How to protect your hair from pollution

    21-Dec-2019
Dry ends? Dullness? Itchy scalp? Increased exposure to air pollution could be a key reason to these common hair concerns.    It's pretty impossible to avoid pollution in urban indian cities .   Air in  Indian  cities is heavily loaded with dust, matter, lead, smoke, nickel, ammonia, arsenic and hydrocarbon which put adverse effects hair very badly  causing  build-up of dirt on hair and scalp   making  them  look dull ,lifeless , lacklustre, and feel coated and heavy..These molecules have been shown to cause structural damage to the hair shafts, disrupting the outer layer, which may be associated with breakage and brittleness.
Hair loss affects roughly more than 70% of indian  urban  population    due to the microscopic nature of PM 2.5 (very small particulate matter) which   get lodged in the hair  scalp which further  makes hair dirty and can also increase the likelihood of  itchy inflamed scalp      as well as blocked follicles and the formation of pimples. .In terms of your hair, pollution can make    hinder the capability of hair to generate   fiber causing irritation,hair breakerage  and damage.
People in  metropolitian cities get allergic to dust, dirt, and grime due to high pollution level  resulting in breakage and hair loss.  Toxic content present in air also get entered in blood stream and hinder the growth of hair.   But the problem is not restricted out of your home  only, even pollution come from kitchen fire, smoking tobacco, rust  and common dust also add to dryness and itchy scalp .  The good news: There are easy ways to protect your hair  from  external geo aggressors  and undo the damage.
Brush with care: If it seems like all of a sudden there's way more hair stuck in your brush, pollution may be to blame: 
Smoky, polluted air can cause hair quality to deteriorate, making it brittle and  more susceptible to breakage and split ends . Be extra  gentle when styling and always start combing  from the ends of your hair, up.Gentle brushing removes old hair, dead skin cells and other chemical products. Brushing  also increase the blood circulation. Use the nozzle on hair dryers to minimize heat exposure  and keep irons less than   400 degrees for fine hair and 410 for thick hair. Adjust your styling routine: Hair that has been exposed to excessive amounts of air pollution becomes damaged, feeling brittle and making breakage and split ends more likely. Keep this in mind when using heat from a straighter, curling iron or hair dryer. Minimize the amount of heat you use and always use a heat protecting product .If you  have long hair, it’s better to avoid opening them while you are going out as it will expose all hair with pollutants. Additionally, colouring, straightening, smoothening make hair shaft weak, which allow pollutants to enter more into hair to cause damage.Most of us leave home when are hair are still wet from showers due to time constraints and reach work places in time . But please remember that  wet hair attracts dust and grime even more, and the same goes for applying too much cream and oil-based products. If you don't have time to completely dry your hair with a blower,  use paper towels  available  in your  kitchen  which are made with highly absorbent material. After gently towel-drying your hair, pat your hair with paper towels.   This is one way to protect hair as dust and dirt particles easily stick to wet hair. So make sure that before you step out, your hair is dry.
Hydration: Your dull and dry locks need to be hydrated for them to look healthy and shiny after being exposed to all the pollution in cities.     Staying hydrated is highly beneficial  for your hair follicles from within and for your hair shafts to stay healthy.  Ensure that you are driniking minimum 3 litres water daily to keep your hair properly hyderated  and  prevent your scalp from drying out.  Another way to help with dryness is with a hydrating mask. Choose a moisturizing or reparative formula and use at least once a week.  Oil your hair regularly! This is a serious game changer and will definitely help you get rid of  your hair problems. Nothing works like  Champi (head massage )once every two weeks or so.   Champi prepares you from ugly wrath of pollution .You may get it from neighbourhood saloons in the market or get it done from expert  Champi Masters .Apply medicinal oil  directly on your scalp and massage it directly on your scalp gently so as hair is absorbed in the scalp . Head massage  stimulates blood circulation and improves the health of your scalp. Jojoba oil  as  both moisturises and strengthens the hair's natural hydro-lipid layer besides  boosting hydration levels.    Moroccan oil head massage is cheap and effective treatment to get shinny and lustrous hair . Regular oiling of hair  nourishes the scalp, cleanses dirt and dead cells.
Oil your hair regularly with Almond Oil. Almond oil is an effective hair cleanser, keeps hair healthy and facilitates hair growth as it is rich in Vitamin E.  Warm up half a cup of olive oil  and then rub it to your hair. Cover your tresses with a plastic bag  for 45 minutes. Later, shampoo and rinse it completely for gorgeous hair.  Use this remedy twice a week. For Oily   hair, you  can do this once a week or twice a month during summers.      Pollutants also collect on the scalp: The hair also needs frequent washing if one regularly travels long distances for their work. Shampoo, hair rinses, serums and conditioners help to restore the normal balances if they contain ingredients like amla, brahmi, trifala, bhringaraj and henna. They also coat the hair and form a protective cover. Mix one teaspoon each of vinegar and honey with one egg. Massage the mixture lightly into the scalp. Leave on for half and hour and then wash the hair. Rinse well with water. Mix one teaspoon each of vinegar and honey with one egg. Massage the mixture lightly into the scalp. Leave on for half and hour and then wash the hair. Rinse well with water. Heat pure coconut oil and apply on the hair. Then dip a towel in hot water, squeeze out the water and wrap the hot towel around the head, like a turban. Keep it on for 5 minutes. Repeat the hot towel wrap 3 or 4 times. This helps the hair and scalp absorb the oil better. Leave oil on overnight and wash hair the next day.
For oily hair, have a hair rinse after shampoo. A tea water and lemon rinse will add shine to the hair. Boil used tea leaves again in enough water. After boiling, you should have about 4 cups of tea-water. Cool and strain it. Then add the juice of a lemon and use it as a last rinse after shampoo. Amla is also a common ingredient that has been mentioned in Ayurvedic texts for the treatment of many ailments and for beauty care. Research has revealed that amla has a high Vitamin C content that is not destroyed by heat. In beauty care, it is said to control hair problems like hair loss and even greying. It also adds shine to the hair. To make amla hair oil, take a handful of dry amla. Grind coarsely and add it to 100 ml pure coconut oil. Keep it in an airtight glass bottle and keep the bottle in the sun daily for about 15 days.  Then strain the oil and store. The oil can be used to apply on the hair. Weekly Henna treatments will also help. Add 4 teaspoons each of lemon juice and coffee, 2 raw eggs, 2 teaspoons oil and enough yogurt to the henna powder, mixing it into a thick paste. Apply on the hair and wash off after an hour. If you do not wish to use egg, add more curd. The best advice  about protecting  hair  is   Cover your head when in open, tone down on the styling and keep it clean
The author is called Herbal Queen of India