Hair and Scalp
I love my hair. I hate my hair. I'm having a bad hair day. Sound familiar? Like it or not, almost all of us have hair, and from time to time we may either love it or hate it. Our hair is one of the most noticeable parts of our overall appearance. We can color it, style it, shave it all off or cover it with a hat.
Hair -- What and Why?
In addition to providing an opportunity for self-expression, hair really does have a purpose. You probably know that hair is a specialized type of skin. The hair on your head helps to keep you warm and to protect your scalp. Hair on other parts of your body helps filter out debris (think nose) and protect from sun and wind (think eyelashes).
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Hair Care and Grooming
Your hair can be a reflection of your overall grooming. The same oils that appear on your skin accumulate on your scalp and in your hair. If your body produces lots of oil, it can give your hair a greasy or stringy appearance, so you may need to shampoo your hair every day. But if your body does not produce lots of oil, and especially if your hair is fine and thin, shampooing less often is probably better for your hair and scalp.
Some hair care products contain chemicals that can cause allergies or other reactions. This is especially true for products that change the hair, like perms, relaxers and dyes. These products can contain lye, acid, coal tar, and other ingredients that can sting, burn, discolor, cause hair loss and blister your scalp. If you use these products, you should be careful to follow all the precautions on the label, and test for sensitivity before using them. Sensitivity can build up with repeated use, so it's a good idea to test each time you use a product.
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Hair and Scalp Problems
As with any other part of the body, hair (actually, the skin where hair grows) can have problems occasionally. A healthy diet and good grooming can go a long way toward preventing common hair and scalp problems. Common problems you might experience include:
- Dandruff. If you see white flakes on your shoulders, you could have dandruff. It is usually easily treated at home.
- Lice are tiny insects. They can be passed from person to person by sharing combs, brushes and hats. Lice must be treated with special shampoo.
- Hair loss can be caused by many things. One condition is called alopecia. You may know someone who has this condition. Alopecia is not contagious.
- Ringworm is a fungal infection and it is contagious. It is spread by sharing combs, brushes, hats and clothing. It is treated with antifungal pills and shampoos.
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Below are links PAMF accessed when researching this topic. PAMF does not sponsor or endorse any of these sites, nor does PAMF guarantee the accuracy of the information contained on them.
Heading Off Hair-Care Disasters: Use Caution With Relaxers and Dyes. U.S. Food and Drug Administration.