We all grew up believing that first showers of rain are good and healing for hair and skin. However in present times of pollution, lack of greenery, chemicals and vehicles, this does not hold true. So many harmful chemicals evaporating as gases get condensed and make the first showers of rain toxic and acidic. These emissions change into sulphuric acid and nitric acid with sunlight and humidity. Hence the name acid rain. These chemicals in rain water cause damage to the cuticle of hair making it sticky, rough and dull. However the damage to the hair depends on the pH of the rain water. Normal pH of rain water is around 6 ( slightly acidic). However depending on the acid content in the air, the pH can be below 4 and sometimes even upto 2. This can cause acid burns on the scalp and also ruin the hair and make them brittle and fall. The hair become limp and loose the sheen and lustre.
How can these damages be corrected or controlled:
1. Avoid getting hair wet in the first showers of the rain. However in case you get wet, wash your hair thoroughly with plain lukewarm water and condition it. Do not leave the rain water in the hair for long as the longer it stays in contact with hair, it will damage cuticle and make hair rough, brittle and prone to breaking. Also in case of dandruff, use a ketoconazole and ZPTO containing shampoo. Blow dry the hair immediately.
2. Use caps and umbrella for protection. However, keep your hair well hydrated with serum so that even if hair come in contact with water, it will limit the damage. Dry and porous hair will absorb more water and hence more the acid damage.
3. There is nothing better than a nice bath when you just get in from the pouring rain. However, washing your hair too often,say every day, can exaggerate the problems you already face. Washing your hair two or three times a week will keep your hair clean and looking good. At the same time, it prevents excessive drying of hair and keeps frizziness to minimum.
4. Do not forget to condition your hair after every wash; you could use a leave-in conditioner to make dry hair more manageable.
5. Dry massage your scalp so that it improves blood circulation. However once a week oil massage with warm oil is a good idea. But in that case do not leave the oil in the hair for long time. Instead wash it off in a few hours.
6. Wash your hair every alternate day. If you have short hair then you can wash it daily. Switching to an ultra gentle/ baby shampoo is a good idea.
7. Do not use hair spray or gel in the monsoons as these stick to the scalp and cause dandruff.
8. Avoid excessive use of blow dryer also. However , if the hair are wet at night,apply lots of leave in conditioner on hair and then blow dry on cold air.
9. Excessive moisture is the biggest culprit during this season. It affects your hair even if you remain indoors, especially on days when the humidity is high. The best solution to this is to use a humidity-protective gel before styling. These gels help by forming a protective coat over the hair cuticle and preventing moisture from getting in and also out.
10. Rains is also the favorite time for the lice to grow in the hair. In case of any itching on the scalp, apply Permite / HH mite lotion on the scalp with a cotton, leave for 2 hours and wash off. Repeat this for 3-4 weeks. This problem is more common in school going children.