Frizzy hair, split ends, dry hair, unmanageable hair. If these words ring a bell, let us assure you that you are not alone. Damaged hair is a common concern among women. Pollution, poor hair care habits, heat styling, chemical treatments are all responsible for making your hair appear damaged and lifeless. While nursing it back to health is a long process, it's not impossible. Therefore, we roped in an expert to shed some light on the topic and share valuable insights.
According to Dr. Chytra Anand, Celebrity Cosmetic Dermatologist & Founder, Kosmoderma Clinics, “Avoiding further damage is the first and most important step in this journey. With a few changes in your hair care routine, you can easily achieve a healthy and shiny mane.” Want to know what our expert has to say about treating damaged hair? Let’s first begin with the signs of damaged hair.
- 1. Signs of damaged hair
- 2. Causes of damaged hair
- - Environmental damage
- - Nutritional damage
- - Stress
- - Heat styling and chemical treatments
- - Chronic illness and medications
- 3. How to treat damaged hair
- - Handle wet hair with care
- - Reduce the use of heat styling tools
- - Try leave-in conditioners
- - Avoid shampooing daily
- - Use the appropriate shampoo and conditioner for your hair type
- - Nutrition
1. Signs of damaged hair
- Easily tangled hair: Hair that needs constant combing or oiling to remove knots.
- The texture is dull, dry or frizzy: The texture of your hair says a lot about its health. Dull, frizzy and dry hair is the first sign of damaged hair.
- Hair is brittle: If your hair is brittle or coarse to the touch, then that’s a sign of damaged hair.
- Hairs break easily: Simply combing or brushing your hair can cause breakage if it is severely damaged.
- Split ends: The tips of your hair almost never get nourishment, poor hair care habits lead to damaged ends.
- Intense hair fall: Losing about 50 to 100 strands of hair a day is normal, however sudden and intense hair fall is a sign of damaged hair.
- Thinning of hair on the scalp: Hair thinning, especially along the scalp can be a major indication of damaged hair and should be addressed immediately.
2. Causes of damaged hair
While some of the most common causes of damaged hair are heat styling and chemical treatments, there are also a few other sneaky reasons that might be the culprits. Scroll down to find out what these causes are and how to tackle them.
- Environmental damage
Excessive exposure to heat or sunlight, especially if you have chemically treated or coloured hair will damage it further. Use an SPF serum for the hair or a heat protection serum before stepping outdoors to stay protected. If you swim in chlorinated water, wear a swimming cap and apply oil to your hair before getting into the pool. This will form a protective layer on your hair and act like sealant to prevent further damage. As soon as you step out of the pool, rinse your hair with tap water to get rid of the chlorine.
- Nutritional damage
Strict diet regimens or a diet poor in nutrition like vitamins and minerals, iron, zinc, folic acid and protein can lead to brittle dry hair. Not drinking enough water is also a contributing factor to dry frizzy hair. To combat this, eat a protein-rich diet along with fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts to repair damaged hair. You can also take vitamins, zinc and folic acid supplements if you are not getting enough from your diet.
Stress can be mental or direct (physical), but all the same, can affect your hair. Both of these factors impact the hair condition and length. The direct stress is when you are wearing your hair in tight updos that cause stretching and tugging at the roots. Mental stress causes anxiety and depression, which leads to poor sleeping habits. Lack of sleep affects the healthy functioning of the body and can result in problems like hair fall and damaged hair.
- Heat styling and chemical treatments
While heat styling and chemical treatments may give instant results and make your hair look gorgeous in one session, it damages the quality of your hair in the long run. Chemically treating your hair too often without giving your hair deep nourishing treatments or enough gap between the procedures will strip the hair of its natural protective barrier and break the keratin bonds. This leads to breakage and brittle hair.
- Chronic illness and medications
Health conditions like anaemia, hypothyroidism and polycystic ovaries can lead to thinning of the hair and intense hair fall. Long term illnesses will take a toll on the body's health as well as hair health. Certain medications like retinoids anti depressants can lead to intense hair fall at the start of the treatment.
3. How to treat damaged hair
As mentioned before, treating damaged hair is a long process and requires patience. However, you can prevent it from getting damaged further, as well as ensure that the new hair growth is healthy and strong. For that, you need to follow the tips mentioned below to repair damaged hair.
- Handle wet hair with care
When the hair is wet it's always at its most vulnerable and it needs to be handled with care. If you're going to brush your hair, use your fingers to comb through the hair in order to remove knots and tangles. A wide-tooth wooden comb can also be used. When the hair is wet, don't opt for a tight hairstyle, instead, leave it loose till it dries off. While air drying is considered to be the healthiest for your hair, if you don't have the time, try and dry it with a cool air setting on your blow dryer.
- Reduce the use of heat styling tools
If you use curling irons or high-intensity blow dryers or flat irons to straighten your hair, make sure you use a heat protectant serum or spray beforehand to protect the hair from intense heat. The excessive amount of heat can lead to severe drying and breakage. You can also try using cooler temperature settings rather than higher intensity heat settings. Limit the use of hair styling tools altogether, try hairstyles that don’t demand using these tools.
- Try leave-in conditioners
Damaged hair is a result of lack of nourishment, therefore, apart from applying conditioner after shampooing your hair and rinsing it off, also use a leave-in conditioner. As the name suggests, you don’t need to wash it away. Take a coin-sized amount, rub it between your palms and apply on the lengths and tips of your hair. This builds a protective coating on your hair and makes it smoother and more manageable.
- Avoid shampooing daily
Shampooing your hair twice a week, and if you sweat a lot or work out, extending it up to a maximum of three times a week is sufficient. If your hair or scalp gets oily, try using a dry shampoo between washes. This protects your hair ends but cleanses the scalp and makes your hair look fresh, minus the sticky feeling.
- Use the appropriate shampoo and conditioner for your hair type
In order to prevent damaged hair, picking the right shampoo and conditioner is important. Choose your shampoo and conditioner based on your skin and hair type. If you have dry hair, then use a conditioning and hydrating shampoo. If your scalp is oily or prone to dandruff, use a clarifying shampoo with an anti-dandruff ingredient in it. Those with colour or bonded treatments should use a shampoo that is appropriate for coloured/chemically treated hair.
Last but not the least, it is imperative to include essential fats, vitamins and minerals in your diet to improve the health of your hair. Foods like fish, eggs, nuts and leafy vegetables are great for improving the texture of your hair. Apart from this, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and exercising regularly ensures a good supply of blood and oxygen in the tissues in the body, including the scalp. So, do some sort of physical activity at least four to five times a week.