ATLANTA - When it comes to hair, Ann Dalia was blessed, or maybe cursed, with tons of it.
"My hair is very thick and dry on the ends, and difficult to manage at times," Dalia says.
She has so much hair, she says, it's hard for her scalp to breathe, and she ends up with flaking.
Many of us struggle with dry hair and split ends because of the heat from blow-dryers, straighteners, and curling irons. So, we asked Dr. Rutledge Forney of Dermatology Affiliates in Atlanta for her 5 top ways to keep hair healthy and looking good.
"Number one is actually your diet," Dr. Forney says. "What you eat really affects your hair."
Get lots of protein, fruits and vegetables, and omega 3 fatty acids. Tip #2, she says, is trying biotin, a vitamin B supplement.
"For people who feel like their hair is thinner, or they would just like more hair, many people feel that 6 months of biotin can make a big difference," Forney says.
Tip #3 is think about what kind of hair you have and how you style it. Forney says let that dictate how often you need to wash it because there is no one-size-fits-all recommendation for how often hair needs to be cleaned.
"For instance, there are African American people who don't need to wash their hair but every 1 to 2 weeks," Dr. Forney says. "Because it's just too harsh on their hair. They need to oil it. Their hair is naturally drier than other people's."
If your hair is long and dry, she says, wash the roots, but not the ends. If your hair is thinner or tends to get greasy, you may need more frequent shampoos.
"Many people wash their hair every day," Forney says. "That is okay as long as you're not using harsh products."
Tip #4: protect your hair from sun damage.
"Now the nice thing is your hair grows out," Forney says. "So if you manage to really damage your hair from sun and products, at least you know that what you're producing will be healthier and you can get rid of that hair."
Finally, while you don't want to overwash, Forney says, you do need to keep your scalp clean.
"Because you don't want to have a build up of oil and sebum and dirt on your scalp because your scalp needs to breathe just like the rest of your skin," she says.
Forney also points out that stress can be tough on hair, causing hair loss. So can disorders like Lupus and thyroid disease.