Everyone wants healthy-looking hair. Some people have naturally thick, lustrous locks, but it’s not all just a matter of good genes or luck. From nourishing your hair with a balanced diet and avoiding harsh chemicals to practicing good hair hygiene and using the right products, there are many ways to promote healthy hair. Here are a few dermatologist-approved tips to keep hair healthy and looking its best.
Be Gentle with Your Hair
One of the most important things you can do for your hair is to be gentle with it. This means avoiding harsh chemical treatments, excessive heat styling, and tight hairstyles that can pull on your hair. Try to let your hair air dry whenever possible, and use a wide-tooth comb or brush to avoid tugging on knots and causing breakage.
Choose the Right Shampoo and Conditioner
Not all shampoos and conditioners are created equal. Look for products that are free from sulfates and other harsh chemicals that can strip your hair of its natural oils. If you have color-treated hair, look for products specifically designed for color-treated hair to prevent fading. And if you have a sensitive scalp, look for gentle, fragrance-free products to avoid irritation.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Believe it or not, what you eat can have a big impact on the health of your hair. Make sure you’re getting enough protein, iron, and other key nutrients to support healthy hair growth. Good sources of protein include lean meats, fish, eggs, and beans, while iron can be found in leafy greens, nuts, and seeds.
Protect Your Hair from the Sun
Just like your skin, your hair can be damaged by the sun’s UV rays. Signs of sun damage include discoloration, dryness, brittleness, broken or split ends, thinning, and frizziness. If you’re spending time outdoors, wear a hat or use a scarf to protect your hair from the sun. You can also use a leave-in conditioner with SPF to provide extra protection.
Avoid Over-Washing Your Hair
While it’s important to keep your hair clean, too much washing can strip hair of its natural oils and cause more harm than good. Wash your hair every other day or every few days rather than daily. Dry shampoo is a great way to keep your hair looking fresh without having to wash it—it absorbs excess oil and adds volume to your hair. Using a lot of hair products can weigh down your hair and make it look greasy, which may lead you to wash it more often. Use a minimal amount of styling products to keep your hair looking fresh, or, if you do use a lot of styling products, use a clarifying shampoo once a week to remove any buildup.
Special Care for Black Hair
If you have very curly Black hair, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends only washing your hair once a week or every other week. Use conditioner, being sure to coat the ends of the hair well, which are the most fragile part. Use a heat protecting product before styling, and apply it to wet hair. If you use relaxers, go to a professional hair stylist to ensure it is applied safely. Press hair with a ceramic comb or iron, using the lowest possible temperature setting to get the desired effect. Protective styles like braids, buns, and cornrows can reduce hair damage, but make sure they are not too tight. It shouldn’t hurt when your hair is being styled.
See a Dermatologist if You Have a Scalp Condition or Hair Loss
If you have a skin condition that affects your scalp or hair, such as psoriasis, eczema, or dandruff, come see us. At Arizona Dermatology, our board-certified dermatologists can recommend treatment options and advice for keeping your hair and scalp healthy. If you are experiencing excessive hair loss, we can help as well. There are many causes of hair loss. Let us help pinpoint and treat yours.