Improving Summer Hair

Professionals know that summer's sun exposure and humid conditions can be difficult on the hair and scalp.

So many of my consumers wear their hair in ponytails in summer. Is that a healthy practice?
When the weather is hot, pulling the hair back into a ponytail certainly offers quick relief from the heat – but it can also wreak long-term damage. Your consumers can reduce mid-shaft breakage and fly-aways by using a silk or cloth ribbon to tie their hair instead of a rubber band. Suggest that they twist their hair and secure it with a clip, or use a headband instead. Tell them to give their hair a ponytail break so it doesn’t break!

If the scalp is red and irritated, how can I tell if it's due to sun exposure or another scalp condition?
Redness due to sun exposure will be most evident where the individual parts her hair. But if someone complains about a tight, dry-feeling scalp, check for dandruff flakes, particularly on the back of the head or behind the ears, areas where the scalp is not likely to get sun exposure. (Over half of the global population is affected by dandruff!) If the scalp is severely red, however, or has thick, crusty patches, it could be an extreme condition such as Seborrheic Dermatitis or Psoriasis. In such cases, refer that person immediately to a dermatologist for appropriate treatment.

What dietary changes or supplements can I suggest to help keep the scalp and skin healthy in the summer?
Think zinc! Between the sun and water your skin can take a beating during the summer. There is growing evidence that zinc has anti-inflammatory properties and aides skin healing. This mineral helps keep hair healthy and shiny, skin strong and supple and prevents nails from peeling. Let your consumers know that the recommended daily allowance for adults is 15 mg. Foods such as avocados, kiwi, lean meat and even caviar are zinc-rich foods. Of course, your consumers should talk with their physician before beginning or changing a diet. Also, look for zinc in anti-dandruff shampoos and sunscreens. Sunscreens containing zinc provide good UVA and UVB protection.

The same UV rays that damage the skin can harm the scalp and hair. How can I help my consumers stay protected?
Wearing a wide-brimmed hat will protect the face from sun damage and prevent further irritation of the scalp. While some shampoos and styling aids have UV protection to protect the hair, they do not protect the scalp skin, which remains vulnerable to sun damage unless covered by a hat or scarf. Stay in the shade whenever possible, and avoid peak sunlight hours, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m, when the sun’s rays are the strongest.

How can one prevent the condition that frequent swimmers know as “green hair”?
Lightly colored or bleached hair takes on a greenish cast from swimming in chlorinated pools because of the dissolved copper in the pool water. Chlorine in the water oxidizes these deposits, turning them green just like an old or heavily corroded penny. If your consumer swims frequently, suggest that she wear a bathing cap or apply a leave-in conditioner. Consumers may also complain that the chlorinated water leaves hair feeling rough, dry and dull; after swimming they should treat their hair to a powerful deep-conditioning treatment for added insurance.

- Dianna Kenneally, senior scientist, P&G Beauty

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