Tricks of the Trade: Fight frizzy hair and stop whiteheads in its tracks

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How do I treat my frizzy hair without opting for a rebond? Currently I iron it everyday but it seems like it’s getting worse. –L. Lim

Hair that has become frizzy and unruly due to the weather requires plenty of care and attention. Frizz doesn’t just happen without reason; when hair is dry and parched it soaks up as much moisture as it can from the air. This explains why hair turns frizzy and unmanageable when the weather is wet and humid, as the hair’s cuticles expand and lose its natural form.

Ironing your hair to help solve your problem has probably made it worse, as it zapped whatever moisture is left in your hair, causing more frizziness. It is great that you are looking into other options for taming hair, apart from rebonding. I think the last thing your hair needs right now is to chemically alter it, as it may cause far worse damage. What you need is to stock up on moisure-infusing conditioners and hair masks to prevent your locks from frizzing up. Deep conditioning masks should be applied on hair weekly, extra moisturizing conditioners worked in daily and leave-in conditioners combed into hair whenever needed.

Regular hot oil treatments also help bring hair back to life; doing this once or twice a month is recommended. However, if you are looking for a cheaper alternative to your salon’s hot oil, try soaking hair with coconut oil. Work a tablespoon of the oil into dry hair, concentrating on the ends, and leave it on for 20 minutes before shampooing as usual.

If you really must iron your hair for it to behave, switch to a ceramic flat iron. These work by using infrared ionic heat that wont destroy your hair. And remember to work in a hair styling protectant before using any tools like straightening and curling irons. These are meant to lock in hair’s moisture and protect the cuticle from getting seared. You’ll find that when keeping your hair moisturized, its frizziness will be reduced by a great deal.

Just want to ask how to rid of milia aside from extraction. Is there a medicine for this? –Nancy

If you look at your skin closely using a magnified mirror, you’ll find that you have milia, or whiteheads, sticking out on the oiliest parts of your face. This is, of course, dependent on your skin type—milia can appear on just your nose and chin or spread out all over your face. These white bumps are made of dead skin cells and sebaceous matter that the skin is supposed to expel naturally, but somehow got trapped in the pores. Introduced with dirt and bacteria these are likely to form into blackheads or pimples, which is why extraction (best done by a professional) is so important.

If you don’t have the time to visit a dermatologist for cleaning, do not extract milia, blackheads or pimples yourself. This job is best left to professionals who know how to do this properly without the risk of infection or scarring. While I cannot recommend any alternative to removing milia on your own, I can give a few tips on how to avoid its formation.

Exfoliate. Using a scrub with tiny, soft granules every week will slough away dead skin cells and prevent your pores from getting clogged. This will prevent the occurrence of milia and keep your skin smooth and blemish-free. Or you can opt for an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) at-home peeling mask, which helps dissolve skin debris and keep pores clear.

Switch to gentler skin care products. Heavy creams and moisturizers are great for very dry skin, but when used often can prevent skin from removing dead skin and may lead to clogged pores. Look for the word: noncomedogenic on the label, this means the product does not block pores. Or find a lighter cleanser or moisturizer—the one you are currently using may not be suited for your skin.

Stay away from the sun. What we do not realize is that when we get tanned, our epidermis becomes thicker. Depending on your skin and how badly you were burnt, this dark thick skin stays around for a couple of days or weeks until we start to peel. This makes us prone to blemishes as the dry, burnt skin blocks pores and makes it difficult for the skin to exfoliate. Protect your face from the sun by applying a high SPF sunscreen and wear a wide-brimmed hat.

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