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The hair of your dreams Come rain or sunshine, hair issues continue to be a constant concern for us wome n.

So much so that even though it's a cosmetic problem, recent research shows it has caused loss of self-esteem in many. Here we deal with three top hair woes, and bring you ways to keep your mane healthy and shining. By IndiaTodayPrevention | Prevention Email Thu 28 Jun, 2012 7:03 PM IST

Print Dandruff CAUSE: Going by recent studies, at least 50% of all adults suffer from a dandruf f problem globally. Research conducted at the Clear Paris Institute recently rev eals at least 70% of Indians have faced dandruff issues in the past year. While most treat it as a surface problem, dandruff is almost entirely a scalp issue, c aused by scalp fungus which occurs following excessive shedding of dead skin cel ls from the scalp owing to its oily or dry nature. "Excess production of sebum, the natural oil secreted from glands in the skin, fuels the growth of the dandru ff-causing fungus. That explains why dandruff is most frequent during the onset of puberty when there is extensive hormonal changes and why people with an oily scalp tend to suffer more," says Amit Jayaswal, platform director, scalp, Clear research and development. "This apart, disturbance in the body's natural metabol ic process is also known to be a major cause for dandruff, usually triggered by a sudden change in climatic conditions, an imbalanced diet leading to dryness of scalp, emotional stress and infrequent shampooing," explains trichologist Dr Ak shay Batra. FIX IT:Coupling the use of a good anti-dandruff shampoo with a healthy diet high on proteins and regular exercise is crucial if you want to keep dandruff at bay says Dr Lawrence Parish, president, International Academy of Cosmetic Dermatolo gy. Parish particularly cautions women with a dandruff problem against diets hig h on salt, sugar and spices. Since scalp care is of utmost importance, it is als o critical you choose your anti-dandruff shampoo with care and know what to look for in them. Mumbai-based dermatologist Dr Pravin Banodkar suggests checking fo r effective ingredients like coal tar (medically proven to treat dandruff and wo rks best when massaged into the hair and left for three to five minutes), a comb ination of salicylic acid and sulphur (achieves a two-way action of clearing fla kes and preventing fungal infection), ketoconazole (known to be effective in tre ating severe dandruff) and zinc pyrithione (an anti bacterial and anti-fungal ag ent found in OTC shampoos, its gentle properties make it suitable for daily use) among others. For best results, it's important to stick to your anti-dandruff s hampoo for a period of three months, says Banodkar. However, if nothing helps, s ee a dermatologist to check if it's seborrhoeic dermatitis or psoriasis. TRY:The Clear range of shampoos for both men and women that comes powered with t he breakthrough Nutrium 10 (see box) comprising dual-active anti-dandruff ingred ients zinc pyrithione and climbazole that help prevent dandruff and reduce itchi ness with longer results; Head & Shoulders Anti-Dandruff Shampoo with the proven HydraZinc formula, to immediately soothe the scalp for all-day itch relief. Dry and Damaged Hair CAUSE:Keratin, a group of proteins is known to form the primary component of hai r fibre. And certain bonds within the keratin molecules that are difficult to br eak are a key factor behind the durability and resistance of hair fibre. "Howeve r, in today's times, we expose hair to constant chemical abuse (colouring and st raightening), these bonds are constantly challenged, causing greater hair damage ," says Mumbai-based dermatologist Dr Aparna Santhanam. While frizzy hair can be a hereditary condition for some, it is also often seasonal, and becomes a probl em during the summer and monsoon months. FIX IT:Avoiding over-exposure of hair to chemical products for styling is key to treating dry and damaged hair. "While styling your hair is important, it helps to keep a few things in mind while doing so. Avoid using a blow dryer every day

during the monsoons. Ditto for straightening, perming and colouring treatments a s hair gets sticky during this season, causing hair fall. Besides, ensure you oi l your hair regularly with coconut or olive oil, use a mild shampoo with ammoniu m laureth sulphate and include high-protein foods like eggs, sprouts and soya in your diet," suggests Santhanam. Batra suggests using a soft and smoothing condi tioner on a regular basis for the hair to absorb natural oils. "Shampooing dry h air daily strips further moisture from the hair. Instead, condition regularly. F or best results, allow the conditioner to soak into damaged hair sections for an extended period for extra repair and moisturising benefits. Using a repair seru m after a shampoo and conditioning also aids in nourishing dry hair adequately," Batra suggests. You can also opt for salon treatments like a deep conditioning treatment with an aloe vera mask or go in for a hot oil therapy that helps to no urish dry follicles and stimulate production of sebum on the scalp. Use a rich c onditioning cream rinse to finish off. Use this treatment once a fortnight. TRY:The Sunsilk Damage Repair Haircare System comprising a shampoo, conditioner and an intensive treatment conditioner; Dove Damage Repair Therapy range compris ing a shampoo and conditioner. Infused with a special serum, it helps repair dam age, strengthening each strand, providing moisture, leaving hair feeling healthy and shiny. Hair Fall CAUSE:While complaints about receding hairline are common, there is no one cause for it. "One needs to understand that it is normal to lose up to 75 to 100 hair strands on a daily basis as part of the hair growth cycle. However, if you are losing any more than that, it could be due to genetics, dandruff, seasonal chang e, overuse of styling products, nutritional deficiency, hormonal imbalance, iron deficiency and even prescribed medication in certain cases," says Batra. FIX IT:If hair loss is not excessive, simple everyday care such as following a s hampoo and conditioning ritual is sufficient, apart from watching what you eat. Make sure you're eating plenty of leafy greens, beans, tofu and lean meats, whic h are all great sources of iron as well as biotin and zinc, two nutrients that h ave a role to play in hair growth, suggests Banodkar. Keeping hair guarded from the harsh rays of the sun is also important in keeping your tresses in top condi tion. Make sure you cover your head with a scarf when out in the sun. Carry an u mbrella through the monsoons to keep rain water off-this is known to cause sever e damage to hair strands. Women suffering from heavy hair loss can take an oral Vitamin B7 or Biotin (10 mg) daily for three months, suggests Santhanam. Much li ke your skin, your hair too needs pampering. Opt for hair spas and hot oil massa ges once a month. Pros also suggest scalp massage for those with thinning hair, as massage increases temporary circulation to the scalp, which may pump hair fol licles with nutrients needed for hair growth. TRY: L'Oreal Total Repair 5 Shampoo and Conditioner, Garnier Fructis Fortifying Shamp oo and Conditioner, Pantene Pro-V to prevent hair loss. You can also opt for the new Kerastase Ritual in leading salons across the country which combines caviar pearls and creams to enrich hair depth and retain volume. Mane Innovations ACTIVE FRUIT CONCENTRATE The new Garnier Fortifying range of shampoos and conditioners come powered with an active fruit concentrate that is an innovative combination of fruit acids, Vi tamins B3, B6, fructose and glucose. They nourish the hair from root to tip and work on the inside of the hair strand to strengthen it. NUTRIUM 10 Combining the benefits of pro-vitamins, minerals and sunflower oils, Nutrium 10, the first-ever breakthrough dual gender scalp nourishment formula, helps treat dandruff at the root, nourishes the scalp and repairs the scalp barrier to stren gthen its natural resistance. Nutrium 10 is customised for men as Pro Nutrium 10 and for women as Nutrium 10 in Clear shampoos.