Human hair has long been used as a biological indicator for assessing environmental pollutants and toxins. Exposure to wind, dust, smog, excessive heat or chemical fumes can damage the quality of hair strands as well as disrupt protein levels that supports healthy hair growth.
Residents in metropolitan cities like Hong Kong are more prone to these damaging effects on hair growth than people who live in rural areas. So, it is useful for us to know how these environmental factors affect our hair growth and what we can do to minimize their effect on us.
Cell Phone Radiation
Most of us know that cell phone radiation is bad for our health. Well, studies have shown that overexposure to cell phone radiation can cause breakage of single-strand DNA in human hair roots cells. The longer the hair strands are exposed to the radiation, the more damage is done.
Fortunately, as shown in other studies, this damage may be temporary and can be reversed by reducing cell phone conversation time, using hands-free option instead of holding the phone to the ear, and following a hair care program for the protection and stimulation of hair growth.
Pollution and poor air quality can affect hair growth in many ways. The main effect that air pollutants have on hair, as a study done in Korea has shown, is that it decreases the level of four proteins in the human scalp cells that are responsible for hair growth and retention. The effect tends to be worse in metropolitan cities compared to rural areas.
Dust and dirt buildup on the scalp can also clog up hair follicles triggering inflammation and scalp infection, blocking hair from growing out healthily. You may notice inflammation in the form of an itchy scalp, dandruff, oily scalp or even pain near the hair root.
You can prevent the effects that air pollutants have on your hair growth by regularly washing your hair, making sure to shampoo the scalp, to rinse away any dust or particulate matters that have accumulated on your scalp and hair. The most effective and thorough way to clean your scalp is with a Jet Peel exfoliating treatment done at the salon. The cool O2 infused water jet will blast away dirt, dead skin cells, excessive oil sebum, sweat and other particles that have been building up on your scalp and clogging up your follicles, giving your scalp a deep cleanse, allowing for thick and healthy hair to grow.
Applying coconut oil or hair serums can also protect and prevent entry of pollutants into the hair shaft. Products with antioxidant properties can also help to reverse the oxidative stress and neutralize hair damaging toxins.
While spending time tanning in the summer can give you gorgeous sun-kissed highlights, overexposure to UV light, excessive heat and harsh weather conditions can take its toll on your hair strands. UV rays can form free radicals in the hair fibres, changing the hair’s physical properties and chemical composition. The bleaching is a sign of the damage caused by free radicals due to melanin oxidation and induces lipids peroxidation, keratin impairment, protein degradation and tryptophan degradation. This causes hair to be dry, fragile, dull and more prone to hair fall and breakage.
So, the next time you are exposed to strong sunlight for long periods of time, make sure to protect it with heat protectant products or simply cover it with a hat.