Are your New Year’s resolutions ruining your HAIR?
For many of us, January is the time to embark on a healthy new lifestyle, whether it’s eating more greens or finally signing up to the gym.
But while your new diet may be working wonders for your physique, have you ever stopped to think about how it might be affecting your hair?
According to one haircare expert, many supposedly ‘healthy’ lifestyle choices such as going vegan and working up a sweat on the treadmill could be playing havoc with your tresses without you even realising it.
Dr. hair transplant surgeon at The Private Clinic of Harley Street, explains how our best intentions might be causing damage to your locks – and what you can do about it.
High-profile vegan stars like Beyonce and Jay-Z have inspired more and more of us to hop on the bandwagon and eschew animal products for a month – and even if we’re not doing Veganuary, it’s tempting to embark on a cleanse or detox diet.
But according to Dr, you may be missing out on vital nutrients and vitamins in the process.
‘It’s important to really think about what you are, and are not, eating when it comes to your hair,’ he says. ‘Your diet needs to contain sufficient protein, vitamins and minerals to ensure shiny strands.
‘Hair is made up of a fibrous protein called keratin meaning that maintaining a diet with sufficient protein is essential for hair health. Lean meat, fish and eggs are all rich protein sources and vegetarians can source protein easily from nuts, legumes and beans.
‘Foods high in vitamins A, B, C and E as well as iron, zinc, copper, magnesium and selenium are also important for fuelling hair growth.’
Heading off to the gym? Then it’s vital that you wash your hair afterwards – and thoroughly, says Dr.
‘Washing hair frequently has attracted a bad rep in recent years, with many believing it’s damaging to the hair – but this couldn’t be further from the truth,’ she says. ‘Regular washing is vital to keep hair healthy, strong and steadily growing.
‘After a gruelling gym class, washing your hair before bed might be the last thing on your mind but hitting the hay with sweaty hair can clog pores overnight and restrict your hair’s natural growth as you sleep.
‘So next time, take advantage of your gym’s luxe shower facilities and take time for a proper wash post workout.’
Scrimping on beauty products
Christmas shopping, party season and a few too many January sale purchases may have taken their toll on your wallet.
‘Whilst budgeting for the year ahead is a great goal, for your hair’s sake don’t prioritise cost over quality when it comes to shampoo, conditioner and hair-ties,’ says Dr.
‘Despite their different promises, most budget shampoos share the common ingredient SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulphate).
‘Evidence has indicated that using a natural, sulphate free product can be instrumental in maintaining healthy hair, so it pays to read the fine print and spend a little more to ensure you are avoiding any products containing SLS.’
Dr recommends investing in a deep conditioning treatment to lock in much-needed moisture that harsh winter conditions can strip away – products containing a low PH level and agents such as sodium PCA, sodium lactate, glycerine and propylene glycol are best for retaining moisture.
After a tough workout session you may be tempted by a protein shake, but despite their benefits for your muscles these post-gym purchases could be causing damaging side effects for your hair.
‘Ingredients in protein shakes often contain growth hormones such as Creatine and DHEA,’ Dr explains. ‘These not only increase muscle mass, but can also provoke some hormonal imbalances in the bloodstream that can in turn, provoke hair thinning and even hair loss in some cases.
‘Working hard and aiming high is great, but, working too hard can, in fact, damage your hair. Lengthy periods of stress have been proven to change your hormone levels, and also to create a build-up of acid free-radicals in the body, both of which can cause a loss of hair over time.
‘Physical effects of prolonged stress can even include development of the condition Telogen Effluvium, which accelerates hair loss and can lead to hair thinning and falling out rapidly. Above the surface, stress can also commonly cause people to adopt bad habits like pulling of the hair, which can create a vicious cycle for the sufferer and result in significant hair loss.
‘Overall, while getting ahead at work is a great goal for the New Year, it’s important to incorporate time each day to escape stressful environments and relax; for the good of your hair, but also for your overall health and wellbeing.’