One of the most appealing features of a person that contributes directly to her/his good looks is her hair. A full crop of gorgeous hair adds grandeur to a person’s countenance. Hair can grow anywhere on a human’s body, other than on the lips, palms, soles and forehead. Except for the head, armpits and pubic area, most strands of hair, particularly on women, are so delicate they’re practically invisible. Human air is composed of a fibrous structural protein, keratin, produced in hair follicles located in the epidermis, the outermost layer of human skin. As new cells grow, they push the old cells through the human skin about 15 cm (six inches) every year. The average number of strands of hair for adult heads is between 120,000 – 150,000. About 100 strands fall off every day.
At any given time, close to 90 percent of all hair seen on the human scalp is actually growing. Each single follicle of hair has a life cycle which can be affected by age or disease or a number of disparate factors. Every human loses hair with advancing age, some more than others. Hair loss is also known as alopecia, of which there are many types, with some listed below:
- Involutional alopecia, a normal condition where hair gracefully thins out with age.
- Androgenic alopecia, a genetic form of hair loss affecting both genders. In men, this can start in their teens and is typically characterized by the dreaded words “receding hairline.” In women, this starts in their mid-40s, and is typically characterized by thinning hair on the scalp, and most prominent at the crown.
- Alopecia universalis, where all body hair falls off.
Hair growth is directly stimulated by an androgen called Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a derivative of testosterone, the male’s sex hormone. Adults lose hair if there is an alteration in the pattern of metabolism of DHT. Androgenic alopecia can be averted by inhibiting DHT. Finasteride is an orally ingested drug that averts conversion of hormonal testosterone to DHT. It is a men-only drug and should be kept an arm’s length away from women and children.
There are a number of shampoos that can help with hair loss (a.k.a. hair growth shampoos) and hair conditioning, besides inhibiting DHT. It is advisable to select a range of products that complement each other, rather than buying any single product. This range of products should re-grow hair in concert, by keeping your hair as well as scalp healthy, apart from its primary functions as cosmetic shampoos.
Another problem is a crop of dull, tired looking hair. This problem can be resolved by hair straightening and refreshing solutions. The more common ones are The Relaxer Therapy, Brazilian Straightening and Thermal (Japanese) Reconditioning. These tend to be expensive and require specialization. The first one, The Relaxer Therapy, however, is a length process to be done by the book and can thus be done at home, a DIY method. Its long process has numerous and time-consuming steps, but if you want your hair straight and aglow with life, you need to put in the time and effort. These steps are:
- Select a lye-free hair relaxer. Consult a dermatologist, if required.
- Don protective gear, apply Vaseline around your neck, hairline, and ears as the relaxer can damage your skin.
- Mix the cream and paste as described in the accompanying leaflet and let it settle.
- Test the mixture on a few strands of hair and wait for the result. It must satisfy you.
- Apply the relaxer as stipulated.
- Once finished, use a broad-toothed comb to straighten out your hair.
- Rinse well, removing the relaxer. Use the shampoo that came in the kit.
- Apply the supplied conditioner to seal your hair. Towel dry.
- Style your hair as normal.
The same effect can be achieved by chemical rebonding. All types of hair have their own natural bond. The curls or wavy hair one sees are created by the hair’s natural bond. The softener or the relaxant used for rebonding breaks up the structure of the hair. A neutralizer then rebonds the structure and straightens the hair. In effect, Rebonding alters the natural structure of the hair before restructuring it. The hair must be kept straight using a straightener; newer models of hair straighteners use titanium which is proving to be a high-cost but very high-return model. It may be a good idea to peruse beauty websites like The Beauty Herald, as they contain good information about hair straightening products, e.g. reviews of top flat iron brands and models, that can assist you in selecting the right method to straighten your hair.
Another excellent hair care creation is Argan Oil, an extract from a desert plant local to Morocco. This oil, a cosmetic hair lubricant has been used for centuries for skin disorders and is strongly recommended to nourish the hair and give it a superb sheen. The USA seems taken up with this personal care product, with unparalleled sales.
A good diet for great hair should include Salmon, for proteins, vitamin D as well as omega-3 fatty acids; Walnuts for vitamin E and biotin; Oysters for Zinc; Sweet Potatoes for the scalp; Eggs; Spinach for follicle strength; Lentils; Yoghurt; Blueberries and the ubiquitous poultry products.