The secret lives of hair
Your hair is your crowning glory and just like the other organs, it needs proper care to thrive. Sometimes however, your hair doesn’t behave the way you expect it to: it becomes dull instead of shiny after using your favorite smoothing product, or it starts breaking or falling for no apparent reason. Now you must be wondering what could possibly affect the natural appearance and behavior of your hair overnight. In this blog, we’re going to discuss some of those factors, and how they can spoil the outcome of, say, a keratin treatment.
Alcohol is a recreational substance that has zero calories and no nutritional value. Ethanol in alcohol acts as a diuretic that pulls water out of your body through sweating and urination, which can lead to dehydration. When your body is dehydrated, blood circulation becomes limited, reducing the supply of nutrients to hair follicles. This results in poor hair nourishment, poor hair growth, and a reduced ability to absorb fluid substances through the hair shaft and scalp.
Both men and women can develop hormonal imbalances that may affect the appearance and behavior of hair. In females, two hormones are the most important ones: estrogen and progesterone, which are also directly responsible for hair growth. As you age, these hormones tend to decrease, which leads to hair thinning and falling. Then we have androgen hormones, commonly called male hormones, which include dihydrotestosterone and testosterone. When the level of estrogen and progesterone decreases, androgen levels increase; this tends to shrink hair follicles. This eventually leads to hair loss and your hair feeling more brittle.
The menstrual cycle can also mess with your hair. Your hormones fluctuate a lot when you’re on your period but thankfully the changes are temporary and shouldn’t make a lasting impact on your hair health. When you’re menstruating, testosterone levels spike up, which results in more sebum production. This makes your hair greasier than usual, which can affect the internal absorption of nutrients, external chemical substances and even environmental moisture. Your scalp also becomes more tender and sensitive. When your period starts, estrogen levels begin to drop, and iron in your body drops too, causing more hair fall than normal. In some cases, heavy bleeding causes more hair thinning and loss.
Most women experience thinner volume and decreased hair length around menopause. This is because menopause causes your estrogen levels to decrease, which leads to sudden hair shedding in its growth phase. After menopause, hair becomes more fragile and easy to break. This is because new hairs that are produced by hair follicles are much finer and thinner.
A sudden drop or rise in your blood sugar levels can cause hair thinning and hair loss. It can have some impact on the growth cycle of hair such as impaired hair growth, increased hair growth, and a decrease in the development of new hair. If your blood sugar levels are consistently high then it can lead to damage in various tissues, organs, and blood vessels. When your blood vessels are damaged, it restricts the blood flow and nutrient supply to various parts of the scalp and hair follicles. This deficiency can affect the production and supply of proteins such as keratin, modifying hair porosity and absorption properties.
So what happens when you apply a keratin treatment to hair under these conditions?
A keratin treatment is a hair straightening procedure commonly using a combination of various harsh chemicals and high heat. If your hair is damaged or weak, then it won't be a wise decision to go for such a treatment, as it will further wreak havoc on your hair. For intance, it may not be the best idea to get a keratin treatment done the day after a cocktail party: your body and your hair will likely be dehydrated, and your blood sugar levels low, which can result in your hair feeling too brittle or even breaking after applying the treatment. A less catastrophic but equally undesirable outcome, is that the treatment will not be absorbed properly by the hair shaft, so it won’t turn out as straight or as smooth as you expected.
As we already mentioned, when you’re on your period your scalp becomes more sensitive so there might be some adverse reactions to the chemicals used in a keratin treatment. This may not always be the case, but still a patch test is recommended by trying a little product on your hand or scalp and leaving it for a while to check for sensitivity. Furthermore, increased oiliness during your period will affect the way your hair absorbs these chemicals, so even if no hypersensitivity is triggered, you may still find that your smoothing treatment just didn’t turn out “as smooth as last time”.
But even if you’re diabetic, menopausal or a party animal, there is no need for you to abstain from hair straightening treatments. Just be sure to take your medication regularly, and take special note of your biological cycles, major lifestyle changes and drinking events when planning a visit to the salon!