Teaching your child good hair care practices can help him or her maintain healthy and shiny locks throughout their life. It can also help prevent hair damage and skin conditions such as dandruff.
You’ve probably been washing your hair more years than you can remember by now, but there was a time when you had to learn what to do with shampoo and water.
If your child has reached the age where he or she can start washing their own hair, here are some tips to help them develop good hair care habits.
You’d be surprised how many kids think that washing their hair means just that – washing only their hair. Healthy skin and hair requires washing the scalp and the hair.
How often should your child wash his or her hair? The answer to that question depends on several factors. For example, during the summer, when kids are more likely to be playing outdoors or involved in sports, they may need to wash their hair as often as every other day. In the drier winter months when kids typically spend more time indoors, the schedule may be pushed back a day or two.
You also have to consider your child’s hair type. Does it tend to be dry or oily? Is it fine, curly, thick, thin or coarse? Different hair types require different care programs.
On an average, kids around 12 years old or who have started puberty and have fine, straight or thin hair, might need to shampoo as often as every other day. At this age, many kids are beginning to experience hormonal changes, causing their hair and scalp to be a little oilier.
For younger children, once or twice a week is sufficient – again, if they haven’t been doing something that would cause their hair to be excessively dirty.
For children with dry, curly or very coarse hair, washing their hair too often can be drying to the scalp and the hair. African American children often have at least a couple of these hair types. Washing their hair once a week or once every two weeks is sufficient if their hair isn’t too dirty. They may also benefit from using a moisturizing shampoo made especially for their hair type as well as a conditioner.
Healthy hair care begins with learning how to wash the hair without damaging it. When your child is ready to start shampooing, follow these steps to help your child develop healthy hair-care habits.
• Wet hair and scalp with warm water. Shampoo works best on wet heads and hair.
• Pour a quarter-size drop of shampoo in the palm of your child’s hand. Putting the shampoo in the hand first makes it easier to apply.
• Tell your child to massage the shampoo gently into the scalp. When shampooing, it’s important to wash the scalp rather than the entire length of the hair. Washing only the hair often leads to flyaway hair that is dull and coarse. Rubbing shampoo into the hair can break hairs, leading to unhealthy looking hair.
• Rinse well with warm water until the hair is suds-free. Rinsing well washes away shampoo and dirt.
• Cover hair with a towel. Help your child wrap a towel around the wet hair. This helps to absorb the water. Rubbing hair dry with a towel can damage the hair, causing it to break.
• Comb out damp hair gently. Use a wide-tooth comb, especially on curly hair. Don’t yank or pull the comb through the hair because that can pull out hair or break the hair.
• Sometimes a de-tangling spray can help smooth out the hair and keep it from forming little tight knots.
To help kids develop good hair-care habits that help prevent hair damage, dermatologists give parents the following tips:
• Make braids and ponytails loose and use covered rubber bands.
• Consider styles that don’t require heat and chemical treatments.
• When using heat on the hair, lower the heat.
• Understand that chemicals in relaxers, dyes, and other hairstyling products often damage the hair. The longer the time between treatments, the better it is for your hair.
• After your child swims, make sure to wash away pool chemicals. If your child’s hair is normal to oily, shampooing works best. Children who have very dry or African American hair should rinse well and apply conditioner. Pool chemicals that are not washed away can damage hair.
• Use a wide-tooth comb more often than a brush.
• When outdoors, wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect the scalp and hair from the sun.
All hair needs to be treated gently, especially when it’s wet. Brushing or combing hair too frequently or in the wrong way (such as using a fine-toothed comb on very thick, curly hair or teasing hair) can lead to breakage. Hair extensions and braids can also cause breakage. Leaving them in too long or pulling them out without professional help can cause hair and scalp damage or even hair loss.
The condition of our hair can also tell us about our general health. Sometimes hair breakage and dry, brittle hair are signs of a medical problem, such as hypothyroidism or an eating disorder. If your child’s hair is breaking or falling out, even though he or she doesn’t treat it with chemicals or other styling products, tell your pediatrician.
Healthy hair doesn’t just happen; it’s the result of proper care and maintenance. Starting your child on healthy hair care habits early will most likely be how they think about and care for their scalp and hair the rest of their lives.
Story sources: https://www.aad.org/public/skin-hair-nails/hair-care/healthy-hair-habits-for-kids