EXCLUSIVE: Here's how to lay the foundation for healthy hair according to Shahnaz Husain
If you want your child to have healthy hair, you have to take some common factors into consideration. These are physical fitness, nutrition, exercise, sleep, as well as some amount of external hair care. The external treatments should mainly be in the form of protective care.
Indeed, healthy hair is the outcome of good internal health and regular external care. Nutritional deficiency is one of the most common causes of hair loss. The diet is of great importance to skin and hair. During the growing years, proteins are of more importance. Proteins are made up of amino acids, which are essential. There are 20 amino acids and all of them are needed by the body. Some of these occur only in proteins that are derived from animal sources. So, vegetarians can get these from milk and milk products. Apart from fish, meat, chicken, liver and eggs, proteins are available from paneer, curds, milk, lentils (dals), beans, peas, nuts, seeds and sprouts. That is why it is so necessary to have a balanced diet, with a variety of foods.
Good internal health reflects externally, on the skin and hair. A diet for healthy hair should be high in vitamin-rich foods. Vegetables should be lightly cooked. Fresh fruits, raw salads, sprouted grains and yoghurt should be included in the daily diet. Eating such raw and natural foods ensures an adequate supply of nutrients. Ensure that your family has whole-grain cereals and discourage foods containing refined cereals. Children can have freshly extracted fruit and vegetable juices, lassi and soups. After meals, encourage them to have fresh fruits.
Hygiene and cleanliness extend to the hair too. Regular shampoos are a must. The hair collects more dirt and grime than the skin and these tend to cling to the hair. There is no harm in washing the hair frequently, provided mild shampoos are used. The child should use less shampoo but wash thoroughly with water. This helps to get all the dirt, oil and flakes out of the hair, so that soapy residue, along with oil and scales do not collect on the scalp. The residues can block the pores and lead to dandruff.
Treat your child’s hair gently. It is much better to use a wide-toothed comb, rather than a brush. Make sure that the teeth of the comb have rounded edges. Avoid the use of hair dryers for children. Children, especially those who are nearing teenage, can be prone to dandruff. In fact, neglect of dandruff makes the condition severe and can even lead to rashes and spots on the skin. If the condition is severe and there is itching, you should consult a dermatologist and ensure if the condition is actually dandruff. The scalp should be kept clean and healthy. In cases of severe dandruff, the hair should be washed three or four times a week, using a mild herbal shampoo. Add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a mug of water and use as a last rinse, after shampoo.
We should also take care to see that our children do not have any feelings of emotional neglect or insecurity. Sometimes, with the birth of a second child, we may unknowingly neglect the first child. This can create a sense of insecurity in the child. Excessive pressure of studies and educational performance can also cause stress in children. Such stresses and complexes can extend into adolescence and even beyond.
Beauty cannot be achieved in a day. It is the result of regular care and a healthy lifestyle. The importance of good health should never be undermined. That is the true foundation of beauty.