Your hair is your crowning glory, and when it’s damaged, you want to do everything you can to repair it.
Whether your damage is due to heat styling, coloring, or everyday wear and tear, there are steps you can take to get your hair back to looking its best.
What Happens to Hair When It is Damaged?
When hair is damaged, the cuticle—the outermost layer of the hair shaft—is raised, allowing moisture and oils to escape. This can cause the hair to become dry, brittle, and frizzy. In extreme cases, damage can also lead to breakage.
When hair is damaged, it becomes more difficult to style and manage. In severe cases, it may be necessary to cut off damaged ends in order to encourage healthier growth.
By taking precautions and treating hair gently, it is possible to minimize damage and keep hair looking its best.
10 Possible Causes of Hair Damage
Most hair damage is irreversible and permanent, but there are ways to prevent it from happening in the first place, or at least minimize the amount of damage that occurs.
But what are some of the causes of hair damage?
Here are 10 possible causes and tips to help you avoid them:
1. Over-processing with chemicals such as bleaching, hair dyeing, straightening, and perming
Although these treatments may give you the desired results, they can be quite damaging to your strands.
Bleaching strips your hair of its natural pigment, leaving it susceptible to breakage.
Hair dyes can contain harsh chemicals that can dry out your hair and lead to split ends.
Perms use strong chemicals to break the bonds of your hair, which can cause thinning and breakage.
While these treatments may be necessary for some people, it is important to be aware of the potential risks before you undergo any type of chemical treatment.
How To Prevent Hair Damage From Chemicals
- Consider dyeing your hair closer to its natural shade to help limit damage.
- If you are going to have multiple treatments done, spread them out over time to give your hair a chance to recover in between.
- Use shampoo and conditioners that are gentle, moisturizing and sulfate-free that is designed for chemically treated hair.
- Test the hair dye on a small section of your hair before applying it all over to make sure you are not allergic to it.
2. Frequent heat styling with curling irons, flat irons, and blow dryers
Heat styling is a popular way to achieve the perfect hairstyle. However, frequent use of heat stylers can damage hair, making it dry, brittle, and difficult to style. The high temperatures strip away moisture from the hair shaft, causing it to become weak and prone to breakage.
In addition, the heat can distort the natural curl pattern of the hair, leading to frizz and flyaways.
Tips for Avoiding Heat Damage
- Let your hair air dry whenever possible instead of using heat styling tools.
- If you must use heat styling tools, make sure to use a heat protectant spray before applying any heat to your hair.
- Use the lowest setting possible on all heat styling tools.
- Limit your use of heat styling tools to a few times a week.
- Try to avoid using heat styling tools on wet hair, as this can cause even more damage.
- Styles that don’t require heat or chemicals, such as braids, twists, and buns, can help protect your hair from damage.
3. Excessive brushing or combing
Brushing and combing your hair is necessary to keep it looking its best. However, over-brushing can damage the hair shaft and lead to split ends.
In addition, excessive brushing can cause the hair to become frizzy and difficult to manage.
Tips for Avoiding brushing or combing Damage
- Start at the bottom of your hair and work your way up to avoid putting too much tension on your strands.
- Use a wide-toothed comb to avoid damaging the hair shaft.
- Be gentle when brushing or combing your hair to avoid breakage.
- Avoid brushing or combing it when it’s wet, and be careful not to tug or pull at it.
4. Exposure to sun, wind, and chlorine
Exposure to the sun, wind, and chlorine can cause the hair to become dry and brittle.
The sun’s ultraviolet rays can penetrate the hair shaft and damage the cells inside, causing the hair to become dry and dull.
Wind can also cause the hair to become dry and brittle, as it strips away moisture from the hair shaft.
Chlorine can strip away the natural oils from the hair, leaving it susceptible to damage.
Tips for Avoiding Damage of sun, wind, and chlorine
- Cover your hair with a scarf or hat when you are outdoors.
- Rinse your hair with clean water after swimming in a pool.
- Use a leave-in conditioner to help protect your hair from the sun, wind, and chlorine.
5. Tight hairstyles that pull on the hair (such as cornrows and ponytails)
Tight hairstyles that pull on the hair can damage the hair shaft and lead to breakage. In addition, these styles can cause scalp irritation.
6. Not getting enough protein
Hair is made up of protein, so it is important to include protein-rich foods in your diet to maintain healthy hair. Protein helps to build and repair the cells of the hair shaft, making it stronger and less susceptible to damage.
Good sources of protein include lean meats, poultry, fish, tofu, beans, lentils, and eggs. Protein supplements can also be beneficial for people who do not get enough protein in their diet.
7. Not getting enough vitamins and minerals
Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients that help to keep the hair healthy.
Vitamins A, C, and E are antioxidants that help to protect the hair from damage B vitamins are necessary for proper hair growth, and deficiencies can lead to hair loss. Iron is essential for the transport of oxygen to the hair follicles, and deficiencies can lead to hair loss.
8. Washing your hair too often
Washing your hair too often can cause the hair to become dry and brittle. The detergents in shampoo can strip away the natural oils from the hair, leaving it susceptible to damage.
In addition, washing your hair too often can strip away the natural pigment, causing it to become dull and lifeless. Washing your hair 2-3 times per week is sufficient to keep it clean and healthy.
9. Use of harsh shampoos or conditioners
Hair products that contain harsh chemicals can damage the hair. These chemicals can strip away the natural oils from the hair, leaving it dry and brittle. In addition, they can cause the hair to become frizzy and difficult to manage. Choose hair products that are free of harsh chemicals, such as sulfates and parabens.
In addition, these products can build up on the hair, leading to scalp irritation and hair loss.
Which Ingredients Are Bad for Your Hair?
Sulfates: Sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate are common ingredients in shampoos and other hair products. They are known to cause scalp irritation, dryness, and frizz.
Parabens: These are preservatives that are commonly used in hair products. They are known to cause irritation and skin allergies.
Harsh Chemicals: Other harsh chemicals that can damage the hair include alcohol, formaldehyde, dimethicone and phthalates.
9. Not getting enough sleep
Sleep is important for overall health, and it can also impact the health of your hair. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body is unable to produce the hormones necessary for proper hair growth. In addition, lack of sleep can lead to stress, which can impact the health of your hair. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night to maintain healthy hair.
Smoking is detrimental to overall health, and it can also impact the health of your hair. Smoking can cause the hair to become dry and brittle. In addition, it can cause the hair to become dull and lifeless. If you smoke, quitting is the best thing you can do for your hair—and your health.
11. Medical conditions
Certain medical conditions can damage the hair. Thyroid problems, alopecia, and scalp infections can all lead to hair loss. In addition, certain medications can cause the hair to become thin or fall out.
If you are experiencing hair loss, it is important to see a doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
How Do You Treat Damaged Hair?
1. Use a mild shampoo: Choose a shampoo that is free of harsh chemicals, such as sulfates and parabens. In addition, look for shampoos that are designed for dry or damaged hair.
2. Condition your hair: Conditioning your hair is important to help restore moisture and protect the hair from damage. Look for conditioners that contain natural oils, such as coconut oil or olive oil.
3. Use a leave-in conditioner: A leave-in conditioner can help to protect the hair from damage and keep it hydrated.
4. Avoid heat styling: Heat styling can damage the hair and make it more susceptible to breakage. If you must use heat styling, be sure to use a heat protectant.
4. Use a deep conditioning treatment: Deep conditioning treatments can help to repair damage and restore moisture to the hair.
6. Trim your hair regularly: Getting your hair trimmed every 6-8 weeks can help to get rid of split ends and damaged hair.
5. Avoid heat styling: Heat styling, such as blow drying and curling, can damage the hair. If you must use heat styling, use a heat protectant product to minimize the damage.
7. Let your hair air dry: Air drying is the best way to dry your hair to minimize damage. If you must use a blow dryer, be sure to use the lowest setting and hold the dryer at least six inches away from your hair.
8. Good nutrition: Eating a healthy diet is important for overall health, and it can also impact the health of your hair.
9. Reduce stress: Stress can impact the health of your hair. To reduce stress, consider yoga, meditation, or aromatherapy.
10. See a doctor: If you are experiencing hair loss, it is important to see a doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
The Benefits of Repairing Damaged Hair
When you take the time to repair damaged hair, you can enjoy a number of benefits. Here are just a few of the benefits that you may experience:
1. Healthier hair: When you repair damage, you can enjoy healthier hair overall.
2. Stronger hair: Damaged hair is more likely to break and become damaged further. By repairing the damage, you can help to strengthen the hair and prevent further breakage.
3. Shinier hair: Damaged hair often looks dull and lifeless. By repairing the damage, you can help to restore shine and luster to the hair.
4. Softer hair: Damaged hair is often dry and brittle. By repairing the damage, you can help to soften the hair and make it more manageable.
5. Longer-lasting hair color: If you color your hair, damaged hair is more likely to fade quickly. By repairing the damage, you can help to prolong the life of your hair color.
6. Fewer split ends: Split ends are a common problem for those with damaged hair. By repairing the damage, you can help to prevent split ends from forming.
7. Improved hair growth: When you repair damaged hair, you can improve the health of the scalp and follicles, which can lead to improved hair growth.
8. Decreased hair loss: Damaged hair is more likely to fall out. By repairing the damage, you can help to decrease hair loss.
9. Greater confidence: When you have healthy, damage-free hair, you may feel more confident and attractive.
10. Fewer trips to the salon: When you have healthy hair, you may not need to visit the salon as often for treatments or trims. This can save you time and money in the long run.
Damaged hair can often be restored to a certain extent with the right care, but it’s much easier to prevent damage from happening in the first place.
By following our tips for avoiding damage, you can keep your locks looking healthy and shiny for years to come.
Have you tried any of these methods for keeping your hair healthy? Let us know in the comments!