Many people experience hair breakage and it can happen for a ton of reasons. Sometimes it can be caused by the products and your general hair routine, or it could be a symptom of an underlying health issue. Either way, there are several habits and treatments you can take to stop further breakage. The right products and techniques can provide hair care without damaging your locks. Before we dive into how to stop hair breakage, we'll break down the causes of hair breakage.
What is hair breakage? Split ends, ragged strands, and snappable hair are tell-tale signs of hair breakage. The main difference between hair loss and hair breakage is where the hair falls off. Hair breakage usually happens in the middle of the strand rather than at the root, leading to frizz, split ends, and sparse spaces around the scalp.
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Causes of Hair Breakage
A bit of a chicken or the egg situation, if your hair is damaged, it'll cause breakage, but damaged hair is... hair that's started to break. Hair breakage can be easily caused by damaged hair due to excessive exposure to heat and chemicals. Substances that change your hair's natural colour or texture can alter the protective barrier around the cuticle, medulla, and cortex. Simply put, anything that changes your natural hair structure can weaken it severely.
Too Tight Ponytails and Buns
As much as we love the Bella Hadid snatched pony, hair ties can also be a common cause of hair breakage. Your classic fabric wrapped elastic place extra pressure on your hair cuticles and cause strands to fall out whenever you pull them off.
Brushing Your Hair When Wet
Hair is more elastic when it's wet, making it a serious cause for hair breakage. Brushes like WetBrush or Tangle Teezer help alleviate most breakage, but for the least amount of hair fall, let your hair dry 50-70% after washing!
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Severe Hair Breakage and Thinning
For those with severe hair breakage or noticeable thinning, the causes are usually more internal or health related. One of the most common reasons for hair loss and breakage is hormonal imbalances, like thyroid issues. Many hormone-related conditions can interrupt your hair growth cycle, meaning your hair may not grow back as frequently. Once hormonal imbalances are corrected, hair loss will often subside unless there's another cause at play.
Always, always reach out to a health care provider if you suspect you have severe breakage or thinning. It may be a more complex issue or a mixture of a few that are causing hair to act out.
Severe hair breakage and thinning may also be signs of:
- Eating Disorders
- Burning Scalp Syndrome
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
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Hair Breakage Treatments and Habits to Break
Use a Deep ConditionerGetting deep hydration into the hair shaft is an easy way to protect your hair from further damage and breakage. Start using a leave-in conditioner or mask to help boost your hair's hydration levels. While a mask can't necessarily reverse the damage, it can keep the strands and new growth nice and healthy.
Air Dry and Embrace Your Natural StrandsTo help rebuild your hair's strength, give your hot tools and at-home dyes a break. If you must use your beloved straightener or curler, make sure you apply a high-quality heat protectant before styling. Limit your hair drying to once a week, using the coldest setting, and air dry for the rest of the time. Also, try going chemical-free or at least visiting a professional for chemical hair treatments – skip the DIY.
Use a Microfibre TowelStandard bath towels can be too rough with our fragile locks and lead to excessive hair breakage. So, drop the towel and let your locks loose, or use a microfibre option for a gentler dry.
Loosen Ponytails and BunsWhen you wear your hair up, try to resist the urge to pull it back tightly or use a claw clip instead.This is where silk scrunchies, elastics, and silk pillowcases come in to the rescue: they're softer, less abrasive while in your hair, and don't pull anything out when you're done with an updo.
Maintain a Healthy and Balanced Diet
Like the rest of our body, our hair needs nutrients to thrive and become stronger. Plus, if your hair breakage is caused by hormonal-related issues, a good diet can also help balance out and even prevent symptoms.
The best foods for healthy hair are enriched with protein, B-12, and Biotin like:
- Fatty fish
- Sweet Potato
- Lean meat or high protein alternatives like tofu or tempeh
Many things can cause hair breakage, from the harshness of chemicals to various health conditions, so it is vital to stay healthy to prevent hair breakage. Simple changes and a healthy diet can go a long way in helping prevent hair breakage in the future, so make sure you're looking after your insides and your outsides.
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