Nigerian women and other women of color have naturally dry hair and scalp. This problem is exaggerated in the winter months when the air is cold and dry. You may also notice that your skin is dryer than normal when the weather is cold, and it may appear “ashy” or even cracked. The reason this happens is because the air robs your skin of all moisture, and your hair and scalp also suffers. The condition is known as Hair and Scalp Dehydration, or HSD. This is a hair and skin condition that plagues women of color when all naturally occurring moisture is eliminated from the hair and the scalp. There are two reasons why this occurs quicker in women of color:
- Environmental and climatic changes
- Hair products that produce adverse effects in the hair (i.e. products that contain alcohol).
If you have an extremely difficult case of HSD, you will probably experience a lot of hair breakage, and intense itching in your scalp. You scalp may also be flaky.
Women of color who live in colder environments are more susceptible to developing HSD than women who live in warmer climates.
How the Cold Brittle Air of Winter Affects HSD
The average winter day for a woman of color goes something like this. You wake up in your warm home or apartment which has dry heat. You then go outside to your car or public transportation. The air outside is considered dry cold. You then sit in the warm bus, train, or car which has dry heat to get to your place of work or school. You will then get out of your mode of transportation to walk inside the building. Just by leaving your home, and going about your daily routine, your hair and scalp has experienced different forms of dry air. This type of scenario can wreak havoc on your hair and scalp, and create multiple hair issues.
How You Can Prevent HSD
Most women add moisture to their bodies in the winter time so their skin will not become too dry. But few women realize that they also need to add moisture to their hair and scalp during the winter time. Shampoos that are targeted for moisture or those that are geared towards dandruff issues may actually aggravate your situation, and make your HSD worse.
Things That You Can Do To Decrease Your Chances of Developing HSD
There are several things that you can do to decrease your chances of developing chronic HSD, or Hair and Scalp Dehydration.
- You should deep conditioner your hair at least twice a week with a good moisturizing conditioner.
- Add moisture to your hair daily.
- If your hair is considered coarse, you should apply moisture daily to your hair, and then add a sealant to keep the moisture in place.
- Do not use shampoos that contain sulfates. These can be extremely drying to the hair.
- When you use a clarifying shampoo, make sure that the pH of the shampoo is similar to the pH of the hair and scalp.
- Do not use grease on your scalp. Some women use coconut, olive, or jojoba oil on their hair and scalp.
- Drink plenty of water. Hydration of the scalp and hair begins internally.