If you, like me, have ever taken vitamin supplements to help with healthy hair growth you will probably have already heard about the “B-vitamins.” These are a group of essential nutrients which are well renowned for health in general, but hair in particular. Each of the 8 vitamins have a number after the B.
Some of the vitamins are better known by their other name, like folic acid (B9), whereas others are better known by the number, e.g. vitamin B12.
(If anyone knows what became of B4, B8, B10 or B11 then leave a comment below!)
These vitamins play a crucial role in the production and maintenance of proteins in the body. Since your hair is a made from a protein (keratin) these vitamins are vital for healthy hair.
I already wrote a blog about the best foods for natural hair growth and strength but to summarize you get many of the B vitamins in eggs, milk, rice and whole grains as well as poultry meat and offal such as kidney, liver or tripe.
The main hair benefits of B vitamins include:
One reason for their role in hair growth is that folic acid and vitamin B12 are important for healthy red blood cells which carry oxygen around the body and help everything grow efficiently.
Dandruff and dry scalp have been linked to B vitamin deficiency and certain people with vitamin B7 deficiency get severe dermatitis (skin inflammation) and hair loss.
So if you have these issues, take a closer look at your diet, and if unsure seek help from a dietician or specialist nutritional expert.
Eggs & milk for breakfast anyone? Yes sirree. Bring on those whole oats too!
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A hair fibre is made of:
The cuticle is actually made up of layer upon layer of shingle-like or scale-like overlapping cells. 5 to 12 layers make up the cuticle surface. These layers are not visible to the naked eye.
Features of The Hair Cuticle
The Hair Cuticle and Defence
The cuticle is the first line of defence against damage from heat, excessive brushing and chemicals.
When the hair cuticle incurs damage the layers become irreversibly lifted - they no longer lie flat along the surface.
Damage From Hair Color and Relaxer
Part of the reason hair can easily get damaged when you color or relax it is that the cuticle layer has to be lifted to let in the colour (or the relaxer) and then flattened back. It's very easy to for the layer to be lifted and then for it to fail to flatten again.
Every day environmental forces such as harsh sun or wind can also wear the cuticle down.
So there it is; the difference between healthy and unhealthy hair is the cuticle.
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By Heather Katsonga-Woodward