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A Lovely Head of Hair Takes Care

Still AllieDo you know that you have about 100,000 hairs on your scalp? Facial hair that men typically shave is about 30,000 hairs. We probably don’t think too much about the purpose of our hair except for how good or bad it can make us look.

The purpose of our hair is primarily to protect us from injury, from weather conditions to maintain or release body heat, and to help protect us from the UV rays of the sun. Eyelashes protect our eyes from dust and dirt entering. Body hair can alert us to temperature changes or emotional moments for some leading to a good case of “goose bumps.” Body hair is a good first responder for detecting touch and sensation.

Hair develops differently, however. Have you ever wondered why some people have straight hair and other people have curly hair? It all depends on the shafts of our hair at the roots. Round shafts produce straight hair, oval shafts produce wavy hair, and flattened shafts produce kinky hair.

Body hair also has timelines for sticking to us. Scalp hair may last up to 4 years before falling out. Eyelashes and underarm hair may last up to 4 months before shedding.

Hair color is determined by melanocytes that provide the pigment for color. These melanocytes function well for about 40 years which explains why many people begin to see gray, white, or silver hair appearing in their 40s.

One of the biggest worries many people share is losing their hair. Genetics may play a part leading to balding patterns. Both men and women can experience patterned balding. Drugs and medications can contribute to hair loss as well as using shampoos and conditioners with harsh ingredients. Hair coloring agents are hard on hair and can lead to roughness of the hair strands and breakage. Over-drying and brushing hair can cause damage, and environmental exposures from sun, wind, and pollutants all play a part in damaging or thinning our hair.

Chronic stress can lead to hormonal imbalances upsetting our chemistry. Nutritional deficiencies affect our overall health and quality of our hair. Poor digestion will disable essential nutrients from being absorbed and utilized for optimal function throughout the body.

A good head of hair as well as body hair require adequate protein intake to provide keratin for hair strands. Vitamins A, C, E, and the B vitamins are important along with essential fatty acids from fish oils, seeds, and nuts. Zinc and iron are important minerals to have in balance. Adding one or two tablespoon of ground flaxseeds or one tablespoon of flaxseed oil daily will improve the condition of the hair.

Many of these vital nutrients are found in a whole foods diet. Eliminating processed foods, fast foods, and non-foods will improve hair quality and luster. Increase colorful fruits and vegetables and I am sure you will notice a difference in your hair.

Krystle Shapiro owns NewTritionally Yours! offering nutritional education classes and Touchstone Massage Therapies. She can be reached at (208) 290-6760

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