Hair helps you keep warm. It also protects your eyes, ears and nose from small particles in the air. In this article we focus on some of the common hair and scalp problems, which include hair loss, itchy scalp, dandruffs, dry and greasy hair, among others.

Dandruff

Dandruff is made up of bits of dead skin that peel away from the scalp as a result of the effects of metabolism. Under normal circumstances, dandruff, in its early stages of growth, is not visible to the naked eye.

It becomes visible only after enlarging into pieces of dead skin as a result of the spread of bacteria. If your scalp flakes much and regularly, perhaps it may be a good idea to visit a hair specialist who will help diagnose the condition of your scalp and guide you on how to treat it.

Treatment

Shampoo your hair regularly to prevent the spread of bacteria. Disinfect the scalp area with medicated shampoos specifically designed for dandruff removal. However, daily shampooing can lead to eczema (inflammation of the epidermis) for persons who suffer from dry scalps. Shampooing once every three days may be ideal for such persons.

Dry hair

This is hair that does not have enough moisture and oil to maintain its normal sheen and texture. Some of the common causes include excessive washing of hair using harsh soaps, excessive blow-drying and malnutrition.

Use a gentle cleanser

A harsh, chemical filled shampoo can strip your hair of its natural oils and make it even drier. Look for all natural products made specifically for dry hair to help add moisture back in.

Condition your hair often

Get a rich moisturising conditioner and apply generously on a daily basis. Simply wet the hair while in the shower and apply your conditioner. Look for leave-in formulations that will moisturise your hair all day long.

Deep condition. Deep condition your hair bi-weekly or monthly.

Dont over scrub your hair. Be gentle when washing your hair. Avoid combing it roughly, blow-drying and straightening often as this leaves the hair weak.

Limit your processing. Colouring, perms, and other chemical treatments can dry and damage your hair even further.

Dont expose yourself. The sun, wind, and cold can dry out your hair. Wear a hat during the cold season to protect it from cold, and look into hair-care products with sunscreens to minimise sun damage.

Eat healthy. Make sure you are eating a healthy diet. Brittle hair may be caused by a vitamin deficiency. Eat a well balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables and take enough water.

Greasy hair

This is caused by a build-up of the natural secretion from the sebaceous glands to the scalp. The sebum (an oily substance secreted by the sebaceous glands) passes into the hair follicle and spreads upwards and over the hair shaft. Greasy hair is mostly genetic but it can also be aggravated by stress, anxiety, an unbalanced or high-fat diet, exhaustion, different shampoos and excessive use of chemical dyes.

Treatment…

Use a gentle shampoo with a neutral pH while washing greasy hair. This will allow you to wash your hair as many times as possible without fear of irritating the scalp.

Hair loss

Hair can be lost in two ways – firstly, when well-defined areas of hair are lost while the remaining scalp retains a good covering of hair; secondly, when there is a general loss of hair over the entire scalp with no areas of normal hair growth. The medical term for hair loss is alopecia. Hair loss can be hereditary or some form of medication or hormonal imbalance could cause it. Stress also causes hair loss.

Treatment…

Eat a healthy diet. A healthy, nutritious diet will keep you in perfect condition and also improve the condition of your hair.

Drink plenty of water. Keep your hair soft and hydrated by drinking enough water every day.

Dry your hair naturally. Dry your hair with a towel without rubbing it too hard. Avoid using a hair dryer.

Avoid chemical treatments. If you must use a relaxer or hair colour, do so in moderation and do not bleach your hair as this will further cause more hair loss.

Avoid the flat iron. This is to avoid further hair loss.

Avoid stress. Stress is the major cause of premature hair loss.

Itchy scalp

An itchy scalp can be a frustrating problem to deal with because of the constant scratching. It could be as a result of dry skin or an allergic reaction to certain hair products, which contain ingredients that tighten the scalp.

Treatment…

Shampoo. Using a gentle shampoo, wash your hair regularly to prevent the disposition of dirt on the scalp. Shampoos based on natural ingredients like the tea tree oil or coconut oil are usually anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal in nature, and they help in the treatment of scalp infections while soothing itching.

Massage. A thorough scalp massage helps to prevent itching. Massage conducted in a proper manner on a regular basis enhances the circulation of blood, prevents the deposition of dead cells or dirt on the scalp and encourages growth of hair.