Hair Breakage - Causes Of Hair Breakage & Expert Tips To Fix It
Hair Breakage can happen to you despite your hair type or texture. It is very common and can sometimes feel equally difficult to fix.
If you’ve ever noticed hair ends starting to split, or have experienced uncontrolled fizz, you’ve experienced hair breakage. A healthy hair strand has an inner cuticle with overlapping scales that keeps the strand intact. When these scales scatter and fall apart, the hair becomes dry and the scales eventually separate, leading to damage. This damage shows up in the form of breakage, frizz, and dryness. If you experience the following, you’re having hair breakage –
- The appearance of split ends.
- Hair fallout in form of small, short, and broken pieces of hair.
- Hair becoming too dry.
- Hair getting tangled and difficult to comb too often.
- Hair at the crown feels brittle as compared to the hair at the neck.
Hair Breakage Reasons
The most common causes of hair breakage are discussed here.
Hair and skin health are greatly driven by the kind of food intake. Some nutrients protect the hair from damage and help it grow better. Your diet must have an adequate amount of iron, zinc, and folic acid. Also, a protein-rich diet that can also provide antioxidants strengthens the hair and prevents breakage.
Stress and hair loss go hand in hand. Stress is also a cause of hair breakage. Due to overstressing, hair follicles go dormant, and hair strands in the middle of growth break off.
Dryness precedes damage and breakage. Dry hair is caused by several natural factors such as dry weather, low humidity, and too much heat. Even harsh products that have chemical compounds can contribute to dryness. Using hot water for washing hair instead of lukewarm water also causes drying. If your hair ends are dry, you can let go of shampooing these areas. Also, do not skip the conditioner if you’re experiencing dryness in the hair.
- Heat Damage
The usage of styling tools such as flat iron, curling iron, and hairdryer is universal today. If these tools are used more frequently, the cuticles might get damaged due to exposure to high heat. The scales eventually fall apart and the hair breaks. You can opt for a heat-protecting spray to minimize the damage and avoid using such tools too often.
- Frequent processing
Frequently going for hair treatments and styling practices such as perming, colouring, straightening can damage the cuticle and cause hair breakage. These treatments expose the hair to harsh chemicals. You can try extending the duration between two such sessions to at least 2-3 months and use hair masks to nourish your hair in the meantime.
If you have oily hair, washing your hair daily may rid the excess sebum. However, in the case of dry hair, shampooing can be limited to once a week. Shampoos often contain chemicals and an over usage can damage the hair. If you have a persisting oily hair problem, you can opt for a dry shampoo.
Also Read : How Often Should You Wash Your Hair
- Improper drying
Improper rough rubbing of the towel on the hair can cause damage as wet hair is most vulnerable to damage. You can opt for a microfibre towel and use patting motion instead of rubbing motion. You can also leave the towel for some time on the hair to absorb excess water instead of rubbing it.
- Tying the hair
Tying up the hair too regularly not just pulls them from the roots, it also causes them to get tangled and break easily. You might notice some hair breakage every time you undo a ponytail or a hair tie. You can try wearing down the hair once in a while, losing up the up-do a bit.
- Incorrect brushing
Over combing or over-brushing causes hair breakage. You must brush the hair only when styling it and use it only when it is dry. You should opt for a brush with natural bristles and use a wide-toothed comb to prevent hair breakage. Remember that 100 strokes a day is a myth!
- Inadequate hair trims
Hair trims keep split ends off and avoids tangling of hair, preventing hair breakage. Not having a trim every 6-8 weeks can cause the split ends to travel up the length of your hair.
This is a low thyroid disorder and leads to dry, damaged hair. Other symptoms include low energy, weight gain, depression. If you see these symptoms get yourself checked on priority.
- Eating disorders
Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia nervosa lead to malnutrition. In these situations, the hair follicle is deprived of the nutrients essential for the healthy growth of the hair. This causes hair breakage even in the middle of the hair growth cycle. Such disorders can lead to extreme consequences and must be addressed immediately.
Hair Breakage Treatment
You can boost the health of your hair by switching to the right products and adopting the right practices. A few hair breakage solution are discussed here -
- Change haircare routine
Swap your current shampoo with products that are herbal or formulated to address the hair breakage issue. Always use a conditioner after shampooing. Skipping the conditioner causes damage as the conditioner helps reduce frizz and lend manageability.
- Redesign your diet
A lot starts with what your food intake looks like. If you are having hair breakage, you must include vitamins C, D3, biotin, omega-3, iron, and zinc in your diet. These are available as dietary supplements as well as in abundance in natural food options. Vitamin C aids collagen production, which is responsible to form the base of blood vessels. Vitamin D3 enhances the production of the protein keratin, which makes up the hair. Biotin improves hair growth. Including vitamins in the diet can prevent hair breakage considerably.
Stress is the main cause of hair fall and hair breakage. You must try to keep the stress levels in check. You can go for yoga and meditation. Engaging in a hobby also reduces stress levels.
- Deep condition your hair
During deep conditioning, the nutrients penetrate deep into the roots of the hair and repair the damage, replenishing the much-needed proteins and nutrients alongside. Deep conditioning frequently keeps the hair soft and is one of the best treatments for hair breakage.
- Use essential oils
Applying essential oils such as almond oil or chamomile oil can help in treating the hair breakage issue. You can use a carrier oil such as olive oil or coconut oil. Massage the scalp, leave it for about an hour and then wash off with a mild shampoo and conditioner.
Remember that the best products for hair breakage and loss are the products that suit your hair type.
Difference Between Hair Fall and Hair Breakage
Hair fall is a condition when the hair strands fall off from the root. The losing upto a 100 strands a day is normal hair fall. Certain conditions such as alopecia, hyperthyroidism, overstressing and certain practices such as over styling can aggravate hair loss. If you start to lose more than 150-200 strands of hair per day, then you are having abnormal hair loss.
Hair breakage, on the other hand, happens at the hair shaft and not the roots. You can identify hair breakage from prevalent split ends. This generally happens to dry and brittle hair. Hair breakage can be addressed easily. It does not cause balding and is not a problem as serious as abnormal hair loss.
Tips to Prevent Hair Breakage
To prevent hair breakage, you much make certain changes to your daily routine. This includes changes to hair care routine as well as certain daily practices. These are easy home remedies for hair breakage-
- Use a shampoo and conditioner whose formulation is gentle on the hair. Do not scrub too hard, preferably use fingertips to rub the scalp.
- Do not skip the conditioner after hair wash.
- Whenever going for a swim, use a hair cap and swimmers’ shampoo for post-swim hair wash.
- Do not scrub the hair dry using a towel. Try a cotton t-shirt and use a gentle tapping motion instead of scrubbing.
- Try to air dry the hair when possible – limit the use of a hot blow dryer.
- Brush your hair gently and avoid brushing too often.
- Avoid pulling hard while braiding or tying the hair – opt for wearing down the hair or loose braiding styles. Change your hairstyle to one that is gentler on the hair.
- Go for hair masks to keep the hair soft and pampered.
- Go for hair trimming the ends of the hair every 6-8 weeks.
- Use a heat protecting agent before blow-drying and styling.
- Sleep on a silk pillowcase to avoid roughing up the hair while sleeping or wrap up the hair in a silk scarf before sleeping.
- Have a balanced diet rich in vitamins.
Also Read : Vitamins For Hair Growth
Dry and frizzy hair means that you might be experiencing hair breakage. The good news is that hair breakage is easily addressable. It is recommended that you, eat good, maintain a good hair care routine and adopt a healthy lifestyle. This will provide your hair with the necessary nutrients and prevent breakage. If you see unusual hair breakage or abnormal hair loss, you must consult the dermatologist as this could be the symptom of an underlying medical condition.
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Dr. Jaspreet Sarna, M.D
Dr. Sarna is an MD (Skin & VD) with a decade-long experience in treating hair loss and working on hair regrowth. She believes stress management is the key to good health.