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Important hair care tips

Published:Wednesday | April 29, 2015 | 12:00 AMArusha Campbell-Chambers

Whether you choose to wear your hair natural, chemically treated or with extensions, it's important to remember the following haircare tips:

1 Gently comb and brush hair to style it. Use a wide-tooth comb and gently release tangled hairs, using a detangling hair product if necessary.

2 Avoid tight braids, tight cornrows, tight locks and tight ponytails. Braids should not be worn for longer than six to eight weeks at a time.

3 If wearing weaves, choose those that are light and not tightly applied. They should ideally not be left in for longer than two to three months at a time.

4 Choose shampoos and conditioners suitable to your hair type.

5 Individuals with naturally straight hair, oily scalps, or short hairstyles may wash their hair as often as daily. Individuals with dry hair or chemically treated hair may wash hair less often, e.g. once a week, but not less often than every two weeks.

6 Shampoos should be applied directly to the scalp, followed by gentle massaging into the scalp. When rinsing, let the shampoo flow through the hair and avoid rubbing it into the hair.

7 Always follow shampooing with a conditioner, unless one is using a two-in-one shampoo. Some conditioners should be rinsed out, while others may be leave-in conditioners.

8 Before swimming, you can wet hair and apply a conditioner to protect it. After swimming, hair should be rinsed then washed, ideally with swimmer's shampoo and then a deep conditioner.

9 Hair may be wrapped in a towel after washing. Avoid excessive rubbing of hair with towel.

10 It's best to air-dry hair. However, if using a drier, the hooded drier is less traumatic to hair than direct blow-drying. Use the lowest heat setting when using dryers, curling irons, flat irons or hot combs. Try not to use these more often than once a week. Heat-protecting hair products can also help. Avoid products with a long-lasting hold.

11 When choosing hair moisturisers, look for those containing dimethicone or silicone. Products with ingredients like petrolatum, lanolin, mineral oil should be avoided or used minimally. Daily use of these oily products directly on the scalp without frequent washing may cause or worsen various scalp conditions and acne on the forehead and temples.

12 A satin pillowcase or hair cover can reduce hair breakage when sleeping.

13 Chemical relaxers, hair dyes and permanent waves may damage hair if applied too frequently or incorrectly. They should only be applied to new growth at six- to eight-week intervals. Individuals with chemical hair damage should avoid these chemicals or limit their use to eight to 12 weeks apart.

14 Maintain a healthy diet with adequate intake of protein, iron and vitamins to promote healthy hair growth. Biotin supplements may help hair growth.

15 Consult your dermatologist if you are experiencing hair loss or other scalp and hair problems that bother you. A dermatologist is a medical doctor who specialises in the treatment of skin, hair and nail disorders.

Dr Arusha Campbell-Chambers is a dermatologist and founder of Dermatology Solutions Skin Clinics & Medi-Spas; email: yourhealth@gleanerjm.com