Simple Tips For Protecting Your Hair From Pollution

Any haircare fanatic knows several factors can ruin your hair's health. From overwashing your hair to the repeated use of heated tools, many triggers will damage the integrity of your tresses. However, one trigger seldom talked about is pollution. While there are many problems with pollution, many underestimate the effect it has on your locks. Like with your skin, pollution can cause great havoc on your scalp and hair strands. Nowadays, it is challenging to avoid the effects of pollution, as all urban centers contain polluting triggers. Whether it's cars, ports, and factories, it's rare to not live near a polluting factor.


Cosmetics Design Europe explains that pollution can ruin your hair's health by making it brittle, dull, and inflamed. Pollution contaminates your hair primarily through the scalp, as the scalp, when exposed to pollution, can become dry and sensitive. When your scalp experiences these sensations, it causes the skin's sebum production to produce more oils to help soothe the dryness. However, this excess sebum production causes your hair follicles to get clogged and the hair strands to get greasy. Clogged hair follicles cause your roots to become weak and prone to further damage. While this process is natural, it can cause your hair to quickly become oily and dirty through no fault of your own. Protecting your hair from pollution is the best chance to avoid these issues and continue having a healthy scalp and hair.


Limit your use of heated tools

To protect your hair from further damage from pollution, you want to limit the times you use heated hair tools. Using heat on your hair is an easy way to damage it on its own, but when paired with pollution, it can wreak havoc on your hair's health. Better Not Younger explains that besides the damage heat can cause to the hair strands, it can also leave the hair exposed to more intense effects from pollution. Unprotected hair strands can bubble and weaken when exposed to heat. Adding pollution to weak hair will cause it to become more brittle and fragile.


All Things Hair explains that while heated tools don't directly cause polluted air, it intensifies the effects of pollution. Because pollution dries the hair to the point where it becomes brittle, heated hair tools speed up the process. While it's challenging to stop using heat, always add heat protectant spray to your hair styling routine. Heat protectant spray will cover your hair strand and delay the damage heat can produce on your hair. In addition to protecting you from heated tools, certain protectant sprays will always cover your hair against harmful UV rays from the sun.

Add antioxidants to your routine

Unsurprisingly, the ingredients in your hair care routine have an enormous effect on your hair. Adding the appropriate antioxidants and supplements helps increase your hair's strength, which can help it defend itself from pollution damage. Sheilagh Maguiness, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Stryke Club, tells The Sunday Edit, "Antioxidant ingredients in your hair care may help prevent free radical damage. Ingredients to look for with these benefits include vitamin C, vitamin A, selenium, vitamin E, and beta carotene." Maguiness explains that while these antioxidant ingredients might not be a foolproof solution for your hair, nourishing your locks with proper ingredients can help extend your hair's health for longer.


Bosley MD adds that even ingesting antioxidant-rich foods are enough to help add strength to your locks. Whether you add these antioxidants directly through hair products or from foods you eat, your hair will use these nutrients to fortify the hair strands and follicles. Having a well-balanced diet helps your scalp and hair continue growing healthy hair despite surrounding pollution, and ensuring your hair continues to grow healthy strands will help replace damaged hair with stronger tresses. Getting the appropriate antioxidants into your system is the best way to fix damages caused by pollution and prevent hair damage in the future.

Shampoo and cleanse your hair often

The best way to rid yourself of dirt and grease caused by pollution is by cleansing your hair. While you need to ensure to not overwash your hair, a weekly deep hair wash will remove some of that clinging pollution that's clogging your hair follicles. Anabel Kingsley, trichologist at Philip Kingsley, explains to Refinery29, "Pollution, such as dust, dirt and daily grime, affects the hair and scalp in a similar way to the skin on our face. It makes hair dirty and can also increase the likelihood of scalp problems, such as flaking and itching, as well as blocked follicles and the formation of pimples. Shampooing regularly is the best way to prevent pollution from affecting your hair and scalp. Apply a similar thinking to your hair and scalp as you do to your skin, as what benefits one will most likely benefit the other."


While you want to invest time into your shampooing, keep in mind that you don't want to over-wash. Over-cleansing your hair will strip it of essential oils it needs to defend against polluting triggers. Chase Kusero, the co-founder of IGK Hair Care, tells The Zoe Report, "Air pollution and UV exposure dry out the hair, and over-cleansing makes the situation worse. When you do wash, do so with sulfate-free products." The correct number of washes will depend on your hair type, but knowing this number is essential for a clean scalp and hair.

Avoid sticky products

Just like glue, certain hair products can attract particles to cling onto your hair and clog your scalp. Alex Mish, a hairstylist at the Maria Livesay Salon, tells Prose, "Avoiding waxes, heavy gels, and finishing products, will reduce the amount of dirt and debris that can stick to your hair. I like to think of it in skin terms — if you apply a heavy, greasy lotion to your face or body, and walk around in a windy, polluted place, you will wind up with dirt stuck to the lotion. If you wore a lightweight lotion, the debris would bounce off and have nothing to hold on to." When applying your hair products, remember that the more heavy and stickier your products are, the more likely you'll be bringing home pollutants in your hair.


Reseed Haircare adds that some of the same heavy and sticky products contain amounts of alcohol in them. Alcohol on the hair can further dry the strands and quicken the process towards making them brittle. Instead of hair pomades and gels, opt for lightweight options like serums and oils. Hair serums and oil products will help you create your hairstyles, but won't attract pollutants to your hair strands.

Cover up your hair

The simplest way to protect your hair strands is by throwing on a protective layer. Whether it's a baseball cap or a scarf, covering up your tresses is the easiest way to ensure pollutants won't cling on and damage your hair. Samantha Sheppard, a lead stylist at Glam+Go, tells Mane Addicts, "If you're traveling through a heavily polluted area, you may want to consider wearing a hat or wrapping your hair in a scarf to keep it extra protected from the polluted air." While you may not cover your entire mane, covering up your scalp will do plenty when protecting your hair against pollution.


Get the Gloss adds that you can further protect your hair by simply tying your hair back or adding some layer of covering to your hair. The main idea behind covering your hair or pulling it back is to have the least amount of hair exposed to the open elements. If you want to take extra measures, avoid areas with bigger pollutants. Instead of walking through main streets or by freeways, try to take quieter streets and explore cleaner areas. As small as these steps are, every bit can help when protecting your hair against pollution.