Physical Fitness and Well-Being and Care Hair Part 2

About physical fitness, medical information, trivia, anatomy, well-being and care of hair.

TAKING A PHYSICAL--HEAD TO TOE

HAIR

Gray hair is caused by the absence of pigment. No one knows exactly why a hair follicle stops producing pigment.

Besides having aesthetic value, at least for most people, hair serves various protective functions. It holds in body heat in cold weather. It insulates the skull from the heat of the sun. Eyebrows prevent sweat from dripping off your brow into your eyes.

Small hairs in your nostrils and ears filter out foreign materials such as dust, pollen, and small insects. Your eyelashes serve a similar function.

Most hair specialists agree that hair should be kept clean. But not too clean. Oily hair should be washed every two to three days, dry hair every five to six.

When hair is wet, it is fragile. Comb it gently in this state or you'll cause it to split.

Hair which is brushed too frequently tends to develop split ends.

Scalp massage stimulates blood flow to the hair follicles and therefore encourages the growth of new hair. Don't rub back and forth across your hairs. Rather, touch your fingertips to your scalp and gently move them in small circles, moving your scalp in relation to your skull, rather than your hairs in relation to your scalp.

Dandruff seems to plague us all. No one knows exactly what causes it or how to cure it. But common dandruff is kept under control by regular shampooing. Medicated shampoos can help control stubborn dandruff problems.

There is some indication that a shampoo that is too harsh can aggravate, rather than control, dandruff. (See "Skin" section on matching pH of soap.)

Baldness has a variety of causes: burns or other scars that kill hair follicles; skin diseases such as psoriasis, allergy reactions, and dermatitis; anemia or high fever; and chemical pollution, such as mercury poisoning. Emotional stress can also cause balding.

In cases of disease or emotional stress, hair will usually grow back after the condition has passed. But most balding in men is a hormonal phenomenon.

Medical scientists generally feel there is no cure for what they call male-pattern baldness. But they have recently had some success in transplanting hair follicles from one part of the scalp to another in order to produce a more equitable distribution pattern.

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