US Surgeon General Dr. Regina M. Benjamin and hair stylist Elgin CharlesDr. Benjamin and world renowned hairstylist, Elgin Charles.

There was a huge focus on health and fitness at this year’s Bronner Bros International Hair Show, culminating in a competition featuring hair stylists creating the most versatile ‘dos to accommodate an active lifestyle. US Surgeon General, Dr. Regina M. Benjamin was also in attendance to encourage  women to get out and be active, and not allow their hair woes to hinder them.

Dr. Benjamin discussed the impact the trend towards “natural” has had on health care in this country. It has introduced a shift in focus from treating sickness and disease, to prevention and maintaining wellness. In line with that, she stated that there should now be more emphasis on what a person can do as opposed to what they shouldn’t be doing. For example, there should be less attention paid to actual weight loss and more to just being healthy and all that that entails. In regards to finding ways to be motivated to stay active, she recommended finding activities that are fun and that you find enjoyable (she suggested dancing, and my personal favorite, Zumba). One thing that has not changed, however, is the importance of the ABC’s: Take an Aspirin a day, be mindful of your Blood Pressure, keep your Cholesterol down and DO NOT SMOKE!

When asked about the adverse effects of sulfates in hair care products, Dr. Benjamin stated that, from a medical standpoint, they were totally safe. However, Mr. Charles indicated that they often times have a drying effect on the scalp, and can exacerbate conditions such as dandruff and eczema. He also recommend that curly natural girls refrain from washing their hair more than once a week and to make sure that they occasionally use a gentle clarifying shampoo in order to remove product buildup and thoroughly cleanse the scalp.

Still trying to make the connection between your hair and your fitness or exercise regimen? With all that we go through to take care of and maintain our hair, do you really look forward to a regular workout session, where you sweat out all of your hard work? That's why communication with your hairdresser is so essential. Together, you can come up with styles, products and regimens that are easy to maintain at home. Dr. Benjamin also brought attention to the importance of the salon as the home base of a lot of communities. It's at the hair dresser that we learn the latest gossip and discuss current events, so why not use that venue as a way to disseminate relevant news about health and fitness through our neighborhoods?

Do you find yourself refraining from exercising because you don’t want to mess up your hair? Are you able to maintain and active lifestyle? What are your tricks to maintaining your curls, coils and waves  after you work up a sweat?