51ºF

Secrets to healthier hair

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Colder weather can be harsh, especially on your hair.  Cleveland Clinic Dermatologist Dr. Wilma Bergfeld says shiny, healthy hair is within reach regardless of the season - it just takes a little tender loving care.

"You should treat your hair like a cashmere sweater. You're not gonna beat it up. You're not gonna scorch it with an iron. You're not gonna overheat it in the dryer, you're not going to use caustic chemicals on it. You should be remembering it is a fiber," she  said.

Bergfeld says hair types differ and while it's important to show your hair t-l-c, you need to be extra careful if your hair is fragile.

When it comes to washing your hair, how frequently you wash should depend on how much oil your scalp produces - oily hair may need to be washed daily to keep the scalp clean, while chemically treated hair can be washed less frequently.

After washing, applying a conditioner that's specific to your hair type will help splint the hair fiber and make it stronger. In the winter, conditioner will also help decrease static electricity.

And when it comes to brushing, Bergfeld says easy does it, especially when it's wet.

"You should be using wide-toothed, smooth-coated prongs almost, like a comb on a brush to comb through your hair when it's damp, not wet, because when it's wet it's more fragile," she said.

Diet also plays a role in hair health. If your diet restricts certain food groups, it may affect your hair. But in certain cases, supplements may help.

"Adding back iron in particular and vitamin D in particular, C and sometimes vitamin A is very important and we use an H vitamin which is called biotin frequently because it seems to help hair and nails," Bergfeld explained.

During the dry, winter months, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends spacing out chemical services like color, a perm or straightening 8 to 10 weeks or longer to help prevent hair damage.