Healthy Hair!

11.06.2015

Anyway, how much better do you feel when you’ve had a haircut?  The pampering bit is nice; those lean backward sinks are great. Wash your own hair at home over the bath and you look a mess; go to the hair dressers and you still have your dignity.  Plus the lovely little head massage and the luxurious hair products all go to having your hair washed a pleasurable, relaxing experience.

When my sisters and I were kids my mum used to wash our hair over the sink using a jug. The water in the jug was either freezing cold or so hot our scalps would burn off. I can safely say that she didn’t have a vocation in life to be a hair dresser. If the shampoo had run out she was even known to use washing up liquid- while this might give you super soft hands (according to the ads) have you ever tried getting the knots out  of hair after  using this?!!  I have dark hair and because of this my mum used to “treat” it with a rinse of vinegar to make it shine, on other days I would get an egg cracked on top of my head to “nourish” it. I spent my child hood smelling like a fry up.   Once the hair was dry it would be put into a pony tail with an elastic band that was so tight my eyebrows were lifted so high up my forehead I looked permanently surprised!

I have gone on to abuse my hair over the years; perms, straighteners, colours, hairdryers, tongs, you name it, it’s had it. But, I will never know if I owe my healthy shiny hair to my Mum’s efforts.  She was on to something though; food definitely nourishes your hair and without a variety of nutrients hair will suffer, I’m just not sure it was meant to be applied externally and not eaten!

What food is good for your hair?

Protein

Hair is made up of protein, without it hair can become dry, brittle and weak, it can even cause hair loss.

Protein rich food- Chicken, Turkey, fish, dairy products, eggs, legumes, nuts, quorn

Iron

A lack of iron in the diet can result in anaemia which can lead to hair loss.

Iron rich food- Red meat, chicken, fish, lentils, kale, broccoli and salad greens

Vitamin C

This helps the body to absorb iron and is an antioxidant; it also helps with the production of collagen that strengthens capillaries that supply blood to the hair shaft

Vitamin C rich food- blackcurrents, blueberries, broccoli, guava, kiwi, sweet potatoes

 

Omega-3

Omega -3 isn’t made by the body, we need to eat this. It provides oils that kep the scalp and hair hydrated

Omega – 3 rich foods- oily fish, avocado, walnuts

Vitamin A

Vitamin A makes sebum which is a natural conditioner for a healthy scalp, a lack of sebum results in a dry itchy scalp

Vitamin A rich foods- carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes

Zinc/ selenium

These minerals keep the scalp from becoming dry and flaky; a lack of these can result in hair loss

Zinc/selenium rich food- fortified cereals, wholegrains, oysters, beef and eggs

Vitamin E

This vitamin protects hair from sun damage.

Vitamin E rich food- nuts are the perfect food for providing vitamin E as well as zinc and selenium

Biotin

Biotin is a water soluble vitamin B, a lack of it can lead to brittle hair or even hair loss.

Biotin rich food- wholegrains, liver, egg yolk, soy flour, yeast.

If you want to follow my Mum’s lead, mix 2 egg yolks and mix with half an avocado and a spoon full of honey. Massage into damp clean hair and leave for 30 minutes. Don’t go into the sun with this on your head or you’ll end up with an omelette!

Exercise

Regular physical activity improves circulation around the whole body. A good circulation to the hair follicles ensures that there is a good blood supply so that all those important nutrients are delivered

Smoking

Another good reason not to smoke; studies have shown that smoking damages hair follicles and interferes with circulation and hormone production. Premature greying is also linked with smoking because of the toxins and damage to hormones. If you have blond or grey hair you may also end up with lovely yellow streaks due to the tar and nicotine.

Fashions trends are funny things; when I was at the hairdressers there was a young girl who was having her hair dyed grey, I hope this is still the trend when I’m grey!!

Men’s hair

I was watching the build up to the FA Cup final a little while ago where they showed footage of some old FA cup finals from the past.  The thing that struck me was the changes in hairstyles for men over the years. Footballers in the early 70’s look like they rocked up to the game straight from their bed, wiped a flannel across their face and that was it. There were no hair products then hair was allowed to do whatever it wanted to do with absolutely no control. Hair was big, I’m talking BIG! Health and safety was spot on, heading a ball was never going to cause damage to the skull, not with that mass of cushioning to protect them. If only Petr Ceck had taken note… The 80’s saw perms and mullets, the 90’s was BIG hair again, and today we see shaved heads or quiffs with enough hair products to puncture a ball depending on the remaining hair follicles and the vanity of the player.

Back in the day men didn’t have BIG hair they desperately tried to cover up a balding head. We had a History Teacher at my school who also doubled up as a PE teacher. During History lessons his bonce was covered with an impressive swish and swirl of hair but out on the rugby pitch his head was open to the elements as he trailed hair behind him like a veil.  Ah, the days of the comb over, kept school kids amused for hours.

Why do men go bald?

The most common type of male baldness is Male Pattern Baldness. Most men at some point in their lives will have thinner or receding hair. This can be linked to genetics- blame your Dad! Some men don’t lose hair until their 60’s others start in their 20’s. Post-menopausal women may notice their hair becomes thinner.

What causes it?

Hair follicles gradually become smaller; as the follicles shrink new hair is thinner than usual. Before the hair falls out each new hair grows for much less time than it normally would have (around three years). Eventually all that is left is a much smaller hair follicle and a thin stump of hair.

Hormones

It’s all down to the male hormone testosterone. The cells in the skin of the scalp covert testosterone into hyrdotestosterone and for some reason certain follicle become really sensitive to this and they shrink. It’s not known why selective follicles are affected and not others like the beard or chest hair.

Is there a cure?

If you google hair loss cures there are 1000’s of alleged remedies listed but really the only true way of re-growing hair is to have a Wayne Rooney. I totally understand that young men can be mortified when they start to recede but we are no longer in the 70’s/80’s. I think baldness should be embraced; there are so many icons out there who are bald but still attract the ladies. I say, ditch the syrup, shave off the wispy bits, shine up the bald head and be proud!

For women to go bald however it can be catastrophic for them, if you are concerned speak to your GP.

So, to all you Mums out there, be kind to your child when you wash their hair, if it wasn’t for my hairdresser and the lovely experience I have at his salon who knows, I could be suffering  from tonsurephobia  or in other words,  a fear of having my hair cut for life!! So, thank you Kenny Arnold and Team for the therapy sessions!

And, to all you Dad’s who may be follically challenged, you are in good stock, our future King, Prince William leads the way…

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