Everyone wants shiny, lustrous hair, but without sufficient moisture, the outer layer of the hair breaks down, leaving it frizzy and dull. Dry hair is also more likely to break or split than healthy hair. Dry hair can have several causes, from thyroid deficiencies to washing your hair too often. While it is important to consult a health professional to rule out any medical issues that might trigger extended or extreme bouts of dry hair, in most cases, dry hair can be revitalized using home remedies.
Products containing hyaluronic acid are well known for their ability to reinvigorate dry or dull skin, reduce the appearance of fine lines, and even aid in healing wounds and other skin damage. Your skin isn’t the only thing that can be reinvigorated with an application of hyaluronic acid, however. It’s also a fantastic way to help heal dry, damaged hair. Let’s explore what hyaluronic acid is, how it helps your hair regain vitality, and how to best apply it to your stressed tresses.
How Hyaluronic Acid Helps Hair
Hyaluronic acid is a humectant rather than a traditional moisturizer. This means that instead of adding moisture to the hair, hyaluronic acid seals in the moisture already present in the hair and scalp. It also draws the healing moisture to the surface of the hair so damage to the outer layer can be repaired. When applied to the scalp, it improves the health of the scalp’s skin and the hair’s growing cuticle. Using hair products formulated with hyaluronic acid can improve the health of your hair in a number of ways. It may be able to:
- Hydrate the scalp
- Improve sheen and strength
- Reduce frizziness
- Restore damaged hair
- Revitalize dehydrated hair
In some cases, it may even reduce or delay the chances of experiencing androgenetic alopecia, also known as male and female baldness pattern hair loss. While it is unlikely to turn back the clock on areas that have already stopped producing hair, it may stimulate hair growth for longer than would naturally have occurred without the treatment. Unfortunately, studies showing the substance’s effect on male and female pattern baldness have been rare and limited in scope.
Where Hyaluronic Acid Comes From
Hyaluronic acid isn’t a harsh chemical, and it isn’t anything your body has to assimilate. It is an element naturally in the human body, with the highest concentrations located in the eyes, joints, and skin. It is also naturally occurring in foods like citrus fruits, soy milk, tofu, and potatoes. Production of hyaluronic acid, both as a medical treatment for arthritis and in cosmetics, was once primarily harvested from the combs of roosters. Recent production methods have been shifting toward either microbial or synthetic means, with a particular emphasis on fermentation.
Other Hair-Healthy Acids
While using acid to strengthen your hair might seem counterintuitive, several types of acids can improve your hair’s health. Here are a few of the most well-known and effective natural acids.
Glycolic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) found naturally in sugarcane. It is particularly effective at exfoliating dead skin cells and lifting excess oils from the scalp. This enhances the overall health of the scalp and hair and is especially beneficial for individuals with oily or flaky scalps.
Lactic acid, another AHA, is derived from milk. This acid breaks down the bonds that hold dead skin together, making it an excellent solution for those with dandruff. It also protects the hair shaft from damage and stimulates circulation in the scalp, leading to healthier, shinier hair.
Naturally found in eggs, meats, legumes, and nuts, this amino acid is essential for healthy hair growth. Lysine is ingested rather than applied to the hair, either by eating foods high in lysine or by taking supplements. It’s a component of the root of the hair and provides shape and volume. A deficiency in lysine can lead to hair loss. Getting enough lysine in your diet, either through food or supplementation, may help to prevent thinning hair and bald patches.
Often found in serums and toners, salicylic acid can help improve your hair’s health by managing dry scalp skin and minimizing dandruff. It is most often derived from the willow bark tree, a plant with known anti-inflammatory effects. It is important to note that this product should be used as directed. Excessive salicylic acid applications can lead to a red, inflamed scalp instead.
How to Use Hyaluronic Acid
While many people online use hyaluronic acid skincare products on their hair, a product specifically designed for hair is a better option. There are several hyaluronic acid hair products on the market, many with helpful additional ingredients, including collagen, keratin, and nourishing oils, such as jojoba or argan.
Shampooing your hair before applying the hyaluronic acid serum or conditioner will help it to penetrate the scalp. This will improve its ability to penetrate the scalp, leading to hair with stronger, healthier cuticles. Using a leave-in conditioner or serum is more effective at protecting the hair than one that is quickly rinsed off. Most people will get the best results if they use it on both the ends of the hair and the scalp. This allows the acid to penetrate the scalp so it can more effectively improve the health of the cuticle as the hair grows.
As a hair treatment, hyaluronic acid helps keep your tresses healthy, strong, and shiny. It naturally improves both hair and scalp health. It isn’t a harsh chemical, so it can be utilized regularly without damaging your hair or fabrics. Some even credit the substance with slowing the progression of pattern baldness.
It’s important to note that while a reaction to hyaluronic acid itself is exceedingly rare, some people may be sensitive to other components of the treatment. It’s always wise to consult a medical professional or perform a patch test with new products to avoid negative reactions.
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