For many of us, the past twelve months have been challenging. Adjusting to new restrictions, seeing friends and family from a distance, and spending lots of time at home. Lifestyle changes like these can sometimes have an impact on our general health. And this applies to the hair and scalp too!
So, how might your hair and scalp have been affected by recent changes? What steps can you take to protect and care for your hair? Read on to find out more.
If you usually visit the barber or hairdresser to maintain your hair, you might have noticed a difference in it’s condition with many barbershops and salons closed at the moment.
Regular trims help to remove old, damaged hair from the ends, as well as supporting hair growth. Although cutting your hair won’t make it grow any quicker on the whole, it can encourage healthy regrowth and make the hair more durable.
If your usual service isn’t due to resume soon, you could ask someone from your household to give it a try - or even have a go yourself! There are lots of tutorials available online, but remember to work a little at a time - you can always cut your hair shorter, but you can’t get back what you’ve chopped off!
If you’re working from home, you might find there is less pressure to keep up your usual hair care routine. You might have taken the chance to space out your hair wash days, or reduced the use of styling appliances. In some cases, this can improve the health of your hair. For example, if your scalp is prone to dryness, less frequent washing may help to retain the scalp’s natural oils. And a reduction in heated styling can be beneficial for all hair types, as hot temperatures can damage the hair and scalp.
But if you are prone to oiliness, or you tend to use lots of styling products, keep an eye on your lockdown hair care routine and make sure you are cleansing the scalp on a regular basis.
Stress & Dandruff
Faced with new rules, restrictions and uncertainties, you might also have noticed a change in your stress levels. Studies have found that the pandemic has affected mental wellbeing for a lot of people. And while stress doesn’t cause dandruff, it can trigger or aggravate symptoms. It’s thought that malassezia, the fungus that causes dandruff, thrives when the immune system is compromised - and stress can impact the immune system. Another factor at play is oil production; a change in stress levels can result in a change in oil production. As malassezia feeds off the natural oils on our scalps, an increase in oils may also contribute to dandruff symptoms.
If you have developed dandruff during the pandemic, or your symptoms have flared up, using a medical shampoo like Nizoral can help. Nizoral contains ketoconazole, an antifungal which works by reducing malassezia to a healthy level. Introducing new relaxation techniques may also help you to manage your symptoms. Exercise is known to help with stress management, as is practicing meditation.
Spending Time Indoors
We’re spending more time at home than ever. In some ways, this has brought about positive changes, such as spending more quality time with our household members, or making time for new hobbies or projects. How might this time indoors affect your hair and scalp? Blasting the central heating during cold weather might cause a change in the moisture balance of the scalp. Using a lower temperature setting when inside, and spending plenty of time in the fresh air, may help to counteract this.
Changes in Diet
New routines can often lead to new eating habits. Perhaps working from home has meant you are snacking more often, cooking differently, or eating for comfort over nutrition. Now is a great time to experiment in the kitchen, but remember to try and consume a balanced diet as much as possible. Certain vitamins - such as zinc and B vitamins - contribute to the condition of the hair and scalp, so it’s important to keep this in mind when planning your shopping list.
Though we are in a challenging and uncertain time, there are many ways you can support your hair and scalp health. You can find more advice and guidance in our blog section.
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