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Dare to care for your hair - how products, heat, and diet can cause damage - Ogden Clinic provided source, Standard-Examiner 08/27/2013

(Standard-Examiner) The way you style your hair and the tools you’re using to style it with may be causing significant damage.

Brushing your hair too much, wrapping it up in a towel to dry, using too many heat tools, and even putting it up in a tight ponytail can cause damage, according to local and national experts.

"There are several different problems people can have with their hair and scalp,” said Ogden Clinic dermatologist Chad Tingey. “One is hair damage, which can result from overtreatment of hair with drying, flat irons, hair dyes and other hair treatments."

Amy Hadley, a hair stylist at The Look in South Ogden, said poor diet and stress also play a role in the health of a person’s hair.

“People who don’t eat a healthy diet can have very unhealthy hair,” Hadley said. “When you’re not eating a good diet, your hair can start to look thin and dull.”

Styles that don’t work for a person’s hair type can also be damaging, as well as too much or too little washing, Hadley said.

“Oily hair can clog follicles and lead to ingrown hairs, and not scrubbing the scalp good can also cause problems,” she said. “Another thing a lot of people do is that they put their irons on too high of a heat setting. You don’t need to do that unless you have really thick, coarse hair. If you have fine hair, don’t put your iron on a level 10.”

Bleaching products, chemical perms and straightening, braiding, tight ponytails and using a rubber band to hold any hair style can result in split ends, frizz, hair loss and other damage.

The hair shaft is made of a hard protein called keratin, which includes three separate layers: the medulla, cortex and cuticle, according to WebMD. The cuticle is the outer layer that protects the other two layers from damage.

Everyone has about 1 million hair follicles on the head, with about 100,000 on the scalp itself.

“You can use keratin products to help strengthen your hair, but if you use too much, you can actually end up damaging your hair, so you have to be careful,” Hadley said.

Tingey said there are also other reasons for hair damage and hair loss. Hormones, recent surgeries, recent pregnancies and genetics can have a negative effect on hair.

So can a severe fever and emotional stress. Medical conditions of the scalp can damage hair follicles and decrease their growing capacity.

“These conditions can include rashes and lesions that change hair follicle function,” he said. “A common reason people can lose their hair is due to a condition called K June Effluvium, or rapid hair loss due to a very stressful event.”

Tingey said most dermatologists recommend the use of biotin and vitamins to help hair growth and maintain a healthy scalp.

Some people may also benefit from using a 5 percent minoxidil hair maintenance regimen, according to experts.