The winter months can cause havoc with your hair, leaving it dry and prone to breakage. Colder temperatures versus central heating along with woolly hat wearing and the after effects of a ‘full-on’ festive period can all have a negative impact on your hair’s overall health, leaving it in need of some TLC.
Consultant Trichologist and Manager of Education at The Institute of Trichologists, Sara Alkazraji provides her top tips for winter haircare:
The power of protein
During winter, it’s tempting to fill up on unhealthy comfort food. Our hair cells are the second fastest growing bodily cell: however, unlike our liver, kidneys and heart, hair is not an essential tissue – this means the body will not prioritise its growth. When we become deficient in certain areas, it can really take its toll on our tresses. A poor diet can produce poor quality hair so really do try to consume a well-balanced daily diet.
Hair needs protein in order to grow but many of us simply do not consume enough daily protein to provide hair with the amount it actually needs – particularly if you’re embracing initiatives such as ‘Veganuary’ for the first time this winter.
Protein contains amino acids, the body’s key building blocks, and is found in every bodily cell. It really is essential for optimal hair growth. Eating lean protein for both breakfast and lunch is recommended, and if you’re vegan or vegetarian, key sources of protein should include beans, legumes, nuts and quinoa.
Moisturise Hair During Winter
In winter months hair can become dry and dull looking. So, invest in a good conditioning treatment, applying once or twice a week and ideally leaving it on for between 30 minutes to an hour for an added moisture boost. Treatments will help smooth the cuticle scales, add moisture and shine, producing healthier looking hair. Be sure to use a good hydrating shampoo and conditioner too, to help prevent the drying effects of winter.
Wash away your worries about poor hair growth!
Washing hair frequently helps keep the scalp in optimum health and, it’s no surprise that a healthy scalp provides the best environment for hair to grow. In winter months, some people reduce washing, believing it can have a drying effect, but a lack of frequent washing can actually contribute to a dry, itchy flaky scalp – not ideal for maintaining good scalp health. Regular washing is recommended.
Do remember, when hair is wet it is extremely elasticated and fragile and any harsh brushing can cause significant damage. So, always use a large wide tooth comb to detangle the hair gently as possible.
Stress on your tresses
The new year can be a joyful period – crisp winter days, looking forward to Spring – but the cold temperatures and lack of daylight hours – can also lead to stress and anxiety for many people. Any periods of prolonged stress can disrupt our metabolism, going on to cause an increased number of hairs entering the ‘shedding stage’ of the growth cycle, becoming thinner and finer. It’s reassuring to know that this should settle down normally and recover, however if shedding continues or you are worried about hair loss contact a Trichologist for an assessment and advice.
Keep ahead of scalp irritations
During wintertime, conditions such as Psoriasis, Contact Dermatitis and other scaling conditions can commonly flare up.
Dandruff irritation is usually caused by a microorganism called Malassezia furfur, a fungus which is always present on the scalp. Changes on the scalp – such as extra sebum – produces an optimum environment for fungal growth resulting in irritation, itching and inflammation.
Using a shampoo such as “Juniper Scalp Therapy” formulated by Tony Maleedy can calm irritation – do check with a trichologist to see if this could be the right treatment for you, too.
Don’t let the freeze give you frizz!
One of the main causes of frizzy hair is lack of moisture, often as a result of harsh colouring and bleaching, too much heat, styling tools, harsh brushing along with other factors including the cold winter air.
Our hair naturally absorbs moisture and dry damaged hair will do this even quicker – the “frizz factor”! And, the more hair you have, the more likely it is to frizz!
But don’t get too frustrated with your frizz! It can be tamed quite easily following these simple tips:
- Use a weekly conditioning treatment / mask to add moisture and keep hair hydrated.
- Use a leave-in conditioner or smoothing balm such as Olaplex Number 6.
- Ensure you are using the correct shampoo and conditioner for your hair type.
- Daily defence spray will help protect the hair from UV damage, heat and general daily weathering.
Sara Alkazraji MIT – Manager of Education
The Institute of Trichologists