The effects of haze on hair may not manifest immediately, but they can be damaging. The current onslaught of haze has many of us running for cover. But when we are forced to venture outdoors, we often neglect to take the necessary precautions to protect our hair.
Haze carries dust, smoke, soot and gases with microscopic particle sizes as small as PM2.5. Besides affecting health and skin, they can get lodged on your scalp or on openings on the hair shaft.
Haze effect on the scalp
On the scalp, they can cause scalp irritation, they can clog hair follicles, thereby disrupting normal functions, leading to hair breakage and loss. Effects may even cause premature baldness. The ultra small particles can clog up hair pores and affect the health of your hair roots. With exposure to the pollutants, the scalp may turn sensitive, causing discomfort. Some may experience dryness on their scalp and even have issues with dandruff. On the other hand, it could trigger excess sebum production on the scalp which clogs pores and block hair follicles. The toxic components in the haze could enter the scalp skin and hamper hair regeneration. If it enters the blood stream, it could further hinder hair growth. The disruption to the hair growth cycle coupled with excessive hair loss could then lead to premature baldness.
Haze effect on the hair
Long term exposure to haze could lead to dull, frizzy, brittle hair prone to breakage.
The harmful gases may cause your hair to lose moisture quickly, making the hair frizzy and brittle. The tiny particles could lodge in the small openings on your hair shaft and weaken the structure of your hair. The weaker hair will make it more prone to split ends and even thinner texture. The hair may look duller and limp.
Hair products may make matters worse by attracting and retaining harmful pollutants to your hair.
Stress on hair
In addition to directly affecting the scalp and hair, haze could bring about anxiety and stress. Prolonged depression and stress have negative impact on hair which can then lead to hair fall.
To read our article on the effects of air pollution on our skin and hair, ‘Challenges faced by urbanites and their impact on your skin and hair’, click here.
To read the study by Rajendrasingh Rajput published in OMICS International on how air pollutants can cause hair loss, click here.
Ways to protect your hair against haze
Avoid outdoor activities and try to stay indoors as much as possible. Close all windows and turn on the air purifier.
As mentioned earlier, the haze has a drying effect on your hair. Drink plenty of water, it is beneficial not only for your hair but also for your overall health to combat the effects of haze.
Protect your hair against the haze
Shield your hair and scalp from harmful pollutants. Wear a hat or any protective gear to cover your hair from the elements. These can include a scarf or even simply by pulling your hoodie over your head.
Frequency of hair wash
Consider daily hair wash during heavy haze duration to flush out as much pollutants from your hair and scalp as possible.
Use anti-pollution shampoos
Consider anti-pollution shampoos during heavy hazy days. They are designed to cleanse out pollutants and protect your hair.
Replenish moisture to your hair by using hair masks.
Reduce styling products on your hair
If it cannot be avoided, try to reduce as much as possible, styling products on your hair during hazy days. This to avoid attracting and retaining pollutants to your hair.