Want more good hair days? Dermatologists say how you wash your hair and the products you use could go a long way in maintaining smooth, shiny hair.
"When shampooing, concentrate on cleaning primarily the scalp, rather than the entire length of the hair, as washing only your hair can create flyaway hair that is dull and coarse," said board-certified dermatologist Zoe D. Draelos, MD, FAAD. "When using a conditioner, the recommendation is different. Conditioners should only be used on the tips of the hair and not on the scalp or length of the hair since conditioners can make fine hair look limp."
To maintain healthy hair, Dr. Draelos recommends people also follow these tips:
1. Wash oily hair more frequently. How often you wash your hair should be based on how much oil your scalp produces.
o If your scalp is oily, you may need to wash it as often as once a day.
o If you have chemically-treated hair, your hair may be drier, so you may want to wash it less frequently.
o As you get older, your scalp makes less oil, so you may not need to shampoo as often. But if you see flakes in your hair, you may not be shampooing enough. This can lead to dandruff and other scalp diseases.
2. Use conditioner after every shampoo unless you use a "2-in-1" shampoo, which cleans and conditions hair. Using a conditioner can significantly improve the look of damaged or weathered hair by increasing shine, decreasing static electricity, improving strength and offering some protection from harmful UV rays.
3. Choose a shampoo and conditioner formulated specifically for your hair type. For example, if you color your hair, use a shampoo designed for color-treated hair. If your hair is damaged or chemically treated, consider a "2-in-1" shampoo. Regardless of cost, many shampoo and conditioner brands provide the same benefits.
4. Protect hair when swimming. Protect your hair from the damaging effects of chlorine by wetting and conditioning your hair before swimming. Wear a tight-fitting swim cap and use a specially formulated swimmers shampoo and deep conditioner after swimming to replace lost moisture.
"A dermatologist can address any questions or concerns that you have about caring for your hair," said Dr. Draelos. "Be sure to see a dermatologist if you are experiencing unexplained hair loss as this may be a sign of a serious medical condition."
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