Hair Headlines: Hair and Water

(This report was presented by Dr. Dean Edell 11 Nov 99. It was syndicated to local stations, and posted on the Health Central web site.)

Science may have found the answer for some of those bad hair days. Troubling hair problems have been a mystery - especially for those who move to new locations or travel a lot. Now, researchers may have solved the problem:

Most of us take our hair for granted, until we have a problem. Hairdressers can tell at a glance if your hair is too oily or too dry, if your ends are split or if you've fried your looks with too much color or too many perms. But sometimes the cause of your hair problem may be more elusive.

Everyone's had a bad hair day from time to time. You know, when your hair is limp and lifeless ... or maybe totally frizzy and fly-a-way. And this can be common in people who travel a lot.

Well, researchers found that, don't blame it on your hair or even on your shampoo or conditioner, because the cause may be coming out of the faucet.

Water is water is water, right? Well, it seems that's not true when it comes to your hair. Most of us don't realize that when we wash our hair, it actually absorbs minerals like calcium and magnesium. These are the same minerals that can make water "hard" or "soft."

Well, it turns out the type of water you use can have a profound effect on coiffure. Researchers took hair and water samples at locations throughout the world. They found the acidity and the hardness of the water directly affect the hair's ability to absorb minerals. The higher the hardness and/or pH level, the greater the absorption.

These factors can affect the amount of dye that's absorbed into the hair or look and feel after drying, yet few would ever think that water could have such a profound effect on our crowning glories.

Local water supplies may also vary in acidity or mineral content from time to time. So if you're having some "hair raising" experiences, this may be an explanation.

Source: PAPER: The Science of the Total Environment; Rudolf Noble.

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