Our moods aren’t the only thing getting out of control this summer. Your locks get unruly too.
Every season, a multitude of women work hard to shed a few pounds before jetting off to a beach holiday. But a word of caution: while you’re pursuing pure bliss in the sun, sea and sand, your hair gets a pretty rough deal. Chlorine, sunshine, saltwater, dry air and humidity can prove to be a damaging combination, often times causing excessive breakage and more.
No fun in the sun
“The UV rays dry out and can harm the outer layer of the hair shaft and this is more obvious in colour-treated hair,” says Dr Cagatay Sezgin, Hair Transplant Surgeon, American Aesthetic Medical Centre. “On the other hand, hair grows fast during summer due to increase in blood circulation.”
The UV rays dry out and can harm the outer layer of the hair shaft and this is more obvious in colour-treated hair.
As much of a necessity as it is, air conditioning also sucks the moisture right out of your strands. “It dries and dehydrates the hair causing frizziness and weak hair,” says Dr Ramachandran Rajagopal, Specialist Dermatology and Venereology, Aster Hospital, Al Qusais. “Chlorine in pool water or salt in seawater dries out the hair, while sweat and dust causes dandruff and split ends. Frequent use of top knots and ponytails can cause hair loss because of pulling on the sides of scalp.”
Chlorine in pool water or salt in seawater dries out the hair, while sweat and dust causes dandruff and split ends. Frequent use of top knots and ponytails can cause hair loss because of pulling on the sides of scalp
Shield your head
It’s one of the best ways to protect your hair from the sun’s rays. And if a baseball cap is killing your look, get a scarf or a wide-brimmed hat. “The best way to screen hair from the sun is wearing a scarf,” says Dr Mayur Bhobe, Specialist Dermatologist, Cocoona Centre for Aesthetic Transformation. “If it’s not to your liking, then use a leave-in conditioner.”
Once you’re out of the pool and have taken a quick shower, use a shampoo that has ethylene tetra-acetic acid.
Chlorine is used to kill bacteria in pools, but it’s also a harsh chemical bleach that can wreak havoc on your hair. “Wear a swim cap, rinse hair after swimming, wash hair with a shampoo especially formulated for swimmers and follow with a good conditioner,” advises Dr Roula Amer, Consultant Dermatologist, American Hospital Dubai. “Choose a shampoo that’s sulphate free as it removes excess dirt and oil, or one that lists dimethicone as an ingredient to increase shine and moisturise.”
Do not shampoo before you go for a swim, as this will rob your hair of all protective oils and make it extra vulnerable to the chemicals and salt in the water. “Once you’re out of the pool and have taken a quick shower, use a shampoo that has ethylene tetra-acetic acid,” says Dr Bhobe. “This will remove any harmful effects of chlorine.”
There are many useful sun protection formulas such as oils, sprays, creams and shampoos. They contain ingredients such as coconut and sunflower oils, tamanu oil, zinc oxide and vitamin E, which help in protecting hair from damage caused by chemicals and UV rays.
According to research, excessive sun exposure is the most damaging factor, with UVA rays fading your colour and UVB leading to breakage. “There are many useful sun protection formulas such as oils, sprays, creams and shampoos,” says Dr Amer. “They contain ingredients such as coconut and sunflower oils, tamanu oil, zinc oxide and vitamin E, which help in protecting hair from damage caused by chemicals and UV rays.”
Tackle the frizz
Summer is the season of frizzy hair, and when heat and humidity are at an all-time high, that fuzzy halo comes out in full force. “Use more conditioner to coat the hair so that it doesn’t absorb moisture from outside and become frizzy,” says Dr Rajagopal. “Apply a leave-in conditioner from roots to hair ends and cover with a towel. If frizziness is severe, leave it covered overnight with the towel. If this does not help, use a hair mask once or twice a week.”
Is a nourishing mask applied at home enough to coax hair into good condition? “If you have healthy hair, applying a hydrating mask once a week is enough, but if your hair is dry you may need to apply it two to three times a week,” says Dr Sana Sajan, Director, American Aesthetic Medical Centre. “It all depends on your hair condition.”
If you have healthy hair, applying a hydrating mask once a week is enough, but if your hair is dry you may need to apply it two to three times a week.
Be cautious while using an overnight hair conditioning mask, as it sometimes does harm than good. “When moisture is absorbed into the hair shaft, the inner structure swells and causes tension on the shaft,” says Dr Bhobe. “As your hair dries, it contracts back to normal, but the constant expanding and contracting of the hair cuticle results in hygral fatigue, which leads to breakage.”
With more and more salons offering high-tech conditioning treatments, people turn to them for a hair fix. “If you know how to take care of your hair then there would be no need for expensive and high-tech solutions,” says Dr Sezgin. “Keep yourself well-hydrated and avoid colouring as much as possible, especially blonde. Avoid blow-drying and tight braiding and look out for harmful ingredients in shampoos and hair dyes.”
Avoid heated tools
Heat styling tools are great for giving your hair that perfect look, but they can also ruin your hair. “They are not only harmful during summer, but all the time,” says Dr Sajan. “Hair is made up of protein and heat destroys this protein layer.”
As heat styling breaks down the hair’s hydrogen bonds, applying concentrated heat from a curling or straightening iron can be very damaging. “Bubble hair is a condition that emerges from excessive heat application on damp or wet hair. The hair fibre is weakened from this internal damage, leaving it dry and brittle. As far as possible allow hair to dry naturally in summers.”
There are many natural remedies that deliver great results when used for hair growth. “Dull hair can be tackled by rinsing hair in organic apple cider vinegar before shampoo,” says Dr Rajagopal. “Eggs are rich in protein and help recover damaged hair. Mix a quarter cup plain yoghurt with quarter cup mayonnaise and one egg white and distribute evenly in hair. Leave for 30 minutes and rinse thoroughly with water. For hair loss take two tablespoons of fenugreek seeds and soak overnight. Make a paste by mixing with yoghurt and massage into the scalp. Rinse with a mild shampoo after one hour.”