Monday, October 18, 2021

Myths About Hair


There are somethings we grow up hearing from friends, parents and grandparents.  My grandmother always said you needed to brush your hair 100 strokes every night with a natural bristle brush while my father said I needed to have short hair because it was naturally curly.  I never managed to brush my hair the suggested 100 strokes every night and I hated short hair so when I left home, I grew it out to butt length and discovered it actually is easier to take care of.

So today, we are going to look at certain myths regarding haircare and we'll see if they are true or false.  One of the big ones is when they say you need to trim your hair regularly so that it will grow faster.  That is FALSE.  Trimming your hair regularly does not make it grow faster.  Instead, it makes your hair look thicker and better because you've gotten rid of the split and damaged ends.  Your hair is going to grow about a quarter inch every month or about three inches per year.  

Another one is that sleep does not affect your hair but in truth it does.  When you go to sleep, your body produces a natural hormone called melatonin. In addition, to helping your body sleep, it also promotes hair growth so if your body does not produce enough melatonin, you might end up experiencing hair loss.  When you do not get enough sleep, your body ends up being more stressed and its this stress that can signal your hair to enter a "resting" state before heading into a premature "shedding" state which means you are losing hair. 

A related myth is that stress causes your hair to turn gray which is mostly incorrect.  The color in your hair is produced by the pigment melanin. Once your hair loses all it's melanin, your hair turns gray. Research shows that the stress does not cause your hair to go gray but as stated earlier, it can make you shed hair almost three times faster than normal. Furthermore, the follicle sets the color so that strand will be the original color for as long as it is on your head but as you age, your hair produces less color and the new strands will eventually be all gray until you are totally gray.  The process usually begins around the age of 35.

Of course there is the idea that wearing a hat too much can cause baldness or hair loss but this is total fiction.  If you begin losing hair, it is associated with hormonal or genetic factors. Sometimes male pattern baldness is caused by a specific hormone DHT which causes the hair follicle to shrink before falling out.   

Remember, I told you my grandmother recommended brushing your locks 100 strokes everyday?  Well that one isn't good for your hair because brushing causes friction which in turn damages your hair.  A few strokes per day is good for distributing natural hair oils but not 100 of them. In addition, there is a myth that says your hair gets used to the shampoo and condition but that isn't quite true.  The truth is that if the shampoo or conditioner no longer work the way they should, it means the needs of your hair have changed. 

I remember reading in beauty books that one should finish the hair washing process with a final rinse of cold water to get a shiny finish.  It sounds interesting but it is not true.  It will not close you cuticles because they are already closed unless you did something like color them or your hair is dryer and then they will frizz. I was glad to hear this because my sister insisted this was the way to go and I hate, hate, hate, cold. 

The final myth I'm looking at is the old, if you see flakes on your shoulders when you wear dark clothing, you must have dandruff.  This one isn't true. Dandruff occurs when you have an oily scalp or a yeast active fungus because it causes your scalp to over produce cells and the dead cell buildup is shed. Real dandruff flakes are yellowish and your scalp looks greasy.  If the flakes are white, it just might be due to a dry scalp,  too much styling product, or some sort of skin product.

I was glad to find out that some of the myths my family shared with me turned out to be wrong.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.  

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