That mentioned, air pollution’s exact toll on hair is unknown. “I haven’t seen a ton of analysis proving it’s a significant risk,” says Schueller. “Of all of the issues that may hurt hair — chemical compounds, brushing, warmth — I would think about free radicals are low on the listing.”
WHAT WORKS: With thinning and graying as potential penalties, why take possibilities? Whereas solely a food plan wealthy in free radical-quelching antioxidants can really defend hair at a follicular stage, sure merchandise and practices can assist safeguard strands from the setting. For starters, “washing your hair totally and with ample frequency on your hair sort is essential to curbing the scalp irritation that contributes to hair loss,” says Dr. Henry. Shampoos with chelating brokers, like EDTA, will gently extract heavy metals (present in automotive exhaust, cigarette smoke, and arduous water).
You will additionally wish to search for leave-ins with concentrated doses of antioxidants (assume: nutritional vitamins, tea extracts, idebenone, resveratrol) to neutralize free radicals, and strand-coating silicones, proteins, and polymers, which “present a bodily barrier, walling off hair from pollution,” says Hammer.
The Declare: Therapeutic hydration
WHAT IT MEANS FOR HAIR: “With a wealthy blood provide and an abundance of oil glands, the scalp is an extension of our pores and skin,” says Francesca Fusco, MD, assistant medical professor of dermatology at New York Metropolis’s Icahn Faculty of Drugs at Mount Sinai. It shares the identical lipids and humectants, and it is equally liable to dryness and irritation. Hair suffers from dehydration, too, significantly when its cuticle is eroded (by water, warmth, and chemical compounds).
WHAT WORKS: Hyaluronic acid, a water-binding humectant, and ceramides, moisture-retaining lipids, are each discovered naturally within the pores and skin (and in numerous lotions and serums). Since they enhance the functioning of pores and skin cells, making them extra resilient and environment friendly, each can assist hold the scalp in peak situation. When utilized to hair (once more, leave-on merchandise work finest), “they coat strands to lock in moisture whereas additionally shielding from warmth and styling injury,” says Dr. Rogers, noting a 2002 research through which ceramides had been proven to bind to African hair, serving to to scale back breakage. Coconut oil and panthenol (a B vitamin) additionally nourish the scalp, and in contrast to most different components, can penetrate contained in the hair shaft, hydrating from inside to boost pliability, and conserving the cuticle tight and intact.
The Backside Line
The key to stunning hair is a wholesome scalp. “When the scalp is out of whack — that means there’s poor circulation, an oil imbalance, or a build-up of cells — we see not solely flakes and irritation, however hair that appears and feels unhealthy, and should even shed earlier than its time,” says Dr. Fusco.