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Thu, Oct 17, 2013
Philippine Daily Inquirer
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Healthy hair begins at the scalp
by Tatin Yang

Perhaps it's because our scalp is covered by a full head of hair, that it tends to be the most neglected part of the body. Little do we know that the root of most of our hair problems actually stems from poor scalp maintenance.

Del de Leon, senior product expert at Kerastase, explains: "Think of your scalp as soil, and your hair the plants that grow from it; if the soil isn't nourished and fertile, your plants won't grow well. Healthy scalp equals healthy hair."

The small island of skin on top of our head is our first defence in protecting our noggins from sun exposure and other external aggressors. Apart from this, it is also responsible for growing hair via the 150,000-180,000 hair follicles embedded in the scalp. The condition of our scalp affects not only our hair, but also our skin. "When your scalp is too oily, the excess oil can trickle down to your face and cause acne," says Dr. Dianalyn Lorenzo of Skinhealth.

On the other end of the scale, dry and tight scalp conditions could lead to hair fall, breakage and, ultimately, hair loss. At the Kerastase institute and partner salons, their in-house consultants have portable cameras that take close-up photos of your scalp and hair. This free consultation will let you know if your scalp is dry (you'll see flakes) and if your hair strands are dry-the strands will have tiny white cracks running through the strands.

"The scalp's skin is twice as sensitive compared to the skin on your face," says De Leon. Just like your face, the scalp benefits from regular moisturization, exfoliation and anti-aging treatments. According to De Leon, a good way to tell if your scalp is in need of treatment is to check your pillow when you wake up. If you see strands of hair that have come loose from sleeping positions or if you feel that your hair snaps off easily from the root, then you may be in need of Aminexil. "This treatment helps 'anchor' hair to the follicles, making it more resistant to falling off," explains De Leon.

"When it comes to scalp treatments, you want to be proactive and prevent hair loss because that is harder to treat, especially when your follicles become too stressed to produce hair," adds De Leon.

Aside from Aminexil, Kerastase's other scalp-specific treatments include Initialiste, dubbed as "fertilizer for the hair," which contains plant stem cell technology to help hair grow stronger, and Densifique, a hair density programme that "wakes up" dormant hair follicles to produce more hair. The treatments can be used individually to suit your hair type, or you can use all three or a combination of either.

The treatments can be used at home, while a supplementary salon treatment called Peeling Purifiant helps clear the scalp of flakes and impurities. (Think of it as a facial for your scalp-a "scalpcial?")

The effect of the Peeling Purifiant is instantaneous; your scalp feels cleaner, more elastic to the touch, and your hair loses its frizz and gains shine.

If you want to know your hair type and scalp condition, visit a Kerastase salon for a free consultation.

Bad hair habits

Are you guilty of these typical mane transgressions?

1. Too much heat

Enjoying a hot shower puts your hair in hot water-literally and figuratively. "Bathing hair in water that is too hot dries out your scalp," confirms De Leon. If you can't stand a cold shower in the morning, use lukewarm water instead.

2. Going out with wet hair

Rushing to work with wet hair? You could actually be causing more damage running out with it wet hair and letting it air-dry naturally.

"When hair is wet, the hair's cuticles are open, so they end up absorbing dirt and pollution," says De Leon. You're actually better off drying your hair quickly with a hair dryer. "Just make sure to coat hair first with a heat-protective cream, like Ciment Thermique, and angle the blow dryer downward as you follow it down with a hairbrush. This will help keep your hair sleek and frizz-free," adds De Leon.

3. Frequent shampooing

"Filipinos love to shampoo, sometimes too much!" says De Leon. A shampoo is meant to cleanse the scalp and hair, but shampooing too much can strip the scalp of its natural oils. Look for shampoos with high levels of moisturizers to keep scalp supple, and shampoo once to twice a day only.

4. Yo-yo dieting

If you love going on fad diets, you may enjoy temporary skinniness, but your hair will pay the price. "Excessive dieting leaches the hair of the nutrition it needs, which can cause hair to turn brittle," says De Leon.

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