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Winter has its bunch of merriment and warmth to look forward to, yet there is a whole gamut of peskyhealth issues that it brings with it owing to its extreme nature that has many wishing the season away, especially those with hair troubles!

Tress-Stress

Your hair and scalp undergo considerable stress during cold temperatures– Age, race, gender-No bar! Winter may bring about frizzy hair or a dry scalp.  Also, it may worsen the condition for those who are already facing these issues.  Failure to replenish the moisture in the hair and scalp quickly is when problems begin to arise.

Oil Eases Hair Turmoil

Massaging your hair and scalp with natural oils like coconut, olive, Brahmi, almond, sesame, or argan will deeply moisturize the hair while relaxing scalp muscles.  A hot oil massage using fingers in a circular motion will stimulate blood circulation to the roots of your hair, nourish them and strengthen the hair follicles, eventually reducing hair loss.  Regular oiling every alternate day, especially in cold weather, could aid in keeping dandruff at bay.  For the oil to work itself deep into the strands, leaving it overnight and washing off the next morning is a great way to achieve a healthy scalp and hair that are hydrated from within.  Bear in mind to apply the oil on dry hair, as it seeps in more easily into dry hair than wet hair.

Dandruff Doesn’t Kill, but Cause Distress it Will!

Dandruff, which is often confused with dry scalp, worsens when the scalp is parched.  Dandruff is not just dry skin.  It is a condition that develops when the scalp is not cleaned regularly or due to fungal growth.  The skin becomes oily, red, itchy, and flaky.  Tiny white or yellow flakes chip off, bringing about the unsightly and embarrassing dandruff on your hair strands and clothing.  Also, too much dandruff may cause hair loss.

To remedy this flaky situation, you could find formulations with aloe vera gel, coconut oil, or apple cider vinegar, which may be applied to the scalp and hair for a few minutes and washed off.  Shampoos with tea tree oil or lemongrass oil, as well as those with ketoconazole, zinc pyrithione, salicylic acid, or selenium sulfide could fight fungi and scaling of the scalp.  While a diet high in carbohydrates and bad fats promotes dandruff, including walnuts, avocado, eggs, and salmon in your diet could help rid one of dandruff.  A hair mask with yogurt, honey, lemon juice, and dried hibiscus peel or one with Bengal gram flour (besan) and yogurt could aid in improving any dandruff and hair complaints.

Conditioning is Crucial

The dry winter air challenges the healthiest of hair.  Hair strands turn dull, withered, crinkled, and brittle with a high propensity for split ends.  The daily dirt & grime and the use of styling tools, dryers, colors, or chemical treatments further aggravate the dehydration and splitting of hair shafts in this weather.

Incorporate the right shampoo-conditioner-serum routine for your hair.  Seek a trichologist’s advice to find a shampoo and conditioner formula suited to your hair type.   The key is to strike a balance between the moisture and the oil content in the hair and scalp. 

The maximum impact of frigid temperature is on the cuticles, the outermost layer of your hair.  By conditioning, you ensure that the cuticle serves its purpose as the protective shield against damage.  Your tresses look alive, healthy, shiny, and bouncy with a better body when the cuticle is smooth and flat. Hair doctors suggest every head wash be followed by a hair conditioner.  However, you could wash your hair only with a conditioner and omit the shampoo if you find that the roots are not very oily.  The ends of your hair are the oldest and most damaged parts, so be mindful to focus on the scalp when shampooing and to focus on hair tips during conditioning.

A conditioner with cetyl alcohol or Cetearyl alcohol can prove elixirs for your hair in chilly weather.  They are the best natural moisturizing agents.  Applying a hair mask once or twice a week is a great preventive measure against moisture shortfall in the scalp and hair.  To prevent split ends, find a hydrating hair mask for the bottom half of the length of your hair.  Use a purifying or clarifying mask for the scalp.  Hair masks with argan oil, jojoba oil, sesame oil, or eggs are great options.  There are several leave-in conditioners and serums to choose from over the counter to make your hair frizz-free and radiant.

Always rinse off the conditioner thoroughly.  Heavy conditioners may give rise to product build-up on the scalp, which could worsen any dandruff issues.  Remember to wash out the conditioner with cool water to lock in the moisture in your hair.

Now Take a Chill Pill!

Conventional hair and scalp issues should not let winter turn you cold with dread. Observing the above suggestions may indeed help you rewrite the fortunes of your hair, for we all know that ‘Fortune favors the brave!’

Dr. Arfa Siddiqi., BDS