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Karen Walker New York Spring 13

#1 WHAT CAUSES WEAK OR POOR HAIR GROWTH?
According to Dr Alvin Wong, medical director of SKN Mediaesthetics, poor hair growth can be caused by over-processing your hair.

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“Chemical agents such as hair dyes, bleaches and perm solutions are not only damaging but can also cause allergic reactions, which in turn lead to infl ammation on the scalp, possibly resulting in poor hair growth.”

#2 WHAT CAN I EAT FOR HEALTHIER HAIR?
Technically, hair plays no vital function, so when there is competition for limited nutrients, the body tends to “sacrifice” sending nutrients (from the food we eat) to our hair, says Dr Eileen Tan, dermatologist at Dr Eileen Tan Skin, Laser & Hair Transplant Clinic.

Clement Gan, nutritionist at Eat Right Pte Ltd, recommends a diet rich in protein, iron, biotin, vitamins and C, zinc and beta-carotene for thicker hair and to help with hair loss. 

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“Iron-rich foods such as lean red meats are great for those who have thinning hair due to an iron deficiency. They’re also a good source of zinc,” says Clement.

Fruits and dark green leafy vegetables are great sources of vitamins A and C – the former is vital for healthy cell function, while the latter is said to promote iron absorption and aid in sebum production to naturally condition dry hair.

Biotin, a B vitamin that reportedly helps hair grow faster, is found in eggs and almonds. Sweet potatoes, pumpkins and carrots contain beta-carotene, which is then converted into vitamin A by the body.

WHAT CAN I APPLY TOPICALLY TO ENSURE HEALTHY HAIR GROWTH?
Lightweight anti-hair-loss tonics. Most are formulated to improve microcirculation in the scalp – crucial for healthy hair growth.

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Go for botanical options such as Phyto Phytostim Fortifying Spray for Thinning Hair ($129.80), which has shitake mushroom extract to supposedly strengthen hair follicles.

Avoid heavily scented products if you have a sensitive scalp, as they can cause irritation and lead to poor hair growth.

This article was first run in the February issue of Her World magazine.