Sorting Hair Fact from Fiction - Leading Trichologist Iain Sallis Set the Record Straight
You wouldn’t believe the number of times a day I’m faced with statements of complete hair myth posed as facts. From ‘I give my hair a cold blast at the end of each shower to keep it healthy’ to ‘when I pluck out one grey hair, two more appear’.
My job as a UK wide trichologist brings me into situations where I’m forever dispelling hair fact as hair fiction. Often I’m up against hairdressers, product sales reps and even large corporations claiming they have a new wonder product that can now fix the impossible.
Some of my favourite ‘facts’ and questions…
Dandruff is not a dry scalp as it is usually oily. So, do not rub in oil to remove, this will just give you oilier flakes. Dandruff is not a ‘curable’ problem but you can manage it very easily with a simple anti-dandruff shampoo used daily (make sure you use the shampoo correctly as in leaving it on your scalp for at least 2 min before washing it off)
Is it true that your hair grows faster when you have it cut?
Absolutely not! Your hair is more akin to a material you wear rather than a tissue of the body such as your skin, it has no nerve ending or blood vessels, (this is why it doesn’t hurt when you have your hair cut!), your hair cannot respond to things that happen to it, so when you cut the ends there is no way of the root knowing it has been cut.
Brushing: Contrary to popular belief, excessive brushing is bad for your hair. Brushing may cause excessive breakage if done too vigorously.
If I stop washing my hair will it wash itself?
Let me ask you this...If you stop washing your face will it wash itself? Same thing!
Cold rinses: It will close the cuticle of the hair quickly, so in theory it would make it a little more shiny, but this will be very temporary as you will step out into a warm room and then usually put a hairdryer on it which will be quite hot!
If I pull out one grey hair will two grow in its place?
No, otherwise there would be millions of bald people tweezering their thinning hair! If only growing hair back was that simple!
If you eat our crusts will your hair go curly?
No I’m afraid that crusts cannot curl you hair, your hair curls due to the shape of your hair (in a cross section) which is largely genetics and the difference in the amount of protein fibres between one part of the cortex (Ortho’cortex) and the other side (Para’cortex), again genetics!
Hair Strength: An average head of hair can support 23tons in weight! A strand of healthy hair is stronger than a copper wire of the same diameter.
Will the swimming pool turn my blonde hair green?
This really depends on what swimming pool you’re in. Indoor pools won’t make your hair green, but outdoor pools may. It’s the copper in the pipes transporting the water to the pools which cause the hair to go green (not as myth would have it, the chlorine itself) so in hot countries, outdoor pools (due to evaporation) have a concentrate of Copper salts in the water which are easily absorbed by porous, damaged hair, hence it then goes green!
Grey Hair: Grey hair is not coarser; it just may be drier, which causes it to appear coarser. In fact, grey hair is usually finer as hair gets finer as we age.
Diet: Eating oily fish that are rich in omega -3, such as salmon and mackerel, can actually help you cure an oily scalp.
Why don’t I have the same hair colour I had as a child?
The cells which produce the colour of your hair (and all pigmentation, called melanocytes) these do not get to full strength until your teens, more melanocytes equal more pigment, more pigment equals different colours being produced.
Frequent Shampooing: Frequent shampooing does not dry out your hair. Shampooing, if done correctly and with the right products, will not harm your hair at all. It is often thought that frequent shampooing ‘dries out the natural oils’. However, oil flow does not control the hair’s dryness: it’s the hairs moisture level that does this.
Product ‘Build-Up’: There is no such thing as ‘build-up’ with hair products. Marketers, selling ‘clarifying’ or ‘build-up removing’ shampoos, would have you believe this myth. Think of your face. You don’t use a build-up remover to remove your make-up; you use a cleanser, or soap and water. Similarly, your regular shampoo will cleanse your hair of so-called build-up.
Shiny Hair: Shiny hair is only a reflection of light from the hair strands. Shiny hair has a smooth cuticle (outer layer). To attain this shine, use a conditioner. All conditioners help to smooth and flatten your hair’s cuticle.
Wayne Rooney hair transplant June 2011