What Causes Hair Breakage and How To Fix It

What Causes Hair Breakage and How To Fix It

There are many, many causes for hair breakage, and often your hair could say, it's not me, it's you.

Of course, there are some causes for hair breakage which are out of our control, i.e. genetics and medical conditions.

But, too often we are breaking our hair (and hearts) under the guise of #livingourbestlives.

From hot styling to too many cocktails and bad (yummy) food, the list of reasons your hair might be breaking is very long.

... You know, like your hair used to be?

Welp.

To make things a little easier for you, I've done the research.

Check out these common causes for hair breakage and how to fix it.

 

causes for hair loss

@ayanahairdesign wears the MEDIUM halo in col. Beige + Dark Blonde 613/10

 

Nine Causes for Hair Breakage 

1. Too Hot Too Handle

Literally.

So put the straightener down and back away.

Heat styling is one of the leading causes for hair breakage.

Especially if you're not using your heat protection spray!

Which, of course, you all are, right?

If you're not, then get out.

Not really, just start using a heat protection spray, and I'll forgive you.

Although a heat protection spray is not entirely preventative.

In fact, the only way to avoid heat damage is to avoid heat styling, altogether.

Wait, what?

Now I'm not suggesting you throw out your GHD or ditch the Mermaid Waver.

But you may want to consider cutting back your heat styling to maybe once a week?

Sounds crazy, I know.

Especially if you're used to straightening your locks every day.

If cutting back sounds too hard, then stick to tools with temperature gauges.

Temperature gauges let you, well gauge the temperature and keep it low.

This means you can cut down on heat without actually ditching your curler.

But if you're losing too much hair embracing your natural locks might be worth it.

 

via GIPHY

 

Especially as, heat styling, according to professional stylist Melanie Pellegrini, is one of the main reasons your hair is breaking.

So, why is heat styling so bad for your hair?

One of the significant reasons heat styling causes hair breakage is, heat weakens and dries out the cuticles of your hair.

This causes your strands to become brittle and break.

Another reason heat causes hair breakage is, hot tools break down your hair's Keratin proteins and hydrogen bonds.

As their name suggests, hydrogen bonds, "bond" your hair.

Literally, they hold your hair fibres together.

Keratin, which you may know from your stylist trying to sell it to you after every appointment, is a protective protein which makes up about 90% of your hair's composition.

So basically, these are two pretty important things when it comes to your hair's health.

And heat kills them both.

Again, you don't need to cut out heat styling all together just try to cut back.

Skip the daily blow-dry and maybe take your hairdresser up on the Keratin treatment after all.

Read: How To Create Heatless Curls

 

causes for hair breakage dark brown halo hair extensions

@mariathattil wears the Thick Halo in Col. Light + Medium Brown #4/6

 

3. Hell no H2O

And by that, I mean hell yes H2O because your hair needs hydration.

Dehydration is another major cause for hair breakage.

Our bodies are 78% water, yet, because humans are poorly built machines, we still need to consume additional water to keep everything functioning properly.

This is especially important for healthy cell growth, which in turn is especially vital for healthy hair growth.

Your hair gets thirsty and not in the way I am for Harry Styles, but in the way, I am the morning after eight cocktails and zero litres of water.

Much less fun.

Now mild dehydration will only cause your locks to look and feel slightly less luscious, so forgetting to drink your water now and again is fine.

But constant or severe dehydration? Now, this is a problem.

When your hair is continuously deprived of moisture, it dries out, becoming weak and brittle.

And can you guess what that causes?

BREAKAGE!

This is also because of your hair's composition.

A hair shaft is made up of 1/3 water, which needs to be replenished regularly to grow new hair cells.

So when you don't drink enough, your cells don't regenerate, which means your locks become weaker and weaker the longer they're deprived of water.

You might be thinking, "but I drink enough water, so I'm fine."

Right?

Wrong.

Sorry to flood you with bad news but, even if you are drinking your two litres or more of water a day, you're still at risk of dehydration. 

 

via GIPHY

Chemical hair products, the sun and even air conditioners and heaters contribute to fluid loss.

Coffee, alcohol, fruit juices, carbonated drinks and other high sugar liquids can also cause dehydration.

So if you're a fellow caffeine fiend, enjoy a sneaky wine with dinner, or blast the heater all day you may want to up your water intake to compensate.

Or put a jumper on...

But, again, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, you can drink too much water.

You should aim for three, but no more than five litres of water per day.

Or you can calculate your optimum water intake here.

You can also hydrate your hair externally using hair masks, treatments and specialised shampoos and conditioners.

Whip yourself up this hydrating hair mask at home using these yummy treats: 

  • One banana
  • One avocado
  • Two tablespoons of coconut oil.

Blend until the mixture is smooth, apply to dry or damp hair for 20-30 minutes and rinse with warm water.

Read: How To Hydrate Your Hair By Type 

 

causes for hair breakage blonde halo hair extension

@makeupbyameliawebb wears the Medium Halo in col Beige Blonde 613.

 

4. Embrace Your Inner Hippie

If you needed another reason to go chemical-free or at least cutback, here it is.

We all know that chemicals are harmful to our skin, hair and insides, but we continue to consume and lather ourselves in them daily.

But did you know chemicals can cause some severe hair breakage?

And yes, even those found in products which claim to promote hair health and growth!

Chemical hair damage is mostly attributed to colours, perms and hair relaxants.

I.e. any substance which changes your hair's natural colour or texture.

But, anything containing chemicals is risky.

Your hair shaft is actually formed by dead cells.

Yes, you read that right.

These dead cells form the protective barrier around the cuticle and the medulla, and deeper inside the hair shaft, the cortex.

The cortex is essentially the boss, determining everything from the strength, colour and structure of your locks.

By design, these chemicals strip the hair shaft and break down the cuticle and medulla to expose the cortex to alter the colour and texture of your hair.

This is as brutal as it sounds.

This means that by exposing your hair to chemicals, you're literally breaking the molecular structure of your hair shaft.

So, in simpler terms, you're ripping your own hair apart strand by strand.

Even one instance of severe chemical exposure can damage your hair beyond repair.

... Just ask the girl who bleached her own hair in high school (you know the one).

This is why I strongly recommend going chemical-free if you can and seeing a professional for all chemical hair procedures!

If you can't afford a trip to the salon, at least pay attention to the products you choose.

Here's a handy guide to dying your hair at home.

 

causes for hair breakage

@raw_edge wears the THICK Halo in col. Platinum Blonde #60

 

5. No Worries

Stress is known to cause hair breakage.

But do you know why?

Have you heard of a condition called telogen effluvium?

What the efflu-ing is that?

Well, telogen effluvium is a condition which causes temporary hair loss due to stress.

Ok, a few different things can cause this condition, but physical and emotional stress is definitely the most common. And trauma, which is in essence extreme stress.

Sudden, severe or prolonged stress can cause your system to go all kinds of crazy.

Stress affects everything from our weight to our skin and ALL of our cycles.

Menstrual, sleep and, and yes, our hair growth cycle.

Enter telogen effluviam.

Stress can cause your hair growth cycle to prematurely enter its resting phase, and stay there for longer than it should.

(Kind of like me when I'm in my "resting phase" watching Netflix... on the couch.. for 8 hours straight)

Because your hair cycle is stuck resting, it does not grow new healthy hair cells.

This causes your locks to weaken and break.

It also means the breakage is not being regrown.

So, like your ex, your locks are leaving you, and they're not coming back!

But, calm your farm because, just like your heartbreak over your latest Tinder Chad, this too shall pass.

Chad might not come back (good riddance) but your hair soon will!

As I mentioned before, hair breakage due to stress is more often than not temporary.

So, here's a handy tip to handle stress.

Are you ready?

It's super innovative, and you've probably never heard it before... but... 

Calm down.

Did it work? 

Are you cured of all anxiety and stress-free with long luscious locks?

No?

I didn't think so, because not once in the history of the known universe has telling someone to calm down actually ever helped them calm down.

But, what you should do is address the root cause of the stress, especially if it is prolonged or something you regularly experience.

I'd advise seeing your GP. Or try meditation.

Read: 10 Healthy Hair Tips To Apply To Bring Your Hair Back To Life

 

cause for hair breakage the bachelor elly miles blonde halo hair extensions

@ellymiles wears the Thick Halo in Col. Beige Blonde #613.

 

6. Doctor, Doctor

Your hair's health is often dependant on your health.

So underlying medical conditions can of be causes for hair breakage.

Medical issues causing hair loss is especially prominent in women, as are most of the underlying conditions which cause it.

So, listen up, ladies.

Hair loss causing health issues can range from mild to extremely serious and be chronic or acute.

Telogen effluvium, as mentioned above, is an example of an acute medical cause for hair breakage. However, if the condition exceeds six months, it is classified as chronic.

One of the most common medical reason for hair loss in women is thyroid issues.

Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland) causes extreme weight loss, anxiety, increased heart rate and several other horrid things.

While Hypothroidsim, (underactive thyroid) causes weight gain, lethargy, sensitivity to cold and more.

But, they both cause hair loss.

This is because Thyroid disease prevents your endocrine system from function correctly, which causes your hair to weaken and break more easily.

The condition also interrupts your hair growth cycle, meaning the hair you lose, does not grow back at its regular rate.

But in some good news, this is usually temporary.

Once you get your thyroid under control, the hair loss will subside.

Some other medical causes for hair breakage are;

  • Lupus
  • Alopecia
  • Eating Disorders
  • Burning Scalp Syndrome
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
  • Trichotillomania

If you are experiencing abnormal hair loss accompanied by other symptoms, you should see your GP.

Read: What Causes Thin Hair And How To Get Your Thick Locks Back

 

causes for hair breakage before and after halo hair extensions

The MEDIUM Halo in col. Dark Blonde + Light Brown #610.

 

7. Feed Your Hair

You are what you eat strongly applies to your hair.

In fact, diet is one of the single most significant causes for hair breakage - along with genetics.

If you are not feeding your hair what it needs to thrive, it will not grow up to be big and strong.

Or in hair's case, thick and long.

In fact, if your diet is not hair-friendly, your hair will become weak, brittle, dull and die.

Literally.

Just like the rest of our body, our hair needs fuel.

But, did you know if you are not eating enough or enough good stuff, your body will allocate the nutrients to the most critical areas?

Which, rudely enough, does not include your hair.

Soz, but the heart, lungs, kidneys, etc., kind of trump your locks.

This is why when you're malnourished, even slightly you'll notice your hair and nails thinning much sooner than you'll experience other symptoms.

So a properly balanced diet is essential for healthy, strong and shiny hair.

So, what foods are good for your hair?

The best foods for healthy hair and hair growth are:

  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Eggs (although can cause other issues, e.g. hormone imbalance, etc.)
  • Berries
  • Spinach
  • Fatty fish, Oysters and Shrimp (eat in moderation as seafood contains high levels of mercury).
  • Sweet Potato
  • Avocado
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Peppers
  • Legumes
  • Soybeans (eat in moderation)
  • Lean meat or high protein vegan alternatives such as Tofu or Tempeh

Read: 7 Foods you're eating that are killing your hair gains.

 

causes for hair breakage

@shimmamarie wears the Medium Halo in Col. Medium Brown #4 Styled by @emmachenartistry

 

8. Shake It

One of the more surprising causes for hair breakage is the humble towel.

Now I know nothing feels better than getting out of the steamy shower with freshly washed hair and giving it a good ol' rub down with a trusty towel.

But, STOP THAT.

Right now.

I mean it.

Put the towel down.

They play way too rough with our fragile locks, and it's time for towels to G-O.

Towel drying hair leads to excessive hair breakage.

This is because the rough surface of the towel pulls the hair downwards, causing it to break.

It also creates friction on the cuticles, weakening them and causes them to open.

Hair is also more elastic when it's wet, and therefore more prone to breakage, so this is just a recipe for disaster.

So drop the towel and let your locks loose.

And by that I mean let them air dry.

This is the safest way to dry your hair, but if you're short on time, you can still use your blow dryer.

Just leave it until last, let your hair dry about 70-80% so that it is less elastic when you're blow-drying.

Oh, and don't forget your heat protection spray!

If you're in no rush, but don't want to drip everywhere, wrap your hair in an old cotton t-shirt or microfibre cloth.

These materials are much more gentle on your locks and won't cause breakage, or frizz, bonus!.

Read: 10 Frizzy Hair Home Remedies You Can Try This Weekend

 

casues for hair breakage halo hair extensions

the FINE halo col Light Brown 6 Styled by @hairsociety.gc

 

9. Let Your Hair Down

Seriously, that hair elastic is wrecking your hair.

If you're anything like me, you spend 80% of your life with your hair in a weird bun.

Correct?

I assume so.

But did you know hair ties are a common cause for hair breakage?

Unfortunately, it is true.

A lot of hair ties place extra pressure on your scalp and hair cuticles.

You probably notice that some strands fall out whenever you take your hair out of a ponytail, this is because the hair tie is literally, pulling on your locks.

BUT WHAT ABOUT MY MESSY BUN?! NOOO.

Don't fret you can still rock your top knot, just maybe not every day?

... I write while wearing a top knot which has been in for a week.

.... Genuinely wondering how I am not bald.

Try cutting back the updos to a few times a week and letting your locks down for the rest.

When you do wear your hair up, try to resist the urge to pull it back and secure it as tight as humanly possible.

Keep it lose and keep your locks.

Also, make sure you are using good quality hair ties.

Steer clear of elastics and opt for plastic bobbles or material hair ties.

Read: 10 Hairstyles You Can Achieve With Hair Extensions

 

causes for hair breakage

 @janellemyh wears the Thick Halo in Col. Beige + Dark Blonde #613/10

 


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Written by Kaitlyn

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