Alphabet-Easy Tips for Beautiful Hair

Beautiful Hair

Here’s an A-to-Z list of tips and ingredients on what makes stronger, shinier, healthier and more beautiful hair.

Ashwagandha

The scientific name is withania somnifera, an herb commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine. Dubbed as “Indian ginseng,” its roots and berries are used to treat a variety of ailments including arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, insomnia, fibromyalgia, and tuberculosis, to name a few. It is also known to be an adaptogen, a natural substance in herbal medicine that helps the body increase its ability to resist damage caused by stress.

Brushing

Brushing your skin stimulates your lymphatic system, exfoliates dry and dead skin, improves blood circulation to the scalp and other areas, reduces cellulite, and calms your mind. Dry skin brushing with bristles made from natural materials can be done once or twice a day for two to twenty minutes.

Curcumin

This natural compound found in the plant turmeric has been labelled the “Indian solid gold” because of its golden color. It has been studied for its effect on inflammation and the growth of tumors that cause cancer, blood sugar regulation, prevention of fat accumulation, and its potential benefits in slowing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Its compounds have also been studied for their impact on stress associated with hair thinning.

Diet

What you eat plays a major role in strong and beautiful hair. A healthy diet filled with protein, iron, vitamins D and E, and trace minerals such as selenium, copper and magnesium help keep your hair in good shape. Lack of essential nutrients like iron, for example, can lead to hair loss.

Exercise

Getting plenty of exercise improves the circulation of oxygen and nutrients to all body parts, including hair follicles. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as brisk walking and swimming every week, or 70 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity such as running and aerobic dancing per week. Strength training with the use of weight machines or any activity such as rock climbing that gradually tones muscles and increases strength should be done twice a week.

Mood

Feeling good about our day, our family, our work, and the daily things we encounter helps keep our stress levels low and our over-all health in excellent condition. When we feel good on the inside, it tends to manifest on the outside through clear skin, bright eyes, and shiny hair.

Grooming

Grooming is a must for any length or type of hair. Knowing your hair type helps determine the right kind of products you should use. Shampooing every other day washes out dirt and excess oil, although frequent shampooing can also strip the hair of its moisture and shine. Use a conditioner to add shine and remove frizz. A visit to the salon for a cut and various natural treatments can also help your hair look and feel its best every month.

 

Beautiful Hair

Hyaluronic acid (HA)

This is a substance, like collagen, that our bodies produce and is found specially in the fluid in our eyes and joints. Because it acts as a lubricant and cushion for joints and tissues, it is used to treat joint disorders such as osteoarthritis, and replace fluid lost during eye surgery. Hyaluronic acid also acts as a lip filler in plastic surgery and is used in shampoos and food supplements to support hair growth.

Iodine

In combination with iron, magnesium, and zinc, this is an important mineral used by the thyroid gland to produce hormones needed for the healthy growth of hair, bones, and teeth. Iodine deficiency can lead to the weakening of the follicles, causing alopecia or hair loss.

Junk

Junk food includes anything highly processed and containing large amounts of fat, sodium, or sugar. Sadly, most food in our supermarkets that comes in boxes, cans or plastic containers are filled with preservatives, food coloring, extenders, and other chemicals that accumulate in our bodies, potentially contributing to diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and cancer. Fresh fruits and vegetables, fish and chicken, and whole grains that haven’t undergone processing are recommended for better health.

Keratin treatments

These are salon favorites for restoring hair strength and resilience. A 90-minute treatment is used to straighten curly or wavy hair with a keratin hair-straightening product and heat from a hot iron to seal it. The result, which looks sleek and frizz-free, lasts for around two and a half months. Use these with caution if your hair is too fine or you have psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis.

Layering

Layering your hair as opposed to a blunt cut can help create the illusion of longer, thicker, and more beautiful hair.

Marine Collagen

This is widely used as a food supplement in countries like Japan. Although collagen is a natural protein that our bodies produce to prevent dermal layers from folding or wrinkling, this depletes as we age so collagen supplementation is beneficial. This fibrous protein is often extracted from fish scales and is beneficial for the skin, hair, tendons, ligaments, and bones. It fights off free radicals that can affect the growth, texture, and thickness of hair.

Nuts

Along with dark green vegetables and dried fruits, nuts are rich in iron – a mineral that helps reduce excess hair shedding.

Oxygen Therapy

This therapy is a kind of scalp treatment using a pressurized device that delivers oxygen to the scalp, improving the circulation of blood in the roots. This can help increase the supply of nutrients to follicles needed to build the protein that forms hair.

Protein

An essential nutrient that makes up most of our muscles, bones, skin, and hair. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, not all proteins are alike – some are healthier than others and depends on what the “protein package” brings. Healthy protein-rich foods such as salmon and other fatty fish should contain low amounts of saturated fat and hidden salts.

Quiet Time

Make sure to get some quiet time for yourself on several occasions each day. It helps relieve stress and rejuvenate the body, allowing for longer periods of concentration and energy.

Relaxation

Different relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, exercise, and massage can reduce stress which plays a major role in many hair thinning problems. Stress can promote increased levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) in the blood, which can result in excessive shedding of hair.

Saw Palmetto

This is a kind of palm with sharp, fan-shaped leaves. The ripe fruit of this plant is used to treat the symptoms caused by an enlarged prostate in men by inhibiting testosterone from binding to the receptor 5-alpha-reductase and being converted into DHT. It is also known to promote relaxation and increase libido.

Tuna

Tuna, especially yellowfin, is one of those high-protein foods packed with B vitamins and the antioxidant selenium.

Beautiful Hair

Ultraviolet

UV rays from too much exposure to the sun destroys the protein bonds in hair, making it dry, brittle, and discolored. Wearing a hat or scarf or taking an umbrella outside on a sunny day are some ways you can protect your hair from these damaging rays.

Vascular health

Vascular health is the condition of our vessels – veins and arteries included – that transport blood from the heart to all of the body organs and back again. Hair follicles are dependent on oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to stimulate hair growth. Clogged vessels inhibit the free flow of blood to the follicles and may result in dry and brittle hair. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, weight control, maintaining normal blood pressure, and avoiding smoking are some ways to keep our blood vessels healthy.

Water

When rinsing your hair, it’s best to use cold water because it closes the pores of your scalp – protecting it from dirt, grease, and oil. Cold water closes the hair cuticle for a shiny, frizz-free appearance and improves the circulation of blood to your scalp by enlarging the capillaries to warm the skin and bring needed nutrients to the follicles.

X-tra

Taking extra care in handling your hair can prevent breakage. Make sure you untangle the knots in wet hair with your fingers before brushing. When tying into a ponytail, don’t pull hair too tightly, as the tension can lead to strands being pulled out of their follicles.

Youthful

Beautiful hair that also feels youthful is achieved not only by changing hair color or trying a new cut. You can also have hair that’s voluminous and bouncy by taking care of it from within. Watching your diet, avoiding sun damage, and being mindful of the vitamins and nutrients we take in can help against the changes stress and aging have on our hair’s health.

Zinc

This is one of those trace minerals that you have to take in the right amount to achieve desired results. Too little or too much of it can lead to hair loss. Zinc deficiency can weaken the protein structure of follicles and cause hair to fall out. High doses of zinc supplements, however, can inhibit the anagen and catagen phases of hair growth and can cause hair loss as well. You can find zinc in foods such as egg yolks, wheat germ, poultry, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, red meats, liver, shrimp, oysters, lobsters, crab, chickpeas, and fortified breakfast cereal.

The Function of Hair – 4 Reasons Why We Need It

function of hair

When we need it, it’s either too short or barely there. When we don’t want it, it’s all over the place. During many stages in our life, many of us have experienced a love-hate relationship with our own hair. But what is the function of hair?

Throughout history, hair seems to be the only exterior body part that has been subjected to such a wide range of use and abuse. We’ve pulled, cut, dyed, curled, straightened, tweezed, waxed, shaved, ironed, stretched, tied, and chewed it – among countless other things we’ve done on a regular basis.

If we spend so much of our time, energy, and dollars to grow and maintain our hair, couldn’t we just leave it to grow ‘au naturel’ until it sheds off our bodies, or undergo a total deforestation so we can take a load off of our backs – or in this case, skin?

Not so fast – take a look at the function of hair, four reasons why we all need it, and why it’s important to go to great lengths to care for it:

1. Hair regulates body temperature. Being indoors in a cold room or outdoors in cold weather makes our muscles contract, causing them to pull the hair into an upright position. These erect strands trap air and serve as insulation to protect the body from the cold. This explains why a person who has more hair feels warmer than someone who has little or none at all. Hot temperatures have an opposite effect. As our sweat glands secrete sweat that evaporates to cool us down, the muscles relax,  making the hair lie flat to release heat

2. Hair extends our sense of touch. It’s amazing how even before an object touches our skin, our hair makes it possible for us to feel something. A study published by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 2012 reported how the brain processes and collects information through hair on the skin. David Ginty, Ph.D., professor of neuroscience at Johns Hopkins, says more than 20 classes of mechanosensory nerve cells in the skin detect everything from temperature to pain.

The study tested how the nervous system develops by using genetically engineered mice with a fluorescent protein in one type of nerve cell, called C-type low-threshold mechanosensory receptor or C-LTMR. These C-LTMR cells, which branch from the spinal cord to the skin, were found to send projections to as many as 30 different hair follicles. When two other types of nerve cells were marked, the results showed each hair type (mice have three) having even spacing and pattern on the skin and bearing a different and specific set of nerve endings. “This makes every hair a unique mechanosensory organ,” Ginty noted. The amount of hair may be different in mice and humans but many of the structures are similar and leads us to a new understanding of how hair plays an important role in our sense of touch.

3. Hair protects our bodies from harmful objects. Hair covers almost all of our body except for the palms of our hands, soles of the feet, and lips. Aside from providing cover from the heat of the sun, body hair such as eyebrows, eyelashes, and those found in nostrils help keep dust and foreign matter out.

4. Hair identifies you. Your hair may be a dead giveaway for forensic analysis and paternity testing, but for many, hair is simply the ultimate form of expression. The Jackson 5 and their afros, Dolly Parton and her big hair, Mr. T and his mohawk, Sinead O’Connor and her closely shaven pate, Alicia Keys and her braids, Jennifer Aniston and her “Rachel” locks – these celebrities made their hair a brand of its own by using it to enhance their features and create a style uniquely their own.

Lady Gaga, with her head-turning coifs, sums it up in her 2011 song “Hair”:

Function of Hair
One function of hair is to make an expression. It identifies us.

I just want to be free, I just want to be me
And I want lots of friends that invite me to their parties
Don’t wanna change, and I don’t wanna be ashamed
I’m the spirit of my hair, it’s all the glory that I bare.

 

 

 

 

 

Gen H: The Hair Growth Cycle and What You Need to Know About it

Hair Growth Cycle

Every aspect of life is part of a cycle in one way or another. It’s no different with each cell in our body and one of the most obvious manifestations of how we go through our own growth as humans is the hair growth cycle.

People and animals are constantly moving through states of birth, growth, and death, with new births starting the cycle all over again. Plants sprout from seeds, mature, and later die to be replaced by newer buds. The changing of the seasons marks the passing of time and bears witness to the birth and rebirth of every living thing.

Babies develop follicles anywhere from three to five months while inside the womb. These follicles produce the first downy hairs called lanugo on the fetus. Although they may appear to be fine and colorless, they provide warmth, cushion, and protection for the body.

Lanugo hair sheds just around the seventh to eighth month of gestation and is replaced by vellus and terminal hairs which continue to grow, shed, and be replaced throughout adulthood.

Vellus hair resembles lanugo because of their softness, fine quality, and lack of pigmentation. They cover almost all areas of the body except for the palms, soles, lips, and genital areas.

During puberty, hormonal changes turn most vellus hair into terminal hair which are coarse, thicker, and pigmented. These are found mostly on the arms, legs, eyelashes, eyebrows, and scalp. They also start to grow on the groins of both males and females, and around the nose and jawbone in males.

The “Gens” of the Hair Growth Cycle

At birth, a baby will possess the most number of follicles they can ever have in their entire lifetime. These follicles continue to produce new hairs that grow and shed – each new growth is similar to the previous one, but their color and size depends on what their genes provide.

Anagen: The Growth Phase

The first phase in the hair growth cycle is called anagen – a long period of slow growth during which around 90% of hair lengthens by 300 micrometers per day, or around one centimeter every 28 days.

This goes on for a period ranging from two to seven, and sometimes up to ten years for scalp hair. Those growing in the eyebrows, underarms, and pubic area have a shorter cycle that lasts from four to seven months.

Hair Growth Cycle

Hair growth during the anagen phase is affected by factors such as nutrition, disease, and stress. As the cells actively divide to lengthen the shaft – the visible part of the hair that lies above the epidermis – proper care of the hair from within will ensure that hair remains thick and healthy.

Catagen: The Regressing Phase

For a period of two to three weeks toward the end of anagen, cell division starts to slow down or regress as it enters the catagen phase. The root shrinks to 1/3 of its original size and the hair begins to break off from the root, pushing upward where it turns into a tough protein substance called keratin.

Telogen: The Resting Phase

This brief period is followed by the telogen or resting phase for approximately three to nine months when the fully grown hair stops growing. New hair starts to develop in the follicle and signals the start of a new anagen phase, with the cycle repeating itself every four to five years.

Exogen: The Shedding Phase

An article published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology describes a “distinct phase” called exogen which is characterized by the shedding of the fully grown shafts at the rate of 100-150 strands daily.

Although some shedding may occur in the telogen phase, not all strands continue to the exogen phase because they can go through several cycles before falling off completely. This occurrence prevents a significant loss of hair at any one time.

 

Do Bald Men Make Better Bed Partners?

bald men

If we could spot a virile man in a room by targeting the crosshairs on bald men, we would have it made – but apparently, it’s not that easy.

The association between baldness and virility has always been a popular topic but it probably is only because there are so many men who, despite being short of hair, are not short of brains, money, fame, or power – qualities that make them attractive to most women.

NBA legend Michael Jordan, veteran actor Bruce Willis, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos lead the pack of GQ’s 100 Most Powerful Bald Men in the World. Throw in Russian President Vladimir Putin, NBA player-turned-analyst Shaquille O’Neal, Apple’s Chief Design Officer Jonathan Ive, and wrestling great Hulk Hogan to the list and the atmosphere is already oozing with testosterone.

The link between testosterone and bald men

Testosterone is a hormone produced mainly in the testicles and partially in the adrenal glands of men. Women also produce this hormone at lower levels – approximately a tenth to a twentieth of what men produce – in the ovaries and adrenal glands.

The level of testosterone in men’s bodies determines overall well-being as it is responsible for certain body functions such as keeping bones and muscles strong, making red blood cells, giving energy, making sperm and maintaining sex drive. Low levels of this hormone, which naturally occur in aging men, can lead to just the opposite: a decrease in strength and size of bones and muscles, sleep problems, inability to concentrate, low sperm count and declining libido.

Testosterone converts to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which attaches itself to receptors in the scalp’s follicles. DHT is notorious for shrinking hair follicles, which can lead to thinning and even a total loss of hair.

The American Hair Loss Association reports that men’s testosterone levels drop by 10% for each decade after thirty, while women’s hormone levels decrease as they near menopause, and drop sharply during and after menopause.

Although hormone levels rise and fall on certain periods in one’s life, the amount of DHT in the body is not the culprit that makes one bald. Some people are more likely to develop alopecia – the medical term for losing one’s hair in certain or all areas of the body – because of a heightened sensitivity of their hair follicles to bind with the DHT that’s circulating in the blood.

This all boils down to the kind of genes one inherits. People with normal or high DHT levels may not be candidates for alopecia if they are not genetically predisposed to the condition. Some may experience it despite having low levels in their system if their body chemistry demonstrates an over-sensitivity to certain hormones.

Baldness isn’t synonymous to virility

The fact that testosterone dictates a man’s size, strength, and endurance doesn’t necessarily mean that all bald men are Olympians in bed, or have more partners.

The Medical Journal of Australia documents a 1994-1997 study that measured if bald men were really more virile than their hairy, or “well-thatched” counterparts. The results, gathered from 2,205 men below the age of 70 years, measured baldness (ranging from nil, receding only, vertex only, and fully bald), the history of ejaculations between the ages of 20-49, and the total number of sex partners.

John Burton, who led the research, concluded that there was no significant evidence that linked baldness and virility. In fact, bald men were significantly less likely to have more than four female sexual partners.

So if you see men sporting the “hair today, gone tomorrow” look, don’t keep your hopes up. They may be in the GQ list, but so are Dr. Phil, Pope Francis, and the Dalai Lama.