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Head & Shoulders Interview: 24 minutes with a scientist and a stylist

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The elements here seem harsher than in other parts of the world. Do you think residents should take different steps in maintaining healthy scalp and hair?

Absolutely. First thing is to try and reduce the factors that can cause symptoms. For the scalp, it’s the use of hair care products that are too harsh.

Another one is not washing frequently enough. Some people think they get dandruff because they wash too often, but it’s the opposite actually. If you have the right product and use it regularly, you stand a better chance at minimizing hair and scalp problems.

On the hair side, you should reduce exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays as much as possible. UV light destroys the hair structure so the best thing to do to avoid it is to cover up. Also, when you expose your hair to a lot of dirt and dust, make sure that you wash thoroughly to get rid of all those irritants. If you have oily scalp, and a lot of people in this region complain about that, the oils bind to the dirt so you really have to wash your hair thoroughly and regularly.

Would it make sense to launch a line that’s specific to the Middle East?

We have designed our products to be fit for consumers across the globe. We have tailored our product technology specifically to address the needs of people including those in the Middle East. we did a lot of research with core consumers and we found out that our product technology that we’ve got at the moment is also fit to use here as well. We are marketing our products globally as there are other territories, not only in the Middle East, that have a very similar climate.

We don’t know if we’re making a hasty generalisation, but we think we see more balding people here than in other countries. Why do you think that is? Genetics aside, do the elements have anything to do with it?

Balding or hair loss is a hugely complicated territory. There are so many different factors that can have an effect on going bald. Genetics is probably the cause of most of the hair loss that we see, especially in males.

We have a sensitivity to a specific form of testosterone which is called dihydrotestosterone or DHT. Follicles react to that and miniaturise, becoming smaller and smaller until you can only grow tiny little hairs, and then no hair at all whatsoever. That’s something we can’t do anything about with cosmetic products because it’s a fundamental genetic process.

But there are other factors that can play a role as well. We find out that a lot of people lose their hair because their gets damaged and it breaks off. In the recent research that we have conducted, when you have dandruff, the natural reaction to the itch is to scratch quite often.

When you scratch your scalp, you also rupture the surface of your hair, because there’s always hair in the way. If you treat dandruff, at least from this specific factor that can cause hair fall, you can reduce the incidence of that.

Other factors that can also play a role include hormonal changes, drugs, and diet. It’s a really complicated area and I think we’re only beginning to uncover all the other aspects that can cause hair loss.

Going back to your question, does this climate play a role? I haven’t seen any studies that show that climate can lead to hair loss.

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