updated 23 Feb 2011, 04:25
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Fri, Aug 06, 2010
The China Post
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Healthy lifestyle better for hair than products

TAIPEI, TAIWAN - Although ads on TV will have you believe healthy hair can be achieved through the use of commercial products, it truly is what's on the inside that counts. A healthy mane is not merely a vanity concern; the condition of your hair is indicative of your health and lifestyle, studies conducted by National Cheng Kung University Hospital revealed yesterday.

Emphasis should not be placed on hair products, but rather living a healthy lifestyle, said Yang Chao-jin, a dermatologist at the university's hospital.
Hair, said Yang, is divided into two distinctive parts: the external hair shaft and the embedded hair follicle. The hair shaft, composed of dead protein cells, is lifeless, while the follicle, the point from which hair grows, is made up of living cells constantly nourished for growth.

Hair products like shampoo and conditioner can only temporarily relieve the damaged hair shaft but will not, through repeated use itself, give you healthy locks, Yang said.

In terms of hair loss, Yang explained that human hair goes through cycles of growth not unlike the way animals shed fur. For those unsure if their hair loss is normal, Yang listed a few things to watch out for: shedding over 100 strands a day, increased spacing between hair follicles and visibly thinning hair.

Yang suggested giving tresses gentle test tugs. If more than two strands come loose each time, then you might be experiencing abnormal hair loss, he said.
On the issue of balding, Yang cited the most commonly afflicted demographic as men 40 years old and over.

Disorders of the immune system, malnutrition, drug intake-prescription or otherwise-and hormonal imbalance can all be causes of baldness, he added.

Staying up all night and stress can cause temporary hair loss, although it rarely results in long-term baldness. Studies have also linked balding with excessive smoking. Women lacking iron can also experience hair loss, though vitamin shots and a balanced diet should help its recovery.

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