Do you have dry, damaged, frizzy hair? Does it look like it’s given up on life? Maybe it couldn’t take years of bleaching, straightening and vigorous brushing. It’s okay, we can take steps towards a healthier head of hair with the right education. In this article, we’re going to learn all about hair breakage and how it happens. It might not be such a mystery, after all.
📌 To learn more, read our article about Split Ends.
What is Hair Breakage?
Hair breakage refers to hair strands that have internal, structural damage. It’s very pronounced and hard to hide. This can occur anywhere throughout the hair, from root to ends. The damage that the hair suffers from gives it a very weak and brittle look.
Breakage can affect any and all hair types. However, longer and thinner hair types the most vulnerable. Longer hair strands have more surface area and have to be looked after more often. When it comes to thin hair, the strands are very sensitive and can easily snap under pressure. The image below shows a healthy hair strand versus a broken one. You’ll notice how frayed and brittle the strand on the left looks compared to the right side. The dramatic display in the image actually mirrors how serious this condition is.
Brittle hair is very susceptible to breakage. In any event of stress or strain, it can snap and break instead of bending like a healthy strand. It should also be noted that treating hair breakage is very difficult. The best way to “deal” with hair breakage is prevention. Better to keep your hair strong and treat it right, rather than trying to fix extreme damage.
You can easily tell if whether you have breakage or not. Determining the type of fallout you experience is a good way to start. People with healthy hair will have, on average, 150 to 200 strands of fallout a day. However, the fallen hair doesn’t break from the middle of the hair shaft. Instead, it breaks off at the root, which is the weakest point. Another way to tell is to check for moisture. Breakage causes the strands to lose a lot of hydration. This leaves the strands to be extremely dry and frizzy.
Sadly, there are many ways you can subject your hair to breakage. There are a wide variety of mistakes to avoid to maintain a full, healthy head of hair. Let’s dive in.
First of all, and perhaps the most boring one, would be your diet. Healthy hair obtains the required nutrients from the food that enters your body. A rich, healthy diet leads the cuticle to be strong and resilient. Another very effective factor is mental and physical problems. If you’re subjected to a lot of stress, it takes it’s toll on your hair. Medical disorders (such as thyroid) can also make your strands very weak.
The type of treatments you use on your hair are also a major factor. Any shampoo or conditioner that contains Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS) strips the hair of natural oils. It can be irritating to the scalp and can disrupt the pH level. Leaving the hair defenseless, it can lead to breakage.
Any type of heat you apply to the hair is also at play. This includes blow-drying, hair straightening or curling devices. Constant exposure to high heat breaks the hair quicker than anything else.
Lastly, bleaching! Otherwise known as hydrogen peroxide, this powerful chemical alters the hair structure permanently. In the meantime, it can cause irreversible damage. Best to stay as far away from it as possible.
📌 Click here to read our article about 7 Debunked Myths About Hair Health.
How to Fix It?
Bad news first; there is no actual way to reverse hair breakage. As the damage is structural and very serious, our best bet is to chop off the damaged ends and treat the rest. Now for the good news! If you follow the advice we’re about to offer, it’s actually fairly easy to keep your hair healthy. You only have to avoid doing like a million things.
Let’s start easy, get an adequate shampoo and conditioner. Some SLS-free shampoos you can look into are Ursa Major, Playa, Prose, Briogeo, Reverie and Mother Dirt. You’re also going to want to brush your hair the right way. Start by sectioning your hair, and start brushing from the bottom and work your way up. After showering, do not towel dry your hair. It’s very harsh and unforgiving. Instead, plop your hair up in a 100% cotton shirt for a few hours.
When styling your hair, it’s always best to keep away from heat treatments. But, if you must, make sure to apply heat protectant to your hair beforehand. Don’t use the small, cheap elastics you bought 5 years ago. Instead, get some cute fabric scrunchies. Unlike other hair ties, it doesn’t cause breakage and is very soft on the hair.
When you go to sleep at night, you have to protect you hair. Tossing and turning in your sleep doesn’t help your poor hair at all. If you can, invest in silk pillowcases. Not only does it not cause breakage, it also prevents your hair from getting frizzy! But your hair in a loose braid every night before bed. If you have shorter hair, silk caps would also be a great idea.
📌 Click here to read our article about 7 Habits That Damage Hair Health.