Hair damage is the most common hair problem, and it affects everybody. Your hair undergoes serious damage every day due to exposure to UV rays, pollution, stress, and other factors. If hair damage is not addressed, it can lead to hair loss and baldness. While there is no overnight solution to treat damaged hair, there are some hair care tips that can help rejuvenate damaged strands.
In this article, we will look at the factors causing hair damage and how you can treat it. Read on to know more.
Table Of Contents
What Is Damaged Hair?
Hair damage occurs when there is some weathering of the hair shaft, leading to tangling and frizzing. It may also lead to scaling of the cuticles and cortex damage and hair fracture if not treated in time (1), (2). It can manifest itself in the form of split ends, hair breakage, early graying, hair thinning, or hair fall.
There are many signs that let you know your hair is damaged. They are listed below.
Signs Of Damaged Hair
- Split ends
- Hair thinning
- Hair breakage
- Early greying
- Weathered or faded hair
- Hair not growing
What causes hair damage? Read on to know.
What Causes Hair Damage?
- Stress: Emotional, physical, and psychological stress can cause hair damage (3). This is because stress increases free radical production. Free radicals can cause hair fall and hair damage.
- Wet Hair: Hair is porous and absorbs water easily. Excess water can cause the hair shaft to swell, which may lead to hair damage and breakage. Too much water also weighs the hair down, which may lead to hair fall.
- UV Rays: Regular exposure to the sun can cause serious hair damage. The UV rays cause regular weathering of hair, such as hair fiber friction.
- Styling Tools: Tools like curls and irons that use heat to style hair can cause severe hair damage (4), (5). Although it might not be seen immediately, the damage grows with the use of these tools and can cause hair to become dry and brittle.
- Hair Coloring: Hair coloring agents can cause severe hair damage by making the hair strands weak (6). The chemicals used to color hair enter the hair shaft and make hair weak from within.
- Hair Bleaching: Bleaching agents make the hair extremely weak with each application (2). They are known to cause hair damage like breakage, split ends, and dry and dull hair. They may also cause hair fall. Bleaching agents enter the hair shaft and change its melanin structure to make it lighter. This makes hair very weak and prone to severe damage.
- Chemicals: Relaxers and perms use chemicals like formaldehyde to change the structure of your hair from within (2). This causes serious hair damage like hair fall, split ends, hair breakage, and hair thinning. It can also cause burns on the scalp. Other hair care products like shampoos and conditioners often use chemicals that change the pH of the scalp and hair, causing hair damage.
- Pollution: Everyday pollution can cause hair health to deteriorate. Although its effects are not seen immediately, the damage builds up and can cause hair fall.
- Hairstyles: Hair loss is often caused by hair breakage due to tight hairstyles. Tight hairstyles pull the hair at the roots and cause it to break. This can also prevent hair from regrowing, which causes balding and alopecia.
- Fungal Infections: Fungal Infections like dandruff cause flaking and even hair damage. They can cause dirt and flakes to build up at the pores, causing hair fall.
- Premature Graying Of Hair: Early graying of hair can cause hair to fall. It can also make hair weak and thin.
Now that you know what causes hair damage, here are some tips to help you maintain your hair and repair the damage.
Tips To Care For Damaged Hair
- Massage your scalp with oil. It improves blood circulation, which may help stimulate hair growth (7). It also increases hair thickness, length, and density.
- Oil your hair regularly to strengthen and nourish your scalp and hair. Coconut oil is known to penetrate the hair shaft and nourish hair from within (8). It prevents hair damage, even from heat. Olive oil is also known to moisturize and condition the scalp and hair, improving their quality (9).
- Use organic products instead of harsh chemicals. Opt for home remedies instead of chemicals that damage your hair. It will benefit you in the long run.
- Dilute your shampoo in water to minimize the concentration of chemicals in the shampoo.
- Deep condition your hair with protein packs and hair masks. Masks and protein packs are filled with nutrients that can repair damage and rejuvenate your hair.
- Comb and dry your hair gently. Brushing harshly causes more damage to your hair. Comb your hair gently from the top, moving down, or vice versa.
- Lay off any styling tools for at least a month to repair hair damage. Once your hair is rejuvenated, limit the use of hair styling tools as much as possible.
- Lay off any chemical treatments like relaxers and perms. Allow your hair to get back to its natural style.
- Use keratin-based products as your hair is mainly comprised of keratin.
- Eat healthily. Your diet affects your hair as much as your hair care routine does. Use supplements to manage nutrient deficiencies. Add protein, minerals, and essential fats to your diet.
- Wear scarves and hats when going out in the sun to protect your hair. You can also use heat protection serums that are light and suited to your hair.
- Buy products suited to your hair type. If you have straight but dry hair, or wavy but brittle hair, or colored hair, buy products that cater to those needs.
Remember, treating damaged hair is not something that can be done overnight or even in a week. But you can revive your hair with a little extra care and effort. Incorporate the tips mentioned above in your hair care routine to reclaim the health of your hair.
- Robinson, Vivian. (1976). “A study of damaged hair.” J Soc Cosmet Chem. 27.
- Gavazzoni Dias, Maria Fernanda Reis. “Hair cosmetics: an overview.” International journal of trichology 7,1 (2015): 2-15.
- Carvalho Leite júnior, Ademir & Padovez, Fabiana & Bovcon, Maria & Terra, Marcos & Cisterna, Miguel & Santos, Rita & Barnabe, Shaila. (2013). “Hair loss as an expression of stress – psychosomatic concepts applied to trichology.”
- Lee, Yoonhee et al. “Hair shaft damage from heat and drying time of hair dryer.” Annals of dermatology 23,4 (2011): 455-62.
- McMullen, Roger & Jachowicz, J. (1998). “Thermal degradation of hair. I. Effect of curling irons.” Journal of Cosmetic Science. 49. 223-244.
- França Stefoni, Simone & Dario, Michelli & Esteves, Victoria & Baby, André & Velasco, Maria. (2015). “Types of Hair Dye and Their Mechanisms of Action.” Cosmetics. 2. 110-126.
- Koyama, Taro et al. “Standardized Scalp Massage Results in Increased Hair Thickness by Inducing Stretching Forces to Dermal Papilla Cells in the Subcutaneous Tissue.” Eplasty 16 e8. 25 Jan. 2016
- Rele, Aarti S, and R B Mohile. “Effect of mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil on prevention of hair damage.” Journal of cosmetic science 54,2 (2003): 175-92.
- Zaid, Abdel Naser et al. “Ethnopharmacological survey of home remedies used for treatment of hair and scalp and their methods of preparation in the West Bank-Palestine.” BMC complementary and alternative medicine 17,1 355.
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