Archive of ‘Hair’ category

Argan Oil

All hair needs moisture and with the all of the styling techniques that are common today, dry damaged hair has become exceedingly common. The good news is that it is very easy to add moisture to the hair and it doesn’t mean you have to use the heavy oily products of the past. There are some great new products on the market that provide excellent moisture and really help to protect the cuticle of the hair.

The cuticle is the part of the hair that looks like scales on a fish. When the hair is healthy, these “scales” lay down flat and the result is shiny, more manageable hair. But when the cuticle gets damaged, the “scales” can peel up and flake. This causes the hair to look dull and rough. Using a lightweight oil before and after styling can help to smooth and protect the cuticle.

My favorite new product for this is called Q-Oil by Andre Walker (Oprah’s Stylist for the last 20 years). Q-Oil contains argan oil which is a Moroccan oil that has been used for centuries for its cosmetic benefits. Argan oil is naturally rich in vitamin E and fatty acids-two essential ingredients for healthy hair. I really love Q-Oil because it is lightweight and gives my hair an instant incredible shine. I love instant gratification!! But more importantly, with long term use, my hair has become more manageable and looks much healthier overall. So those of you who may have stayed away from oils in the past, have a new option that really will make an impact without weighing down your hair. Remember, all hair needs moisture and one of the best ways to add moisture to your hair is by using a lightweight oil daily.

The Brazilian Blowout: Is It Safe?

The Brazilian blowout goes by many names (i.e “Brazilian Keratin Treatment” and “Keratin Hair Treatment” just to name a few). These products involve applying a keratin solution to hair to seal the cuticle resulting in smooth, frizz-free tresses.

There are so many of these treatments on the market, it is hard to figure out which ones are safe. Well, here is a little history on this increasingly popular hair trend. The original keratin treatments from Brazil had very high concentrations of formaldehyde. The treatments were so toxic that they had to be performed next to a window with masks and a fan to prevent inhalation of the formaldehyde. Unfortunately, a young woman in Brazil actually died after one of these treatments.

When keratin treatments arrived in the United States a few years ago, the FDA was quick to attempt to regulate these products and banned all products that contained higher than acceptable levels of formaldehyde. The problem is that formaldehyde makes the hair straighter so manufacturers are tempted to increase the levels to get better results. In fact, last month the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced that these treatments “can release unsafe levels of formaldehyde, posing a risk to salon workers and customers.” OSHA officials also said they found formaldehyde in many hair products that are labeled “formaldehyde-free” and are now investigating complaints about the products.

So what should you do if you want to try a keratin treatment? Well first you need to look for products that are labeled formaldehyde free. Make sure you read the bottle yourself and don’t just rely on what the stylist says. But you must keep in mind that even if it says formaldehyde free there is a chance that it still contains formaldehyde. The good news is that formaldehyde has a very strong odor and it should be pretty obvious if the fumes are strong. The other good news is that the FDA and other agencies are really cracking down on illegal products so they could be cleared off the market soon. Remember to be vigilant, because it simply is not worth it to risk your health in an attempt to get straight hair.

Biotin: A Great Solution for Hair and Nails

One of the two most common complaints in my practice is hair breakage and brittle nails. I always recommend biotin because this super vitamin really helps to grow strong hair and nails.

There is quite a lot of research to support the use of biotin for hair breakage. Biotin is a B vitamin that is necessary for cell growth. Biotin deficiency leads to hair loss and biotin has even been used in children with genetically brittle hair to improve strength and manageability.

It is important to understand that biotin will not actually stimulate new hair growth. Biotin does, however, prevent breakage and therefore improves overall hair health and thickness. You need at least 3000 micrograms of biotin daily to get the best results AND it can take up to six months to see improvement. This is because hair grows an average of one centimeter per month so you need to be patient.

The good news is that, for nails, the results are much quicker and my patients always comment on nail improvement first. So for thicker hair and stronger nails, consider taking a biotin supplement daily.

What is Traction Alopecia?

Traction alopecia can occur when women or men wear very tight hairstyles, such as braids, weaves, extensions, or tight ponytails.  Essentially, with chronic tension on the hair follicle, the hair can fall out. This typically leads to a receding hairline, especially in the frontal hairline. Traction alopecia can start very early in childhood if ponytails are pulled too tightly.  Recently the incidence of traction alopecia has increased due the increase in weaves and hair extensions, which can often pull on existing hair. The best way to treat traction alopecia is to prevent it. Avoid tight hairstyles that pull on the hair. If you have already noticed thinning of the hairline, you should change your hairstyle to a looser style. If you stop tight hairstyles within a year of noticing thinning, there is a good chance that the hair will re-grow. Treatment for longstanding thinning is more challenging. Biotin is a vitamin for hair and nails that can strengthen existing hair. Minoxidil 5% is also effective in growing hair but needs to be used long-term to maintain the growth. See a dermatologist if you think you may have traction alopecia to discuss all of your treatment options.

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