How to maintain a healthy scalp and hair in the cold winter weather
The winter weather can play havoc with everything, from our skin to our hair, so to help prevent too much damage to the latter, we asked Lisa Gilbey MIT, a member of The Institute of Trichologists from The Northants Hair & Scalp Clinic for her advice on how to maintain a healthy scalp and hair in the cold winter weather.
Lisa said: “Extreme temperatures from the winter season can play havoc on heightening an itchy flaky scalp and can also cause weathering by degeneration of the hair strand itself, inducing breakage.
“The cold temperature outside can cause hair to become very dry and flyaway due to the static electricity of the hairs themselves producing friction over one and other.
“This is common with the contrast of dry air from the central heating indoors and the cold outdoor air.
“You can help reduce static hair by conditioning your hair, which will flatten the cuticle layer enabling the hairs to slide over one another easily when brushing. An additional leave in spray conditioner may be required too.
“Also when towel drying your hair you must only pat or squeeze the hair in the towel as rubbing between both hands will electro-statically charge up the hair.
“Long hair will benefit from a good quality brush too. Paddle brushes or tangle teezer brushes are excellent at detangling long hair including making it pain free for children’s hair.
“Dry hair will be more prone to breakage as it is dehydrated and have less water content meaning reduced elasticity.
“The central heating can cause dry dehydrated skin which will create itchy, tight skin so a good moisturiser on the body like cheap aqueous cream can also be applied sparingly on the scalp.”
Eczema and psoriasis sufferers will find their condition is exacerbated in change of climates, particularly if wearing a hat in the cold as body heat departing the head produces a breeding ground for yeasts and bacteria which live on the scalp surface, thriving on a warm moist scalp.
“Harsh styling techniques in the Christmas party season can also cause damage to the hair.
“Frequent backcombing for hair up styles can remove scales off the cuticle layers which protect and encase the internal part of the hair shaft, the cortex. An exposed cortex where the strength of the hair lies will result in breakage at this point on the hair shaft.
“Curling the hair with the straightening irons is very popular but regular styling like this will dehydrate the hair, particularly if the irons are held on the hair slowly or in one place for too long.
“Regular trims to the ends will help keep weathering to a minimum by removing the fractured ends that can travel up the hair and split the hair further.
“It’s not worth putting off a trim as you will need more cutting off in the long run.
“Leaving conditioner on the hair at least once a week and wrapping in a towel will help the conditioner penetrate further into the hair shaft and strengthen the hair.
“Steam rooms at the gym or hot baths are more beneficial as the steam opens the hair and is replaced in the hair by water, which is what gives the hair its elasticity. The steam we see depart our hair when straightening is the internal water content so as you can appreciate in time will dehydrate the hair and cause breakage.”