Hair conditions like split ends, thinning, hair loss, and dandruff are common hair problems. Everyone has a unique hair texture and pattern. But no matter how much you take care of and nourish your tresses, we all fall prey to at least one hair problem in our life. Don’t worry! All you need are some simple yet effective hair care solutions to solve such hair problems. In this article, we have discussed some common hair problems and their treatment methods. Take a look!
Common Hair Problems And Their Treatments
Dandruff is a common scalp disorder characterized mainly by white flakes. It is also accompanied by an itchy scalp and inflammation (1). It is often caused by a dry scalp, excess sebum secretion, or sensitivity of your scalp to some hair care products. Having an overall dry skin type is the most apparent cause of dandruff. Dry skin causes white flakes, which, in turn, result in dandruff (2). Your scalp gets infected with the fungus Malassezia. This can make the scalp dry and flaky, thereby increasing the appearance of dandruff (3).
Several other internal and external factors can lead to the development of dandruff on your scalp. Contact dermatitis is triggered by certain hair care products and can irritate your scalp, which leads to flaking, itching, and dandruff. Seborrheic dermatitis usually affects areas that are rich in oil glands, and it causes inflammation, redness, and flaking (4). Furthermore, oil build-up flakes off your scalp as a result of not shampooing your hair regularly. Over secretion of certain male hormones can also result in dandruff.
Frequently scratching and brushing your scalp due to the itchiness caused by dandruff can damage the hair roots, which, in turn, result in hair loss. Also, dandruff causes hair loss if left untreated for a prolonged period. So, you should fix this problem quickly to avoid hair loss.
How To Fix It
- Shampoos with ingredients like salicylic acid and ketoconazole can treat and prevent dandruff.
- Anecdotal evidence suggests that apple cider vinegar, baking soda, and fenugreek seeds help treat dandruff. You can apply hair masks made with these ingredients to get rid of dandruff.
2. Split Ends
A split end is the splitting of the hair shaft at the tip of your hair. When the oil from the scalp does not reach the ends of the hair, they tend to dry out and split over time. The hair strands start to break at different points of your hair shaft. Detangling your hair aggressively, not conditioning your hair properly, and harsh environmental conditions can also lead to split ends. Improper hair care and some chemical treatments are other causes of split ends (5).
Furthermore, too much hair coloring, heat styling, bleaching, perming, and sun exposure can damage your hair. Once the hair ends split, nothing can be done. The ends must be cut off and extra care must be taken with conditioning. Split ends don’t go away on their own, and trimming is the best way to get rid of them.
How To Fix It
- As the ends are drier, rubbing them with oil can provide nourishment and minimize split ends.
- Applying shampoo only near the scalp and conditioner from mid-lengths to the ends can moisturize your ends.
- To prevent more hair damage due to heat, start blow-drying your hair at low-temperature settings and use a wide-toothed comb to detangle it.
- Always use heat protectant while heat styling to avoid direct contact between your hair and the tool.
- You can repair and prevent split ends by using coconut oil, almond oil, coconut milk, and castor oil.
- Sleeping on a satin pillowcase and using microfiber towels may prevent split ends.
3. Hair Loss
It is normal to shed between 50 to 100 hair strands, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (6). Anything beyond this limit could mean that you have a hair loss issue. Generally, at the end of the telogen phase in the hair growth cycle, the old hair falls out and is replaced by new hair. Other than this normal cycle, you can experience hair loss due to several factors like medication, stress, sudden weight gain or loss, genetics, and scalp infections. You can also observe baldness in men (male pattern baldness) with age due to changes in hormone levels.
A number of disorders can cause hair loss. People who are suffering from an autoimmune disease, alopecia areata, can lose hair on their scalp. Other factors like using birth control pills, chemotherapy, blood pressure medication, and antidepressants can cause hair loss. You can observe hair thinning in women due to hormonal imbalance with age. Also, major surgeries, fungal infections, pregnancy, and childbirth, as well as deficiencies of vitamin D, B12, and zinc, can contribute to hair loss. Certain hair care practices, such as wearing a tight ponytail or regularly bleaching or perming the hair, can also lead to hair loss. Poor diet is also one of the major reasons for hair loss (7).
How To Fix It
- Massage your scalp with hot oils, like coconut oil, almond oil, or olive oil. You can also add a few drops of castor oil to these carrier oils.
- Switch to a mild shampoo.
- Minimizing the usage of heat styling tools can reduce hair loss.
- Foods that are rich in proteins can prevent hair loss (7).
- Try a hair loss shampoo that can remove dirt and extra oils from the scalp.
- If hair loss is due to any medicine, you can consult your doctor to discuss alternative medication.
- Hair loss due to male and female pattern baldness is permanent, but you can slow down this process with medicines like minoxidil (to treat both men and women) and finasteride (only for men) by prescription.
- In case of androgenic hair loss, women are prescribed anti-androgens that may reduce hair loss due to hormonal changes (8).
4. Premature Graying
The hair follicles contain melanin that gives the hair its color. With age, the hair can lose melanin, turning the strands silver or white. While this is common during old age, if you notice gray hair in your early 20s and 30s, it is known as premature graying. Genetics play a huge role in premature graying (9). If your parents had gray hair at an early age, chances are high that you will also experience premature graying.
Stress is another important factor that can trigger graying of hair at an early age (10). Vitamin and mineral deficiencies, chemicals, melanin deficiency, heat styling, and certain medical conditions can result in premature graying (7), (11). Furthermore, a build-up of hydrogen peroxide in the follicles is a possible cause of this disruption in melanin production (12). There is no permanent solution for premature graying of hair. But with regular hair care and following some remedies, you can slow down the process.
How To Fix It
- If you want to cover your gray hair, color it with semi- or demi-permanent hair dye. These dyes are less harsh than permanent hair dyes and contain fewer chemicals.
- Reducing your stress levels, less usage of heat styling tools, massaging your scalp with oil, and intake of a balanced diet can also prevent premature graying.
5. Frizzy Hair
Frizz refers to the strands of dry hair that stick out from the rest of your hair. This is due to the loss of moisture from the hair. Moisture loss damages the hair cuticles and hair shaft, while the heat from styling tools can damage the keratin layer. Frizz is also a result of a lack of a good hair care regimen. Frequent use of styling tools, chemicals, UV rays, constant dehydration, genetics, and humidity can cause frizzy hair.
How To Fix It
- Hair masks with natural ingredients that can help add moisture back into your hair are essential for fighting frizz.
- Leave-in conditioners and hair serums also helps in dealing with frizzy hair.
- Use a shampoo and conditioner set that is specially formulated for frizz control.
- If you want to blow-dry, your hair apply heat protectant prior to the process and use a boar bristle brush to avoid damage.
- Avoiding over-shampooing and bleaching your hair.
- Regular trimming and covering your hair with a scarf or hat can prevent frizzy hair.
- Loose braids and using microfiber towels can keep your hair healthy and frizz-free.
6. Damaged Hair
Is your hair looking dull, dry, and frizzy with split ends? These are all signs of damaged hair. Many things like heat styling, your hair grooming habits, perming, bleaching, chemicals, and environmental factors can wreak havoc on your hair. Damaged hair develops cracks in the outer layer of the hair shaft, which makes your hair difficult to manage.
Hair needs moisture, and lack of moisture can make your hair dry and brittle. Hair dyes that contain hydrogen peroxide open the cuticle and affect the hair structure. Frequent use of heat styling tools can also fry your hair. Furthermore, improper diet, wrong hair care practices, and stress are the other major causes of damaged hair. However, you can repair your damaged hair by providing nourishment and moisture in the form of hair masks. Scroll down to know more about damaged hair treatment options.
How To Fix It
- Provide essential moisture in the form of hair masks containing egg, olive oil, and avocado to your damaged hair (13), (14).
- You need to minimize the usage of heat styling tools as much as possible to avoid hair damage.
- It is necessary to follow a nutrient-rich diet that can make your hair healthy.
- Trim your damaged ends (split ends) every 3 weeks.
- Start using a deep conditioner that can soften your hair.
- Don’t wash your hair daily, and use a mild sulfate-free shampoo.
- Give your hair a break between hair treatments like hair coloring and perming.
7. Dry Hair
Hair that lacks natural oil looks rough and is termed as dry hair. Lack of moisture in the scalp causes dry flakes. Dry hair is brittle, appears dull, and is prone to more tangles. Frequent shampooing, over-coloring, perming, and excessive heat styling can cause dry hair. Over-washing your hair with shampoos can strip away natural oils from your scalp and make your hair dry. Also, the use of chlorinated or hard water and vitamin deficiencies result in dry hair.
How To Fix It
- Scalp massage with hot hair oils can enhance blood circulation and provide essential moisture and nourishment to your hair.
- Deep conditioning hair masks can help in dealing with dry hair.
- A gentle shampoo and hair care products with essential proteins and minerals can also help replenish dry hair.
- Intake of a nutrient-rich diet, using chemical-free products, and minimizing the usage of heat styling tools can prevent dry hair issues.
8. Greasy Hair
Excess sebum can make your hair oily. Sebum is produced by the sebaceous glands that nourish and protect your hair. However, sometimes these glands produce extra oil, which can lead to greasy hair. Over-washing of hair can lead to excess oil production. Sebaceous glands produce more oils to compensate for the natural oil that shampooing strips off. This condition results in greasy hair. The accumulation of dirt due to oiliness causes dandruff and itchiness, which, in turn, results in hair fall.
Furthermore, hormonal imbalances, humidity, junk food, frequent brushing of hair, genetics, excess product build-up, and over-conditioning of your hair are the other reasons for greasy hair.
How To Fix It
- Avoid washing your hair daily. Limit it to twice or thrice a week.
- Switch to clarifying shampoos as they wash out the excess oil and product build-up from the hair.
- The intake of healthy food like green veggies and a nutrient-rich diet, avoiding excess hair styling, and rinsing your hair with cold water can solve your greasy hair problem.
9. Hair Breakage
Generally, hair breaks when it is dry and brittle. Each hair strand has overlapping scales, and when these scales become weak, your hair becomes prone to breakage. If you are experiencing hair breakage, you can observe short hair strands, rough texture, split ends, and brittle hair.
Dryness is the primary cause of hair breakage. Over-processing your hair with chemicals, colors, bleach, harsh brushing, aggressive drying techniques, eating disorders, and heat styling are other causes of hair breakage.
How To Fix It
- Always comb your hair gently with a wide-toothed comb.
- Massage your scalp with hot hair oils that stimulate blood circulation and provide nourishment to the hair.
- Condition your hair every time your wash it.
- Don’t blow-dry your hair on a high heat setting.
- Getting regular trims will eliminate split ends and reduce hair breakage.
10. Hair Thinning
Is your hair losing its volume and thickness? It is normal to shed some hair every day, but excessive hair loss leads to hair thinning, resulting in baldness or androgenetic alopecia. Medical conditions, hormonal imbalances, stress, pregnancy, genetics, and sudden weight loss can cause hair thinning (15), (16), (17), (18). Autoimmune disorders like alopecia areata can also trigger hair loss (19).
Furthermore, tight hairstyles, excess production of the dihydrotestosterone (DHT) hormone, and poor diet can result in hair thinning.
How To Fix It
- Consult your doctor to identify the root cause of your hair thinning problem and treat it.
- Do scalp massages with hot oils regularly. They stabilize the hair loss and help in hair regrowth, especially in people suffering from alopecia areata (20).
- Taking vitamin supplements and topical application of minoxidil can promote hair growth (21).
- Also, anti-thinning shampoos can help in reducing hair thinning.
Hair problems certainly vary from person to person, but you can repair some common hair issues by following simple tips. Following a proper hair care routine, minimizing the use of heat styling tools, and consuming nutrient-rich food are effective solutions for many hair care issues. However, always be cautious and consult a doctor if you need further assistance.
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