Considering it is technically dead tissue, we spend an awful lot of time, money, and energy on our hair. And well we should. In addition to being fun to style and color, hair serves a valuable biological purpose: It keeps your head warm and helps regulate body temperature.
Hair, like nails, is an extension of your epidermis, the outer layer of your skin. It is composed mainly of protein. The typical hair cell stays with you for three to five years until it falls or grows out. Most of the time, it gets replaced. Because you spend so much time with your hair, particularly if you're a woman, it deserves good care. So here are some tips to help you keep your hair shiny, healthy, and beautiful:
Take one to three 250-milligram capsules of borage oil, evening primrose oil, or flaxseed oil one to three times a day. All are rich in omega-3 fatty acids like gamma-linolenic acid, great for keeping hair (and nails) moisturized, says Kathleen W. Wilson, M.D., an internist at the Ochsner Health Center in New Orleans and author of When You Think You Are Falling Apart.
For soft, natural highlights, squeeze some lemon juice on your hair before heading into the sun. Or use shampoos and styling products that contain citrus fruits, suggests celebrity hairstylist Federico of Beverly Hills. Citrus adds subtle streaks to your hair without adding damage.
Check the drain after each shower for the amount of hair. The typical person loses from 50 to 200 hairs a day (out of 80,000 to 120,000 hairs on the head). So it's normal to have a very small clump of hair left on the drain after washing. But if that amount starts increasing, see your doctor. It could mean your scalp has an infection, or that baldness is beginning to set in, or in rarer circumstances, that you have a nutritional deficiency.