I always had a question in my mind about Rapunzel’s hair. How did she have such strong and beautiful hair being captivated for years? Is there any home-delivery service at that era who provided her with hair care products? I know it’s a silly question but there must be some answers. And this dilemma leaded me to the stories of our hair. The secrets, the products and the expert’s opinions. Today I will try to write down the summary of my week long research on “Rapunzel’s Secret” – the story of our health.
Just like our skin and body, the health of our hair is a direct sign of the inside health. It works just like our cars. You use good fuel, quality product, regular servicing – you get a problem-free car. You take good food, use quality product and routine life – you get flawless and strong hair.
The secret lies inside the root – the roots of our hair and the nourishment’s they get. The cells that help to grow healthy hair require a regular supply of nutrients, vitamins and minerals along with a healthy lifestyle. So, there are separate segments for having a unique result.
Let’s jump inside the pool of tips of hair which I named as Rapunzel’s Secret.
Birth and Death: HOW HAIRS GROW & DIE
This part consists of the stories of the beginning – how the hairs actually grow? You may find this part a little dull. But I’ll suggest to read this as well. It will help you to know about the untold stories of hair-birth. And we’ll get an idea about the nutrition which the hair wants.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, our hair grows out of little pockets in head skin, called follicles. The process is as follows:
- Hair begins growing from a root in the bottom of the follicle.
- The root is made up of cells of protein.
- Blood from the blood vessels in our scalp feeds the root, which creates more cells and makes the hair grow.
- The hair gets pushed up through the skin as it grows, passing an oil gland along the way. The oil gland adds oil to the hair and keeps it shiny and soft.
- The oil can make it greasy, too. That’s why we need to wash our hair regularly.
- The hairs die by the time it is long enough to poke out through the skin.
- Yes, hair is dead. That’s why it doesn’t hurt to get a haircut.
ROUTINE: MAINTAIN FOR QUALITY HAIR
It is really unfortunate that there are lots of things around us which can damage the hair and its quality. So, we have to set a routine that will protect our hair like an umbrella. Following are the common things which work as devils for our hair according to Canadian Dermatology Association:
- The sun – yes, sun exposure can cause an enormous heat damage. And this is one of the reasons why we should wear a hat when going outside.
- Styling Products and Chemicals (such as chlorine) in pools.
Hair gel, spray, chlorine, and styling products that promise long holding times are especially damaging. Coloring, perming and relaxing products also have harsh chemicals that weaken hair.
- Things we use to style our hair, such as blow-drying, hot curlers, and using a curling or straightening iron will literally cook the hair. It can also damage the follicle. Don’t use them too much, especially if the hair seems to be getting drier or breaks easily.
- Handling wet hair is also a path that leads to hair damage. Towel drying, combing and brushing our wet hair can damage it since wet hair is more elastic and can break more easily than dry hair.
- Too much brushing can cause split ends.
- Tying hair up in braids, ponytails or any styling that causes pulling on hair can stretch it and cause breakage. In fact, wearing hair in a tight style regularly can lead to traction alopecia, hair loss caused by pulling on scalp.
As the oil gland of our head adds oil to the hair, we need to wash our scalp regularly. Extra oil can make our hair dirtier. We have to be sure that we maintain a regular routine of washing the scalp. How often we wash our hair depends on it’s type and what we do during the day/night. If you go or work outside or visit dusty and hot places frequently, then it will be wise to wash the hair more often than the people who remain inside.
A small amount of shampoo, added with water can be used. Using a conditioner after the wash may make it look better, but that doesn’t make the hair healthier. Remember, hair is already dead. After rinsing off thoroughly, it is important to soak the extra water from the hair with a soft towel. A wide-tooth comb or hair-brush can be used later. But be polite and gentle, otherwise wet hair can be broken our pulled out.
I think you’ll admit that Rapunzel must not had any styling instrument with her. So, just like her we can avoid hair dryers as much as possible and let our hair air-dry recurrently. The same rule goes for hair-straightener, too. And don’t forget that split end is a type of hair damage. As our hair is already dead, we can’t repair the split ends (fraudulently claimed by many beauty products). All we can do is trim them off and move on.
FOOD: EAT FOR HEALTHY HAIR
The first and last rule of having a healthy hair is: fill your stomach with proper food and you will get the shiny and lustrous hair you’ve always dreamed of. Dr. Roopal V. Kundu (MD, Associate Professor of Dermatology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine) says,
“The basic early advice is make sure you’re looking at your diet, make sure you’re getting enough iron, make sure you’re not anemic, make sure you have enough protein in your diet. Iron and protein are really important for hair health. There are some generic vitamins that we recommend: Vitamin D, omega, fish oils, a generic multivitamin with iron. Biotin is great in terms of hair strength and preventing breakage.”.
Eggs are rich in this B vitamin which is essential for hair growth. Eggs are also a rich source of protein, choline, and vitamin D. So, starting the morning with a toast, egg and cup of vegetable is the wisest idea. Iron and zinc help hair follicles to grow, says Wilma Bergfeld, MD, a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic. She suggests eating lean red meat, which is rich in both nutrients, twice a week. Pair nonmeat sources, such as soybeans or lentils, with a vitamin C-rich food like an orange to boost iron absorption. [Source]
So, fill up on these nutrients to have the healthiest hair ever.