Hair roughness, lifelessness and shedding more than usual may the results of environmental factors, capable of affecting hair on even the healthiest scalps. Environmental damage caused by the sun, wind and cold may be putting your strands at risk for uncontrollable hair loss. Damaged hair tends to be dull, dry, porous, and susceptible to breakage and worst of all tough to manage. On the other hand, healthy hair has smooth and tightly closed cuticle layer that shields the inner cortex from drying out. The cuticle layer allows hair to maintain moisture and provides elasticity, strength and shine to hair.
Keeping your hair healthy and maintaining the hair care schedule contributes a lot in preventing hair damage caused by environmental factors.
Air pollution, exposure to the sun, both salt water and fresh water treated with chlorine, desert air, a cold climate, humidity, and the wind: all of these environmental factors can strip away our hair’s protective coating.
Follow these preventive measures to keep your hair unharmed from environmental changes.
Conditioning – Deep conditioning prevents the hair from drying out and also reduces the friction between strands and prevent tangles. Conditioning is beneficial in both dry weather and humid conditions as it prevents loss of moisture in dry weather and unwanted excess water vapor absorption in the humid environment.
Conditioning also slows down the styling damage because it enhances the ability of cortex to retain moisture. The lack of moisture leads to the reduction of hydrogen bonds. Keeping the hair well conditioned increases the resistance of hair by re-establishing the hydrogen bonds.
What should an effective conditioner contain?
An effective conditioner must contain:
- Humectants for water attraction and strengthening the keratin structure
- Emollients for softening the hair
- Water to prevent hair drying out
- Occlusive or sealants to prevent moisture loss
- Protein to strengthen the cortex
Protection against sun damage– Sunlight acts as an oxidant, fades the color of hair and loss of moisture making the hair dry, weak and thin. Letting the hair dry in the sun is extremely damaging to both the structure of the hair and the hair’s color. A research in 2008 unveiled that excessive sun exposure degrades protein and pigment in the hair shaft. During hot summer months, mix a high SPF, oil free sunscreen in your leave-in deep conditioning mask and apply it before styling your hair. UV protecting sunscreen provides complete protection against sun damage, and conditioning mask maintains the moisture level.
POLLUTION – The hair’s natural oil binds to the hydrocarbons in car exhaust, sulfites, and metals, which, in combination with the oil, coats the hair. These coatings make the hair look dirty, messy and unmanageable. Deep-cleansing clarifying shampoos can effectively remove the buildups in the hair and let your hair more manageable. But don’t forget to use conditioner afterward.
Prevention is always better than cure. It is beneficial to cover your hair in dry, windy climate or sunshine to keep the effects of harsh weather at bay. Use scarf or wide-brimmed hat to cover your hair.