Learn what causes hair damage and how to prevent it from happening. Also check out tips to prevent hair from breaking off.
From dry hair to hair breakage, frizz to split ends, the types of damage that can affect the hair are many and there are plenty of reasons why hair damage takes place.
Well, we all love and admire people with lovely locs and wonder how they maintain their locs so perfectly. Indeed, keeping hair “damage-free” is definitely a hard task, but it is possible!
All you need to figure out first, is what kind of damage does your hair have, how was that damage caused and then use simple methods to help reduce and prevent such damage in future.
Check out this article for all the possible causes of hair damage and ways to reduce and prevent them.
Related: Types Of Hair Damage
Related: Best Protein Hair Masks for Damaged Hair
Related: How To Prevent Heat Damage
What Causes Hair Damage
You Use A Lot Of Heat Styling Tools
Heat styling tools are one of the most common and major reasons for why hair gets damaged.
When we talk about heat styling tools, we aren’t just talking about hair straighteners and curling irons; we are also talking about blow dryers!
Any type of heat styling tool can damage your hair because heat makes the hair extremely dry and this is because heat can cause a permanent change in the protein (keratin) bonds in one’s hair.
So this means that the hair will not only become dry and frizzy, but will also lose its elasticity and sheen over time.
Tight Hairstyles Are Your Favorite
Tight hair updos can be really damaging to the hair. This includes tight hair buns, ponytails, braids, cornrows etc.
When the hair is pulled tightly to be styled and the hairstyle is left on for too long, over time the hair will develop a condition called traction alopecia.
This is a condition that causes hair loss, which is most often irreversible in severe cases.
Traction alopecia causes permanent damage to the hair follicles in the scalp. So the only way out is not to keep tight hairstyles on for too long and let your hair loose.
You Run Your Comb Through Wet Hair
Many people do not realize this and think that combing out their wet hair after a shower will help them get rid of their tangles easily.
What is important to know here is that after a shower, the hair follicles/pores on the scalp open up. This means the hair arising from those hair follicles aren’t held strong and are at their weakest.
At this point, any sort of tugging at the hair strands will immediately lead to hair fall or hair breakage. So at no time combing hair after a hair wash is recommended.
If you really have to comb your hair after a shower, wait till it is semi-dry.
Also make sure to use a wide-tooth comb and gently comb your hair working your way up from the bottom to the top. Doing so ensures that there is lesser pressure on the hair roots, so as to avoid hair damage.
Shampoos You Use Contains Sulfates and Chemicals
Most often we use shampoos that are non-organic and contain harsh chemicals like parabens, sodium laureth sulfate (SLS), phthalates, formaldehyde, dimethicone etc., which can be very damaging to the hair.
Sulfates can strip the hair off all its moisture along with the dirt and buildup, as they are cleansing agents.
On the other hand, dimethicone can leave toxic residue on the scalp and prevent the entry of moisture into the hair strand, making the hair dry, frizzy and brittle.
You Have Terrible Eating Habits
A lot of people do not have a balanced diet, but instead eat junk food, feast on sugary foods and drinks and consume a lot of carbohydrates.
When the body doesn’t have a good diet and intake of food, it automatically affects the hair from within.
An improper diet can lead to hair loss and make the hair brittle and more prone to damage over time.
Therefore, consuming nutrient rich food that has all the vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates (as much as it’s necessary) and minerals, which will help prevent hair damage and improve hair strength and growth.
Bleaching And Coloring Your Hair Is Your Favorite Thing To Do
Dyeing and bleaching of human hair are two of the most damaging factors to hair. In order to dye your hair, you would most often require to bleach it first.
Bleach contains chemicals called ammonia and peroxide that can be extremely harsh on the hair.
Also, bleach is used as a lightening agent and has to break the protein bonds in the hair strand in order to get rid of the existing color pigments in the hair.
When the hair is bleached, it will dry out the hair completely and make the hair become frizzy, brittle and more prone to damage.
You Don’t Moisturize!
If you have noticed your hair becoming frizzy or looking dry and rough with no more luster and shine, then it is quite clear that your hair is under-moisturized.
This means that your hair lacks sufficient hydration. When the hair is dry, it will succumb to frizz and hair breakage very easily.
You’ve Got Hormonal Issues
Facing hormonal changes due to puberty, stress, menopause, pregnancy and child birth etc., are normal. When there are hormonal changes taking place, it can have an adverse effect on the hair.
The hair can become dry, brittle and begin to look extremely dull with lost luster and shine. There will be reduced hair growth and the person might experience more hair shedding than normal.
Trimming Hair? What’s That?
It is important that your hair should be trimmed at least once every two to three months and this is because when the hair isn’t trimmed or cut, the lower ends of the hair tend to become dry and succumb to split ends.
When these split ends aren’t trimmed off, they will begin to creep up to the rest of the strand and further damage the hair, by splitting the hair strand and causing it to break over time.
Stress Is Your Middle Name
Stress is more likely the root cause of most issues in my opinion and in this case, hair damage. The main type of hair damage stress can cause is hair loss.
When the body goes through extreme increased levels of stress, it will result in a hair condition called telogen effluvium.
This is a condition that causes the hair follicles to be pushed into a state of rest prematurely (and not as per the normal hair cycle) and eventually those strands of hair will begin to fall out.
So this means that the person will experience excessive temporary hair loss, which can last even up to 4 to 6 months.
How To Prevent Hair Breakage And Damage
Keep Hair Hydrated
Make sure to keep your hair sufficiently hydrated at all times. When the hair is well hydrated, the hair will not be dry and this can save the hair from a lot of hair damage.
So always remember to oil your hair from time to time and never skip conditioning your hair after washing it with a shampoo.
Take It Easy With The Heat
Using heat styling tools should be avoided for the most part, but if you have to use one whenever necessary, then remember to use a good heat protectant spray or gel on your hair before you begin the process.
This will help protect the hair and reduce the intensity of the hair damage.
Also, if you choose to use a blow dryer, use it on low/medium heat or even better, you can simply use the cool setting on your hair dryer, to dry your hair.
Avoid Ammonia And Bleach
If you decide to bleach and dye your hair, try using an ammonia-free bleach as far as possible.
Yes, ammonia-free hair dyes and bleach are just as effective as the ones that contain ammonia.
While they are on the expensive side, as compared to the bleaches with ammonia, they can save your hair from extensive damage. So it is totally worth the price you’re paying.
Going Organic Is The Way!
Go in for shampoos that contain no sulfates and parabens or simply buy organic or all-natural shampoos.
Trust me, they can do wonders for your hair. Just think of all the hair damage you can save your hair off, the next time you go shampoo shopping.
Plop Your Hair or Air Dry
Once you have washed your hair, instead of blow drying your hair, you can simply use a microfiber towel to dry your hair and then let it loose to be air dried.
There is nothing better than “letting your hair down” (like actually) and air drying it. It will help reduce your hair damage to a considerable extent.
Dry Shampoos Are Your Friend
I know I’ve already told you about avoiding shampoos that contain sulfates, but here’s another important aspect about hair washing, in general.
Irrespective of the type of shampoo you are using, do not over wash your hair.
It will strip your hair of its natural oils and make your hair become overly dry.
So wash your hair just a few times a week and maybe use a dry shampoo in between washes (if you really need to of course).
Summary On The Causes Of Hair Damage
The causes of hair damage are many and each person may have a different reason for why their hair is damaged.
So it is important to figure out the right reason as to what is causing your hair to get damaged and work on ways to protect your hair from damage.
But as a general reminder, remember to always have a balanced diet, use the right hair products, keep your hair well-moisturized, avoid tight hair updos and stay away from heat styling tools as far as possible.
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