Learn ways to keep your hair healthy when you travel
As we near the year-end holiday season, common questions I am often asked is how to keep hair in tip-top shape while travelling. Here are my answers:
Why does my hair fall when I travel?
The act of travel, in itself, shouldn’t really cause increased hair fall. If someone notices increased hair loss when travelling, it could well be from an event that took place three months earlier – for example, an illness, significant weight loss, or even severe stress. This is a condition known as telogen* effluvium, where there is a temporary shift of the percentage of hairs in the terminal phase of its life cycle.
An increase in telogen hairs (which have a lifespan of 100 days) will result in more apparent hair fall, but in most cases, this is only temporary.
Can the sun damage my hair?
Excessive sun exposure can damage your hair, just as it can affect your skin. Ultra violet (UV) light exposure can change the hair’s chemical bonds, which increases the risk of hair breaking and being damaged. It can also cause the hair to lose some of its lustre and shine, so remember to protect your hair from excessive sun exposure. Wear a hat, if necessary.
Can the local water affect my hair?
Certain locations have hard water, which contains more calcium and magnesium ions. Hard water makes it more difficult to create a good lather when you shampoo and rinse your hair. Calcium carbonate can react with soap to create deposits that can result in drier hair. Some hotel soaps and shampoos may not be of the best quality or what you are used to using. It is a good idea to use a conditioner after shampooing, so that the hair will not become excessively dry. If necessary, bring your own shampoo and conditioner from home!
What type of shampoo/ conditioner is best for my hair?
The natural pH level of human hair and facial skin is slightly acidic – 5.5. This natural acidity actually helps to prevent bacterial and fungal infections of our scalp. Using a soap or shampoo that is too alkaline can result in excessively dry hair. Try to select shampoos with a pH balance of 5.5 for regular use.
*Resting phase of a hair follicle.
Dr Tan Hiok Hee
Thomson Specialist Skin Centre