Men’s health articles often talk about supplements to increase virility or even weight loss exercises. But what about healthy hair? Is healthy hair the last thing on your mind this summer? It’s easier than you think to get strong, thick hair. Check out these six tips for improving hair follicle health, growing stronger hair, and achieving more volume.
How can physical activity help increase hair health? Believe it or not, working out will help you get your beach body, but can also help your hair strengthen and thicken. Exercise, especially cardio and low-impact aerobic exercise, improves blood supply to the head and increases circulation, giving hair follicles a good supply of oxygen and nutrients, and distributes sebum, a naturally occurring oil, across the scalp for more volume.
Numerous studies point to a direct link between exercise and healthy hair; conversely, lack of exercise leads to brittle or slow-growing hair. For guys who worry about thinning hair, physical activity can reduce dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone that stops the growth of new hair cells. Stress from your job can pump excessive amounts of cortisol, a stress hormone, into your body, affecting hair growth and strength; exercise reduces this hormone and increases serotonin, the hormone that helps you catch your ZZZs, allowing hair follicles to repair while you sleep.
There are dozens of over-the-counter, prescription and holistic supplements guys can take for healthy hair. Flaxseed oil represents one example; 250mg will help moisturize your hair. B vitamins also play an important role in maintaining healthy hair. Look for a daily multi-vitamin that includes all B vitamins, or search for a B-12 supplement.
The FDA has approved over-the-counter minoxidil in 2% and 5% formulas to help men experiencing balding increase circulation in the scalp. Ketoconazole shampoo, also available without a prescription, can improve thickness. Prescription finasteride, mainly indicated for male pattern baldness, reduces DHT levels in the blood (86% reported the drug stopped progression of hair loss).
Focus on Protein
Hair is made from keratin, a type of protein, so it makes sense that protein plays an important part in keeping your hair healthy. Eggs are good for more than Saturday morning omelets – an egg wash in your hair, using the yolk and a half cup of hot water, can leave your hair soft and manageable; and don’t forget clean – egg yolks contain lecithin, a natural cleanser. Protein can make your hair strong from the inside, too. Add lean cuts of red meat, beans, whole grains and low-fat cheese to your diet to strengthen hair follicles.
Nutrients in our diets make up the foundation for healthy hair, skin, and nails. If you’re healthy inside, you’ll look healthy outside. Some crucial vitamins and minerals for strong, healthy hair include iron, zinc, and vitamin C. Like any other healthy-living diet, you should limit fats and sugars and focus on super foods that have high levels of these types of minerals. For instance, salmon has omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin b-12 and iron. Dark green vegetables and beans contain zinc and vitamin C.
Protect From the Elements
Let’s face it – when you’re enjoying summer, you’ll most likely remember to lather on sunscreen, but will probably forget to protect your hair. Summer activities are as hard on your hair as on your skin. UV rays from the sun can damage healthy hair, so wear a hat when you’re out for long periods of time.
Rinse your hair with fresh water after a swim to remove chlorine or salt water. Water stretches and weakens keratin molecules, which become more fragile when wet. To combat this kind of damage, use warm (not hot) water and massage the scalp instead of scrubbing. Blot hair with a towel instead of using a hair dryer.
Go Easy on the Product
Alcohol in hair styling products weakens keratin and removes moisture and oils. When you’re getting ready for a summer night on the town, use gels and hairspray sparingly and choose alcohol-free products. Pomades and waxes leave excess oil residues, which take longer to wash out and can damage hair. Remember, a little goes a long way!
Have any hair care questions? Comment or ask away below.
About the Author: Philip James is happy to be part of one of the best beauty salons in Chicago. He’s passionate about all things hair-related.