Posts Tagged ‘hair’

Getting to the Root of Pseudofolliculitis Barbae

First reported in 1908, pseudofolliculitis barbae (PFB) is a common inflammatory condition caused by ingrown hairs in the beard area of African-American and Hispanic men who have tightly coiled hair. Fox first noted the condition, and it was later described as pseudofolliculitis of the beard by Strauss and Kligman in 1956.1,2 Present in up to 83% of African-American men, this condition is characterized by inflamed papules and occasional pustules in the beard after close shaving.

Read the full article online here or click the image below to read the full PDF.

Central Centrifugal Scarring Alopecia

Central centrifugal scarring alopecia (CCSA) is a new term that encompasses the same clinical presentation originally described with hot comb alopecia and follicular degeneration syndrome (FDS). It also serves to include other related diseases with slightly different epidemiology (pseudopelade) and extent of inflammation (folliculitis decalvans).

Read the full article online here or click the image below to read the full PDF.

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.

Split End Solutions

Split ends are a common and frustrating problem that we all have to deal with. They occur when the hair splits at the tip, and is more common in chemically processed hair. They also occur in women who frequently blow-dry their hair, so just about everyone is prone to split ends. The best treatment for split ends is simple…just cut your hair! Of course, most of us would rather prevent split ends than cut off inches of hair on a regular basis, so here are some prevention tips: Avoid over-processing hair. As a general rule, you can easily get away with one chemical process (i.e. chemical straightener or relaxer) to maintain healthy hair.  Adding a second chemical, like color, is a little more challenging, and three chemical processes (relaxer + color + highlights) is asking for trouble. So although we love to have it all, if you want really healthy hair, limit yourself to one, or at the very most two chemical processes. Another tip: If your hair is chemically straightened use semi-permanent color instead of permanent color.  This is a safe option because it does not use peroxide to strip the hair. If you choose to do multiple chemicals, be prepared to do conditioning treatments regularly and avoid high heat when drying the hair. That means staying away from the handheld hair dryer and sitting under the hooded dryer instead. Use a wide toothed comb when combing your hair, and avoid brushes with metal bristles.  If you do have split ends, don’t be conservative with your haircut. Remember, it is always better to cut them off and start fresh than to just trim a little and not actually address the problem.

1 2