair that looked attractive and natural. Hair restoration became a viable option for men and women suffering hair loss. Results from follicular hair transplantation are so natural your barber might not even tell the difference.
Of course, hair loss surgeons continue to improve on their methods, finding new techniques to transplant hair for the perfectly natural look and eliminating baldness altogether.
When it comes to fashion accessories, hair is probably the most versatile and effective. All those expensive necklaces and bracelets and gaudy rings can’t match up to a good hair style, but hair isn’t as simple as you might think. Hair is a complex mammalian material that has different parts with different functions. It just happens to be outside your body and can be cut and styled. Hair is not just a material with a biological function; it becomes a part of our psychological identity. Even those suffering from baldness can make use of hair restoration services and enjoy the stylistic aspects of hair.
Although it might not always be obvious, we are covered in hair. Aside from the bottoms of our feet and the palms of our hands, our entire bodies consist of tiny hairs, making it a much more prevalent matter than we might initially believe.
So what is hair and what does it consist of? Let’s take a closer look at the fine anatomy of hair.
Hair consists of two structures: the follicle, deeply embedded in the skin, and the shaft, which is visible to us. The follicle is the skin organ that produces hair and consists of several layers, each with a different function. The hair follicle is an important component of successful surgical hair replacement procedures, as this can be considered the “root” of the hair which successfully continues to grow after transplantation.
- At the base of the follicle is the papilla, which is made up mainly of connective tissue and capillaries that feed the cells.
- Wrapped around the papilla is the bulb or hair matrix, a collection of epithelial cells and melanocytes, which produce the hair’s pigment. The bulb is the living part of hair, and cell division in the bulb leads to the main structures in hair fiber as well as the inner and outer sheaths. Cells in the bulb divide every 23 to 72 hours, which is faster than any other cell in the body.
- Surrounding the follicle are the inner and outer sheaths. These protect and shape the hair shaft. The inner sheath follows the hair shaft and ends just below the opening of a sebaceous gland, while the outer sheath continues up the gland.
- An arrector pili, which attaches to a fibrous layer around the outer sheath, is a muscle responsible for making your hair stand up when it contracts. For those with little body hair, contraction of the arrector pili muscle causes goosebumps.
- Sebaceous glands are found all over the body. These glands produce an oily, waxy substance called sebum. An overabundance of sebum tends to cause acne, but the substance is necessary for the skin’s lubrication. Sebum is vital to hair as it acts as a natural conditioner.
- The bulge is part of the outer sheath and is located at the insertion point of the arrector pili muscle. The bulge contains several types of stem cells, supplying the hair follicle with new cells. The bulge also takes part in healing the epidermis after a wound.
The hair shaft, as mentioned earlier, is the visible part of the hair. The shaft is composed of keratin, which is a fibrous protein that is a key structural component in our nails and the horns of other mammals. The hair shaft consists of no biochemical activity and is considered dead, which is good because cutting your hair would otherwise be a terrifying, painful experience!
The hair shaft is made up of three layers: the medulla, cortex, and cuticle.
- The medulla is the innermost layer of the shaft but it is not always present.
- The cortex is the middle layer and takes up a majority of the hair shaft. The cortex is highly structured and organized and is the primary source of mechanical strength and water uptake. The cortex also contains melanin, which is responsible for skin pigmentation and, in this case, hair color. The shape of the follicle determines the shape of the cortex. A hair’s curliness is determined by the shape of the hair fiber. Asian hair, for instance, tends to have a round fiber and is thus straight. Oval or irregularly-shaped fibers lead to curly or wavy hair.
- The cuticle is the outer covering for the hair shaft. The cuticle is made up of a formation of tightly packed scales set in an overlapping structure, kind of like roof shingles. This structure slides as the hair swells. The cuticle is also covered with a thin molecular layer of lipids that allows the hair to repel water. Most hair conditioner products target the cuticle.
The sun shines through every window. Outside, the world seems to be illuminated by a soft, golden light. Kids are out of school, running and playing in the grass. The air is warm and welcoming. Weekends are punctuated with cold drinks and barbeques.
All signs point to summer, and the warmth and the sun shouldn’t overshadow your own beauty. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should rush out and spend your money on the most expensive, stylish outfits. Even the simplest of outfits can look elegant with the perfect hairstyle.
Summer hair trends are all about looking and feeling good in the sun. Here are five of the hottest hair trends for the summer.
Layered lengths with casual textures are the perfect complement to just about any summer hair style. Layers make for simple, low-maintenance looks. Add some subtle waves for a bit of volume and shape, or couple it with a loose ponytail. Even unstyled, layered hair provides an easy, natural look.
As important as hair accessories are, this season is about looking natural. Only use accessories to add some color and brightness to your hair, but remember that your summer hair looks best free-moving.
The Pixie Cut
Short hairstyles seem to be making quite a comeback (think Twiggy in her famous portrait), and what better time to do away with long, burdensome hair than the summer? The pixie cut is illustrated by short sides and a very slightly longer top and fringe with the top and sides flowing and blending perfectly together. The fringe length has changed over the years from shorter to slightly longer and is more a matter of personal preference.
The pixie crop can be styled in numerous ways, from messy to neatly combed and parted. Longer fringes can be casually swept to the side.
The shortness of the cut should be convenient for those hot summer days that offer the infrequent cool breeze. This hairstyle works with different textures and thicknesses of hair.
Keeping the hair off your neck and away from your face can save you from discomfort and sweatiness. Tying your hair up into a ponytail will help with just that, but a normal ponytail can be a bit drab.
To add a little personality to your ponytail, make a high ponytail that shows off its base and gives your roots a lift. Tease the loose top section of your hair for a casual, free look. Go ahead and let those little wisps that don’t stay put frame your face.
Make use of hair bands and accessories to brighten up that ponytail and add a bit of color, but make sure to keep things nice and simple. For a more elegant look, wrap a piece of your ponytail around your hair band and secure it underneath with a bobby pin.
Curly hair is always popular in the summer, but this year, it’s all about the waves. Use a small curling iron and work on large chunks of hair for larger, fuller spirals. Try to make the waves look as natural as possible. If your hair is naturally curly or wavy, work some lightweight product through wet hair and simply scrunch it.
Wavy hair will give the perfect beach look and have enough volume to prevent your hair from being too suffocating. If you want to keep the hair out of your face, wrap or tie your hair with a silk scarf just behind your hairline. To make sure the scarf stays in place, knot it twice, once horizontally, once vertically. This will keep the scarf tight and the ends even.
The key to this year’s hairstyles is revival and evolution, and nothing illustrates that better than the bob. What once began a century ago has now made a comeback. The short, straight hairstyle of the bob was originally a convenient hairstyle for women involved in war work but has since entered the style and fashion arenas.
The modern bob is a bit softer than the sharper bob cut of the 1920s and works especially well with a fringe. These days, the bob style has become much longer, and although it is at times messier than its initial incarnation, the bob can still look neat and straight without any harsh, sharp edges.
For the summer, a bob works well with a casual, textured wave to keep things interesting and varied. You also get the perfect beach-inspired look.
All Natural Extensions
Many women like to get their hair highlighted in the summer time to add that golden, sun-kissed, been-at-the-beach-all-weekend look. The downside: harsh chemicals. All natural hair extensions can add tonal variation and depth of color to your hair, not to mention extra thickness, and all without chemicals or root touch-ups. With natural hair extensions, you can still try almost any of the hairstyles listed above, too!
Once, it was believed that men were the only ones who had to deal with hair loss. However, female pattern baldness has become an all too common occurrence. Millions of women deal with thinning hair or bald spots.
Many women choose to hide their thinning hair and feel ashamed or unattractive. Rather than concealing their hair, women should understand that balding, thinning hair is perfectly normal and usually at no one’s fault.
Most importantly, women suffering hair loss should maintain hope: there are numerous effective hair replacement options available. Let’s take a look at the causes of female pattern baldness and the surgical and non-surgical methods of restoring that hair.
Causes for Female Hair Loss
Pinning hair loss on any single cause is hard. There are dozens of possible reasons a women may be losing her hair. What makes things even more difficult is the fact that the patterns of hair loss in women are not as easily identifiable as those in men.
Some causes for women’s hair loss include:
Genetics – The most common cause of scalp hair loss, in both men and women, is entirely hereditary. Androgenic alopecia is an inherited sensitivity to the effects of male hormones (androgens) on scalp hair follicles. After reaching menopause, for instance, women may find that their hair has become thinner.
Normally, when a hair follicle falls out, it is replaced by a hair of equal size and thickness. For women with female pattern baldness, the new hair is finer and thinner. This cycle continues with thinner and thinner hair until the hair quits growing altogether.
A simple way to determine your susceptibility to hair loss is to look at your parents or grandparents, and so on. Hair loss can be hereditary both maternally and paternally. If any of your family suffers from thin hair or scalp baldness, you might have to deal with the same in the future.
Medical conditions – Numerous medical conditions can bring about hair loss, the most common including:
- Androgenetic alopecia
- Alopecia areata
- Pregnancy (which may cause imbalances in hormones)
- Thyroid disorders
- Autoimmune diseases
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Some skin conditions
However, signs of baldness or hair loss caused by these medical conditions are often temporary and subside in a matter of weeks.
Environmental – Sometimes, hair loss comes down to outside agents. Extreme stress can lead to all sorts of physiological problems, including hair loss. Dramatic weight loss or a lack of certain nutrients can take a hard toll on your body and your hair.
Sometimes, hair loss is attributed to self-inflicted causes. Over-tight hairstyles like cornrows or braids can lead to traction alopecia. Take into consideration the types of manipulation done to your hair (dyes, chemicals, blow dryers, flat irons, and more), all of which can cause damage or breakage.
Replacing and Restoring Hair
Understanding the causes of hair loss, let’s take a look at a few ways to prevent and restore your hair.
Diet –Eating the right foods and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help prevent hair loss. Some foods worth considering include:
- Oats can speed up hair growth with high levels of iron, potassium, and magnesium.
- Citrus fruits contain vitamin C, which is essential to healthy hair and skin.
- Turkey is a great source of niacin, which promotes healthy blood circulation. Increased blood circulation means more oxygen to your scalp and hair follicles and thus better hair growth.
- Minoxidil, which goes by the brand name Rogaine, is an FDA-approved hair restoration drug and can either be taken as a pill or applied topically. Surprisingly, Minoxidil seems to be more effective on women suffering androgenic alopecia than men. However, product labeling suggests that women only use the 2% concentration of Minoxidil. The higher 5% concentration is only prescribed under the supervision of a dermatologist.
- Propecia (finastiride), is another pharmaceutical option that is more common. This drug inhibits the enzyme that converts testosterone into DHT, the hormone that often causes hair loss. Be sure to talk to your doctor about this option, because it isn’t always recommended for women, and certainly shouldn’t be taken or handled by pregnant women.
Surgery – When worse comes to worst, surgery is always an option. The two most common surgical methods of hair restoration are transplants and scalp reduction (with transplantation being highly recommended over scalp reduction).
- Hair transplants are probably the more popular of the two methods. Hair transplantation is completely safe and easy. During the procedure hair follicles are taken from donor areas of a woman’s scalp. Eligible donor areas are the parts of your scalp that have strong hair growth. The hair follicles are then surgically placed into the bald or thinning areas, and the hair continues to live and reproduce after being transplanted.
Hair Duplication – A unique, detailed process goes into creating this non-surgical hair replacement. Perfectly matched real human hair blends seamlessly and naturally into your own hair type. This is a durable, aesthetically pleasing choice for many men and women.
Remember to consult a professional to fully understand your options and make the best choice.