What Causes Damaged Hair?
Sometimes the effort we put in to making our hair look good is actually what causes damage to the hair cuticle. There is an abundance of opinions about proper hair care, some views providing conflicting advice.
This guide will give you an informative overview of what causes damaged hair and scientific based methods to preserve a healthy head of hair.
- Why do I have damaged hair ?
- How can I improve my hair ?
- How can I reverse damaged hair ?
Why do I have damaged hair ?
When you think of damaged hair, the image that comes to mind is likely split ends. However, damaged hair includes much more than just split ends. It is most often presents as dry, brittle strands that break easily. Here are signs to tell if your hair is damaged:
- Lacklustre hair: When the hair cuticle is no longer smooth, light does not reflect well. Light scatters instead of reflecting directly. This can create a dull appearance, lacking shine.
- Easily tangled hair: Loose pieces of damaged cuticles catch on one another, creating tangles more easily in the hair. Brushing the tangles with a stiff hairbrush can actually lead to further damage.
- Frizzy hair or excessive flyaway hairs: When the cuticle becomes compromised, it is affected by moisture differently. This can cause strands to swell, sticking up in the air or angling in an unusual way. It must be noted that some hair types will naturally appear more frizzy than others.
- Fading of colour treatments: Damage to the cuticle also inhibits the hair from maintaining a colour treatment.
- Dry, brittle hair: When the cuticle has breaks in it, the strand of hair cannot hold moisture and dries out quickly.
- Split-ends and hair breakage-: Hair breakage is more common with dry, tangled hair. At the ends of hair strands, breakage leads to split-ends.
- Rigid hair: A rough cuticle can be caused by age or exercise. This allows less overall movement in the head of hair.
- Thinner hair: A thinning of hair occurs naturally with age. What many perceive as hair loss is actually just an increase in hair breakage.
Different types of hair are more susceptible to damage. The manifesting signs of damage occur from cracks or opening of the hair cuticle. The injury of the hair shaft is imposed by a variety of sources.
How Can I Improve My Hair ?
Knowing what caused the dryness and breakage can help you to prevent and restore further damage. Here are 8 sources of damaged hair and you can do to prevent it:
1 – Internal Influences
Factors such as nutrition, age, stress, hormones, and illness can all impact the state of your hair. Aging leads to a decrease in follicle size and melanin, causing thinner, greying hair. Stress can cause hair to remain in the resting phase, preventing new hair growth.
Proper nutrition is important for providing the body with the nutrients it needs for healthy hair growth. A poor diet can make hair more susceptible to damage.
How to fix it: Be sure to maintain a balanced diet that includes valuable sources of vitamin C, vitamin D, biotin, zinc, protein, and iron. Getting a good night’s rest maintains hormone balance, reduces the effects of stress, and wards off illness.
2 – Environmental Effects
Just as UVA and UVB rays can damage the skin, the same occurs for hair as well. Sunlight is responsible for breaking the bonds that hold the hair shaft together, leading to dryness and breakage. Proper scalp care also helps to negate the harmful impact of the sun.
How to fix it: Wear sunscreen on your scalp and apply a mask to your hair for added protection.
3 – Poor Washing Habits
Knowing how often to wash your hair is crucial for maintaining a healthy mane, but the best washing schedule can vastly differ from person to person. The “right answer” will depend on your lifestyle, hair type, and age.
It is possible to both over wash and under wash your hair. Those with oily hair will need to wash their hair more frequently while those with drier hair can get away with washing their hair less often.
How to fix it: Be sure to use a shampoo that is formulated for your specific hair type. You can also ask your hairdresser for advice about how often to wash it.
4 – Chlorine and Saltwater
This is likely only an issue for avid swimmers and surfers. The chlorine in pools and salt from the ocean can strip your hair of its natural coating of keratin, leaving your strands dry and dull.
How to fix it: Before entering the water, wet your hair and apply conditioner. For females, it will also help if you fix your hair into a braid or a bun.
5 – Chemical Treatments
It is always best to avoid receiving hair treatments such as perms or relaxers, but if you must, it is important to maintain proper care of your tresses to minimize damage. A perm or relaxer changes the chemical properties of your hair and those chemicals can have a harsh effect. In essence, it weakens the cuticle, making it more susceptible to breakage. One chemical treatment can remove 58% of protein in the hair.
How to fix it: Proper moisturizing of the hair and avoid having both colour and a perm or relaxer to the hair.
6 – Hair Colouring
One of the worst things you can do to your hair is chemically colour it. However, many risk the consequences in order to gain the expression or confidence that hair colouring provides.
Chemical dyes make the hair porous, leading to extreme dryness and breakage. Not all hair colouring processes are equally damaging to the hair. Having to bleach the hair before applying a chemical dye causes more negative effects than colouring the hair alone.
How to fix it: Stay within three shades of your natural hair colour. Dye your hair less often. Using shampoos specially formulated for dyed hair and rinse with cold water to help you go longer in-between touch-ups.
7 – Mechanical Damage
Excessive brushing, hair ties, and towels can all lead to unnecessary breakage of the hair. Most brush their hair when it is wet, the most vulnerable state of hair. In addition, a towel can cause friction to this wet hair, instigating damage to the hair cuticle.
How to fix it: Use conditioner in the shower and a wide toothed comb to brush it after. Invest in a microfiber towel or t-shirt to dry your hair. Use hair ties sparingly or use a breakage-preventing style.
8 – Heat Tools
This is one of the most commonly known sources of damage. Excessive heat can make the hair cuticle porous and create raised surfaces. This will lead to dryness, brittleness, and flyaway strands.
How to fix it: Lower the temperature of your hot styling tools. Try to only use heated tools once a week. If you must use a hot styling tool, be sure to use a heat protected spray beforehand.
Have you tried Dr. Balwi’s hair care products ?
Thanks to a unique combination of ingredients your hair receives the essential nutrients that nourish the roots and hair, and prevent their loss. Our shampoos and sprays are highly concentrated biotin, collagen and natural extracts (green tea, red ginseng). In addition unlike ordinary hair care products, ours tackle the problem at the root by cleansing the follicles and strengthening the shaft. Because a stronger and vitalised scalp produces more resistant and, of course, more silky hair!
How can I reverse damaged hair ?
The best way to reverse this is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Hair is made from dead cells, thus once it has been damaged, it can almost never be permanently repaired. There is a study demonstrating that chemically or heat damaged hair could be restored using Keratin Active technology.
If you have split ends, it is more beneficial to cut off the split ends and focus on maintaining healthy hair moving forward. The fastest way to repair your hair is to cut it off. Cutting your hair will not cause your hair to grow faster, but it will help your mane to appear healthier overall.
Repairing damaged hair is not a quick process, but it can be done through proper hair maintenance. The amount of time it takes will depend on each person and how damaged the hair was from the start.
Any hair that is replaced with new hair growth will come back healthy. The best way to repair damage and make your hair healthy again is to instil the breakage prevention techniques described previously.
Every person desires a shiny, soft head of hair. Unfortunately, many activities in our daily lives can have damaging effects on hair that leads to dryness, dullness, and breakages. Damaged hair is caused by a variety of factors such as nutrition, aging, the sun, chemicals, improper washing, and hair ties that negatively impact your tresses.
One of the only ways to fully repair damaged hair is to cut off split ends and prevent future damage. The new hair that grows back will be in an improved state. Establishing healthy, beautiful hair is not impossible, but it does take time and intentionality to achieve.