As a man you’ll probably find that your hair is one of the most visible parts of you appearance. Healthy, luscious locks are the stuff of the dreams; check out any romance fantasy, the hero is almost always depicted with long hair and a bare chest. It’s no surprise then that a head full of healthy hair can be a real confidence booster. Having healthy hair is easier said than done though, not everything goes smoothly all the time when it comes to your locks, and there are some common hair problems that men will experience. Almost everyone will experience some kind of hair issue at some point in their life. Whether it be early on struggles with texture or oiliness, or problems with greying or thinning hair in later life there will likely be a time when you’re faced with unruly or uncooperative hair, but not to worry, we’ve pulled together this helpful guide to the most common hair issues men face and how to handle them.
This might surprise you to know, but your scalp and hair can actually get sun-damaged. Changes in climate and weather patterns, your diet and your body’s metabolism can have an impact on the health of your hair. Vitamin D and time spent in the sun are important to your body’s health and you mental well-being. The sun is an excellent source of relaxation and stress relief but too much sun can do some serious damage to your hair and scalp, which can burn just like your skin if left unprotected.
You’ll probably notice that your scalp gets red and flaky after a long day in the sun because it can get sunburnt and your hair will probably lighten up after a long summer. Too much time in the sun can leave hair feeling dry and straw-like.
How to protect your hair from sun damage
You may believe that just because sunshine is natural, that its lightening effect on your hair isn’t doing any serious damage, but that’s not the case at all. Sun bleaching can have just as much of a detrimental effect on your hair as chemical bleaching. As you’ll probably learn if you ever get your hair bleached in the salon, the bleach actually does more than just change the colour of your hair. Leach actually changes the protein structure of your hair, penetrating inside the hair shaft and ultimately weakening the structure of your hair and reducing the elasticity of your hair. The sun does the same thing to your hair, making it more prone to damage and breakage.
If you combine the suns bleaching effects with the common climate conditions of summer, like wind and heat or salt water and chlorine, the impact can be disastrous for your hair. So how do you protect your hair and scalp and keep them healthy and hydrated through the summer months? Here are a few tips to follow.
To help prevent sun damage to your hair you should make sure to apply a conditioning hair mask that contains SPF ahead of any sun exposure. Apply this to the roots and full lengths of your hair. It’s also a good idea to wear a hat if you can to help prevent your scalp. You should wear protective hair mask products when swimming too. This will help to protect your hair from discolouration and dryness which are common problems that can arise from chlorine and salt water.
Keep hair hydrated
The sun can be hard on your hair and it’s particularly important to protect the hydration and elasticity of your locks during the summer months. The best way to do this is by using a conditioning treatment more regularly as a part of your weekly hair washing routine. Add an intensive treatment before or after your shampoo a few times a week. You should work this treatment into your hair with your fingertips and allow it to sit for 10 minutes in your hair, before washing it out. For extra hydration, try using a leave-in conditioner.
Split-ends can be a problem when hair is getting a lot of sun exposure. The sun, salt water, wind and chlorine can also dry out and damage your hair, making it prone to split-ends. Brushing your hair too often or too aggressively when it’s vulnerable to splitting and damage can cause split-ends. You should always ensure that your hair is brushed gently with a good quality brush and comb.
Shampoo and condition regularly
Hot weather will increase your sweat production which in turn can cause pores to clog, which can affect hair growth or prevent nutrients from reaching your hair. Your scalp may also respond to dryness by overproduce natural oils, which can make your hair greasy, so it’s important to try and balance out and protect your hair with shampoo and conditioner. During the summer months it may be necessary to wash your hair more regularly than normal to keep it in check. You might want to up your conditioning routine to everyday, whilst you may shampoo every second day or so to keep hair feeling healthy and fresh.
What you put into your body can have a big impact on your hair. You’ll notice that your skin suffers and dries out when you’re dehydrated; your scalp is the same. You need to replenish your liquids and keep hydrated in order to keep your scalp and hair feeling good.
Dandruff can be a major mood killer. There’s nothing worse than when you’re out for a date, in the middle of client meeting or otherwise enjoying your day, only to find that your shirt is covered in white flakes, or that your head in unbearably itchy. Dandruff is not a good look. No one wants to be coated in a fine powder of scalp flakes, but unfortunately a lot of people will experience dandruff at some point in their lives, especially if your scalp is naturally dry. Dandruff can be caused by a variety of factors, and can be a persistent issue but luckily there are treatments out there to help combat the issue.
The easiest way to tackle dandruff is to invest in one of the anti-dandruff shampoo and conditioner duo’s out there on the market. A lot of these products are very effective at tackling the issue, although you should be careful not to overuse it and instead you should try to alternate these products with a conditioning shampoo and conditioner to protect your scalp and hair and get the best results. If the off-the-shelf products aren’t doing the job then you might need to speak to your doctor, as there are stronger prescription products or over-the-counter solutions that they can recommend.
Some men are born with naturally thick, strong and healthy locks. Other men are not so lucky and have naturally fine, wispy hair that can be very difficult to style. Thin hair is the same as balding. Some men with thin, lifeless hair may never experience balding, but will get stuck dealing with the challenge that non-voluminous hair presents. Certain genetic factors can determine whether you have thick or thin hair, redheads for example typically have fewer follicles of hair per cm than other shades of hair. Luckily there are a few solutions to help you manage thin hair.
There are some hair products that men can buy that will help with styling thin, wispy hair. Thickening or volumising shampoo and conditioner will swell the hair follicle to make it appear thicker which can create more volume in the hair. Certain products like mattifiers, sea salt sprays, hair sprays and gels can give your hair more hold, stiffness and extra body. Pomades and mousse can help you to shape your hair or style it, stopping it from hanging limp or looking thin.
The way you choose to cut or style your hair can have a big impact on how thick your hair looks. Thin, straight hair can look great in classic styles, or slicked back. You can try fun things with your part, or ask your hairdresser to add a quiff for extra height and the appearance of volume in your hair. To get more shape out of your cut, try an undercut, or graduate your hair with shorter sides and longer hair on top.
Watch what you eat
If you have thin or thinning hair then you might need to pay attention to what you’re putting in your body. Eating the right foods can have a big impact on the thickness of your hair and the speed of growth. Your protein intake and supplements like Omega 3, iron and vitamin C can have positively affect the health of your hair.
Male Pattern Baldness
A lot of men will experience male pattern baldness, so if you’re fighting this battle then you’re not alone. It’s an unfortunately pitfall of being male. Unfortunately genetics have a lot to do with whether or not you go bald, and if it’s in your cards then there might not be a lot you can do from preventing the reality that you may eventually be bald but there is a lot you can do to prevent early hair loss and prolong your time with your hair. If you’re noticing hair loss then it might be time to visit a dermatologist or speak to your doctor, they’ll be able to help you out with a regimen and some prescription drugs.
Hair loss treatments
There are a number of products designed to help combat hair loss. One of the less drastic approaches is keratin treatments. If more natural approaches, prescription drugs or other regimens aren’t working you might eventually want to consider a hair transplant. This can be an invasive and expensive procedure, but is a highly effective way or replacing what you’ve lost.
Grey hair is something that we all inevitably deal with. Some men prefer to embrace the George Clooney look, choosing to opt for the ‘distinguished’ look but not everyone likes to rock the silver fox look. Grey hair can be hard to cover or blend, you’ll find that hair dye doesn’t hold the way it used to but a good colourist should be able to help you achieve a natural colour at home. It’s not advisable to do it yourself at home, as you’ll end up with an all-over colour that looks like an obvious dye job.
Ah the dreaded hat hair! The seemingly obvious answer to avoiding this problem to just avoid wearing hats, but it’s really not that simple. Hats are sometimes a mandatory part of the uniform, for those who work outdoors, and they’re important for protecting the scalp on hot days. If you want to avoid hat head then make sure you find a hat that’s the right fit, and don’t put your hat on when your hair is damp. If you find yourself with hat head you should try wetting your hair and running your hands through the lengths to remove the indentation of your hat.
Dermatitis and psoriasis
Dermatitis and psoriasis are similar to dandruff, but much more severe and more difficult to treat. It can cause serious itching and discomfort. If you’re struggling with dermatitis, visit your doctor who might be able to prescribe a steroid cream to treat it. The sun can help with reduce psoriasis for some people, so take off your hat for a while. Hot showers however can exacerbate the effects, as can hair products, so avoid using anything unnecessary in your hair.