5 Hair Care Beauty Myths that You Need to Stop Believing
When our hair is looking less than perfect, it becomes easy to fall for any and all hair care tips we read. Especially when people suggest simple home remedies to cure common hair ailments. Since these hair care tips are easy to implement and usually inexpensive, you may think: why not give it a try?
Dr. Doris Day, a New York City-based dermatologist, tells Today, “How often you cut your hair doesn’t have anything to do with how fast it will grow.”
Whether you cut your hair or not, hair will grow an average of one-half inch every month. The rate at which your hair grows begins with the hair follicles in the scalp and which phase of growth they are in. Growth of human hair is divided into three stages: anagen, catagen, and telogen phases. The anagen phase is known as the growth phase and the amount of time the hair remains in this stage of growth is determined by genetics. (Wikipedia)
However, trimming split ends may make your hair appear longer and thicker because you are getting rid of hair breakage, which is what can leave hair looking thinner and even shorter at the ends. (Today)
Myth: a vinegar rinse can get rid of dandruff
A common belief is that apple cider vinegar can leave hair cleaner, softer, and healthier than a commercial shampoo as well as get rid of dandruff. While some may find that apple cider vinegar does give the hair a softer feel, they may not realize the damage the vinegar can cause.
Vinegar is composed of 5 to 20% acetic acid, giving it a pH of approximately 2.4. (Wikipedia)
The low pH of apple cider vinegar may aid in removing mineral buildup on hair that is caused by exposure to hard water. (The Beauty Brains) However, similar to lemon juice, the acidity of vinegar can cause hair to change to a lighter, more brassy color as well as cause hair to become more dry and brittle.
Additionally, there is no evidence that a vinegar rinse can get rid of dandruff. Since some studies have shown that apple cider vinegar can fight certain fungal infections, such as Candida albicans and Aspergillus niger, the root of this myth might have been using a vinegar rinse to halt the growth of yeast that is common with dandruff. (Thi-Qar Medical Journal, 2011)
However, the problem in seborrheic dermatitis is in the sebaceous (oil) glands and hair follicles, with people suffering from this disease producing too much sebum (natural oil of the skin). (AOCD) Since the main cause of seborrheic dermatitis is too much oil production, apple cider vinegar would not be helpful in ridding the scalp of the dandruff.
Myth: African hair is stronger than Caucasian or Asian hair
Each strand of African hair grows in a tiny, spring-like helix shape. (Wikipedia) Instead of being stronger, which is the common myth regarding African hair, the hair follicles are actually very fragile. Also, curly hair tends to have less water content and is more prone to dryness than the straight texture of Caucasian or Asian hair.
Myth: grey hair is more coarse than pigmented hair
Quite the opposite is true regarding this myth! Grey hair is more prone to dryness and frizz and is actually more fragile than hair that is fully pigmented.
As hair turns grey with age, it becomes more susceptible to becoming dry and fragile due to decreased production of melanin. Melanin is the pigment that gives hair its color. This pigment comes from cells called melanocytes that reside in the skin surrounding each hair follicle. As the hair is being formed, melanocytes inject pigment (melanin) into cells containing keratin, the protein that makes up each strand of hair. (Source)
Similar to how collagen production in skin declines as we age thus causing wrinkles, melanocytes produce less and less melanin over time, thus causing gray and eventually white hair. Since the hair contains little to no melanin, grey hair strands are thinner and more fragile than pigmented hair. (Livestrong)
Myth: dandruff results from a dry scalp
Seborrheic dermatitis, also known as dandruff, is a chronic inflammatory condition that manifests as a red, itchy rash on the scalp that often has flaky scales. While skin rashes and flaking of skin can be associated with dry skin, quite the opposite is true when it comes to dandruff.
As stated above in the “vinegar” section, the main problem in those that suffer from dandruff is the overproduction of sebum. This is where the name of this condition comes from: seborrheic meaning excessive discharge from the sebaceous glands and dermatitis meaning an inflammation of the skin. According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology stress, fatigue, weather extremes, oily skin and infrequent shampooing or skin cleaning make it worse.
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