The Secret to Good Hair Days

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The Secret to Good Hair Days
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The Secret to Good Hair Days

Avoid Irritating Ingredients

“Any ingredient that dries out your skin will make an itchy scalp worse,” says Noelle Sherber, MD, a dermatologist in Baltimore. ”Fatty alcohols are moisturizing, and can be identified by terms like 'stearyl,’ ‘cetyl,’ and ‘myristyl,’” says Ni’Kita Wilson, a cosmetics chemist and vice president of research and innovation at Englewood Lab, in New Jersey. “The other alcohols are drying — for example, alcohol denat (denatured), ethanol, propanol, and isopropyl alcohol.” You should check ingredients lists and avoid hair products that contain the drying alcohols.

Also, be mindful of menthol, an alcohol that has the cooling properties of peppermint — while it may invigorate normal scalps, it can provoke itching in sensitive scalps, Dr. Sherber says.

Salicylic acid is often included in products to treat flaking scalps, but it should not be used more than once a week, says Cunnane Phillips, because it can cause irritation instead of gentle exfoliation.

By: dailyglow

Don't Skip Shampooing

The growing trend of skipping washes to keep hair naturally hydrated is not only misguided but can do more damage than good. “Thorough cleansing is critical for a healthy scalp; imagine how your face would look if you only washed it once a week,” Sherber says.” You should wash your scalp at least every two to three days for optimal health.”

As for the claim that regular washing strips the scalp of essential oils, Cunnane Phillips explains that proper cleansing removes dirt, grime, and pollutants from hair — not moisture. Shampoos that are sulfate-free offer a gentler cleansing than harsh, detergent-containing ones. Also, look for silk and wheat proteins in ingredients lists — they're among the best additives to help your hair retain moisture and stay manageable.

By: dailyglow

Find the Best Brush

“A brush can do more damage than a hair dryer if used incorrectly and too vigorously,” warns Cunnane Phillips. Choose a brush made of soft, pliable plastic because plastic is far smoother and is kinder to hair than abrasive boar bristles and natural bristles. And look for a brush whose bristles are ball-tipped. “Natural bristles are typically barbed at the ends and tightly packed,” Cunnane Phillips explains, “which can cause unnecessary trauma to hair.”

Vented brushes allow for smoother brushing and more even heat dispersion during blow-drying, allowing hair to dry faster and without “hot spots” that can burn the scalp and hair. Brush your hair lightly, and if possible, use a wide-toothed comb — the gentlest option of all. You can also look for the new generation of plastic combs at the drugstore; infused with hydrators like macadamia nut oil, they're particularly useful if your hair and scalp are dry and you’re prone to static and flyaways, says Sherber.

By: dailyglow

Use Sun Shields

The sun's dangerous UV rays are no friend to your skin — and that includes your scalp. Prolonged sun exposure can burn your scalp and cause itching from dehydration, says Cunnane Phillips. Repeated exposure can dry out your hair and making it feel and look brittle, aging it the way sun exposure ages skin — giving it a coarser, dryer texture. Most importantly, you also need to guard against skin cancer — dangerous scalp moles often escape notice until it’s too late, warns Sherber. “If you part your hair while in the sun,” she says, “apply a waxy sunscreen stick or SPF lip balm to your part for protection.”

Ask your dermatologist to check your scalp during your annual skin examinations, and always ask your hairstylist to alert you to any unusual-looking spots on your scalp when you visit salon.

By: dailyglow

Use Sun Shields

The sun's dangerous UV rays are no friend to your skin — and that includes your scalp. Prolonged sun exposure can burn your scalp and cause itching from dehydration, says Cunnane Phillips. Repeated exposure can dry out your hair and making it feel and look brittle, aging it the way sun exposure ages skin — giving it a coarser, dryer texture. Most importantly, you also need to guard against skin cancer — dangerous scalp moles often escape notice until it’s too late, warns Sherber. “If you part your hair while in the sun,” she says, “apply a waxy sunscreen stick or SPF lip balm to your part for protection.”

Ask your dermatologist to check your scalp during your annual skin examinations, and always ask your hairstylist to alert you to any unusual-looking spots on your scalp when you visit salon.

By: dailyglow

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Caring for your scalp is essential to having healthy, attention-getting hair. Here, experts share their tips on how to keep your scalp healthy so your hair will grow faster, stronger, and more beautiful.

Photo Credit: Daily Glow (Photo Courtesy: Jupiterimages)

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