Speaking last week at the American Academy of Dermatology’s SKIN Academy, dermatologist Paradi Mirmirani, MD, FAAD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the University of California, San Francisco, discussed how to maintain healthy, beautiful hair on a budget. “There are many ways that we can trim our hair care expenses, from going to the salon less frequently to using fewer products,” said Dr. Mirmirani. “But, the ultimate goal with any type of change in our hair care routine should be to maintain healthy hair.” Dr Mirmirani also said not to cut corners in order to save money when it comes to purchasing treatments for hair loss.
Dr Mirmirani explained that as hair is a fibre, its structure and integrity must be looked after in order for the hair to maintain its healthy look. The root of the hair (the hair follicle) produces the hair fibre which is made up from hair keratins. These are fine, fibre-like structures knitted closely together and wrapped in a hard, protective outer cuticle. When the outer cuticle is damage, it breaks apart and the inner fibres are exposed. The result is brittle, flyaway or dull hair. In order to protect the cuticle it is important to follow a good hair care routine; Dr Mirmirani discussed the following points.
Dr Mirmirani advises against expensive boar bristle brushes which she says put a lot of friction on the hair: “This can cause a considerable amount of damage, and consumers can save money and keep hair healthier at the same time by buying inexpensive plastic brushes with wide-spaced needles, which are widely available.”
By shampooing more efficiently, people can save money. Dr Mirmirani explained, “When we wash our hair, we tend to use too much shampoo by washing the entire length of the hair rather than concentrating on cleaning just the scalp.” She adds, “In addition, how often you wash your hair should be based on how oily your scalp is if it’s oily, you might need to wash it more frequently than someone with a dry scalp. However, most of us are probably over-washing our hair and can save some money by using less shampoo.” Dr Mirmirani also pointed out that African Americans should only wash their hair once a week as this hair and scalp type tends to be much dryer than other races. Over-shampooing can dry out African American hair. “I recommend that you choose a shampoo formulated specifically for your type of hair,” said Dr. Mirmirani, “the key is finding the product that works best for you and avoid the temptation to spend more than you have to.”
These are important for vibrant-looking locks. For those with long hair, Dr Mirmirani says conditioner plays an important role in helping protect and maintain the structure of the cuticle, especially at the ends. And for damaged hair, conditioning is absolutely vital. Dr. Mirmirani says, “A leave-in conditioner for deep conditioning that can be applied at home also is important for people with long or damaged hair, and these products do not need to be expensive to work well.” Those with fine hair should only use conditioner on the tips and not the scalp or the length of the hair as this can make the hair appear limper.
Heat, Colour and Chemicals
When using any heat-based styling product (including a flat iron, blow dyer or curling iron), Dr. Mirmirani recommends using a styling product specially designed to protect the hair from heat before styling the hair, such as a leave-in conditioning spray. For colouring hair, Dr Mirmirani says home-dye kits can be as good as salon-dyes but it is important to test the product on a small area 24 hours before dying the hair to ensure the person does not have a reaction. Dr. Mirmirani also warned that ultraviolet (UV) light will bleach hair and strongly advised against prolonged sun exposure, and said those with colour-treated hair should wear a hat for protection. For those using home-perming kits, Dr Mirmirani said extreme care should be taken as leaving in the chemical for a moment too long can permanently damage the hair. She also said not to use this type of product more than once every 8 weeks.
Maintaining Hair Growth and Preventing Hair Loss
While all of the above tips will help the hair look its best, the fact is there are many factors that can cause thinning hair and hair loss in women. Stress, childbirth, medications, nutritional deficiencies, weight loss, and genetics can all cause hair loss. While some non-genetic hair loss conditions can be temporary, it may be possible to use a hair loss treatment to help restore a healthy growth cycle. Female Pattern (genetic) Hair Loss, which affects approximately 50% of women, will often require treatment to prevent a severe all-over thinning.
In these instances there is only one hair loss treatment that has been shown to be effective – Minoxidil. Licensed by the MHRA and FDA-approved, Minoxidil comes in various concentrations. In over-the-counter products for women it is nearly always in a 2% concentration, however there have been studies to show that a higher strength is significantly more effective at restoring an optimum hair growth cycle. Furthermore, there are a range of hair growth booster products that can significantly enhance Minoxidil’s effectiveness. Belgravia offers a range of exclusive hair growth boosters for those looking to see optimum regrowth.
Dr Mirmirani says that anyone considering using Minoxidil should see a specialist for a full evaluation first. This will give the person a clear diagnosis of what is causing the thinning or hair loss and ensure that the person knows which type of Minoxidil will work best for them.
The Belgravia Centre is based in central London and has a team of experts who have been successfully treating male and female hair loss for several years. To see clients’ comments, photographs and video diaries that document their treatment progress, take a look around the large collection of hair loss success stories.
If you would like to have your hair assessed, Belgravia offers consultations at its clinic or via the website. Appointments are free of charge and available 7 days a week. To book yours, simply call 020 7730 6666 or message the centre. Alternatively, complete the online diagnostic form and a treatment advisor will contact you to discuss matters further.