Hair and Scalp Dehydration (HSD)
Many African Americans suffer from hair and scalp dehydration during the winter months. Have you ever noticed how dry and “ashy” your hands and feet are in the winter or during whether changes? Well there is a reason for these changes: the air is so dry that moisture is pulled from whatever is moist- in this case your skin, and your hair and scalp are suffering right along with the rest of the body. Under such circumstances, Hair and Scalp Dehydration can develop. HSD is a developed disorder that occurs when the hair and scalp is depleted of its natural moisture. This occurs in two ways: first, lack of the appropriate natural moisture to offset the sudden change in the climate or the environment that the hair and scalp is exposed to; second, using hair products that have a high pH, high protein, or high alcohol content. In extreme cases HDS will cause chronic scalp itch and flakes and hair breakage. During the winter months your hair goes through several traumatic and dehydrating dry changes in the course of a single day. You may have never thought about this, but if you live in a part of the country or world where the air is always dry or the winters are cold and dry, your hair and scalp has suffered from a form of HSD.
The Average Winter Day Can Cause Winter Hair and Scalp Dehydration.
Lets start with a cold winter morning. Most of us keep our house nice and toasty (dry heat) then we go outside (dry cold) to get in the car and turn on the heater (dry heat). We get to work and walk (dry cold) inside the warm building (dry heat). That is five different drying situations that your hair just went through. In my clinic, I hear women complain about dry hair, scalp itch and flakes more during the winter months than any other time of the year. The reason for this phenomenon is because of the dehydrating changes that the scalp and hair goes through on the average winter day.
One of my more current studies shows that one cause for HSD is what I have coined as transition weather. This is the time of year between seasons, like at the end of winter and the beginning of spring. During this transitional time, we may experience cold mornings and warm evenings.
Ways to Prevent Hair and Scalp Dehydration (HSD)
Simple changes making big differences. The key is to be prepared; most of us will use lotion on our body during the dry months and never make the connection to our hair and scalp. Your hair and scalp, like your skin, benefits from adding moisture. Changes like dry flaking and itching scalp will cause some to use dandruff shampoos. Others with dry brittle hair often turn to moisturizing shampoos. Neither of these specialty shampoos are helpful, and will actually cause HDS to become more chronic.
Steps You Can Take to Avoid HSD
- Deep moisture condition your hair twice a week.
- Apply a small amount of moisturizer each day to your hair
- In extreme cases and coarse hair textures, after applying moisture, apply oil on top to seal in the hydration.
- Stay away from shampoos that have fillers, such as moisturizing shampoos, because they cause a filmy build-up that can be drying.
- Only use clarifying shampoos that have a pH between 4.5 to 5.5, the hair and scalp’s natural pH.
- Apply oil not grease to your scalp.
For more information about HSD, please refer to Lisa Akbari’s newly released book, Every Women’s Guide to Beautiful Hair At Any Age. Both of Akbari’s books are available at bookstores everywhere. For more information about Lisa Akbari and the latest healthy hair tips, visit www.lisaakbari.com