Hair Maladies – How To Recognize Them and What Are Your Options

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Everyone wants a head full of healthy hair – and why wouldn’t we? Great hair contributes to good looks and appearances, which in turn impacts on our social, personal and professional lives. So there’s no discrediting the effect and importance of healthy and great looking hair. The secret now is just in getting it and keeping it.

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Maintenance of healthy hair can be challenging at times, given the different strain and tension our hair undergoes every day, from exposure to the natural weather elements to styling as well as hereditary and aging and more complicated physiological reasons like immunity issues, disease and stress. Most people experience some sort of hair complication in their lives – the trick to controlling it and getting over it is to learn about it and how to remedy it. Here are some common hair related maladies and what you need to know about each one:

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HAIR LOSS

Known as alopecia, hair loss can happen in 50% of both men and woman in any point of their lives, not just middle-aged men, as commonly thought of. The key here is to catch hair loss early on and since its only symptom is the actual loss of hair, which is usually a gradual loss, noticing it depends on regular observance of your hair. For men, it commonly presents itself as a receding hairline or what is known as a widow’s peak. Try comparing a picture of yourself from a year before to judge whether your forehead is more prominent now than before. For both men and women, hair thinning also happens mostly at the crown of the head. Check where your hair is usually parted and see if the gap is widening to show more of your scalp than what is usual.

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When it comes to those with long hair, particularly women, keep an eye on your hairbrush and hair tie. If you need to clean your hairbrush more often or have to add another loop around your hair when tying it up in a ponytail, things might not be normal. It may be time to see a hair expert for assessment or even do some quick fixes to help stop hair loss and thinning. A leading reason for hair loss in black women is over styling and the use of tight braids that can pull on the hair strands and damage the roots and follicles. Give your strands a rest by lessening heat application, coloring and bleaching as well as making sure that your hair is given a rest from being pulled tight from braids or ponytails.

"Orit's Cornrows work" by Joanita Hafermalz - originally posted to Flickr as Orit's Cornrows work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

DRYNESS AND FRIZZ

In order to feel and appear healthy, hair needs to be moisturized, which it normally gets from oils in the scalp and hair root. But due to external factors, this lubrication may escape your hair or your scalp may not make enough oils to sufficiently moisturize the strands. When this happens, your hair becomes dry and fragile, which can also make it frizzy. This makes hair damaged and can lead to hair breakage and it appearing dull, life less and unmanageable. To prevent dryness and frizz, make sure you don’t over-shampoo your hair or blow dry it and expose it to heat too much.

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Another thing that can lead to dryness and damaged hair is the use of strong chemicals, particularly those found in hair dyes. When you bleach and color your hair, the dye actually lifts up the cuticle surrounding it, which is its protective barrier, in order to deposit the color into the strands itself and make the color stay. Along with that, peroxide is used to technically destroy and replace your current hair color so that the color dye is able to show through. Sounds very chemical and complicated and the end result is that your hair becomes practically straw-like with damage and dryness.

PREMATURE GRAYING

Hair that goes gray or white happens when the hair cells either stop producing the color pigment inside the strand or when naturally occurring hydrogen peroxide builds up inside the hair, bleaching it out of color. This is one of the most common hair maladies that afflicts mostly all races and is considered premature if you go gray before you are in your early 30s when you are African American, and before you are in your mid 20s when you are Caucasian or Asian.

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While it is not a serious condition at all, with your genes mainly being the key culprit, going prematurely gray might be signs of a vitamin or mineral deficiency or a thyroid problem. It is easy enough to hide the gray strands through a variety of options in coloring and styling or you can even ride the current trend of going the hair color of gray and just let it be natural.

DANDRUFF

Dandruff is one of the most common hair maladies and scalp condition that is seen by the flaking of the scalp. It can range from mild cases that are easily treated with just a quick change in shampoo to stubborn cases that may require drugs and medicated shampoos.

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The worst part about dandruff is that it can be really itchy and embarrassing as well when you are shedding flakes from your head to your shoulders. Dandruff is more common in teenage males who are prone due to hormones and oily skin. Sometimes it is also caused by having a sensitive scalp and the scalp shedding flakes and itching is its way of telling you of its allergic reactions.

OVERALL HEALTHY HAIR – WHAT ARE YOUR OPTIONS

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Hair care can either be natural or be achieved through technological advances and techniques. There are a lot of home remedies that can be easily done at home but these are for hair maladies that are still at the early stages of damage and development. For more serious problems, hair experts and doctors might be needed. For example, for extreme hair loss where hair growth is no longer possible, you can consider treatments like cortisone injections or even surgical hair transplants. It really pays to go to the expert when needed. If your hair maladies seem something more that is connected to your scalp (like dandruff), go visit a dermatologist. If its something more in line with your actual hair, then visit a hair care center and book an appointment with a trichologist.

When it comes to overall hair care maintenance, just follow these tips that can easily be incorporated into your lifestyle for that mane full of healthy and luscious hair:

  • Avoid stress – any sort of stress is bad for your body overall and even your hair can fell it. Stress can lead to breakouts of dandruff, hair fall as well as cause premature graying in hair.
  • Eat hair healthy – ensure that your diet is complete with protein and the needed vitamins and minerals that your hair needs to grow healthy like Vitamin A, B, C, zinc, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids. You can also take supplements that cater to certain hair maladies like Viviscal Hair Growth Program tablets.
  • Drink enough water – this helps wash away toxins accumulated in your body, which can also affect hair growth and luster.
  • Rinse cold – not only should you not over-wash your hair, when you do shampoo it, make sure to rinse with cold or lukewarm water. Hot water damages hair and makes it brittle. Don’t forget to condition as well! Use a mild shampoo if needed like Abba Gentle Shampoo.

Gallery of Hair Maladies – How To Recognize Them and What Are Your Options

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