With hair styling such as colouring and heating irons used to either straighten or curl the hair, many women are damaging their hair without even knowing it. Caution needs to be used when using this type of hair styling to avoid the unwanted look of split ends and dry hair
Regular hair styling can cause long term damage to the hair, however the damage caused is usually reversible. The most common damage to hair is dry brittle hair that often breaks off leaving a look of hair loss. Whilst the hair appears to be thinning and in some cases looks similar to hair loss, this is not the case. The root of the hair is very rarely affected and therefore no permanent hair loss is caused. If bald patches do appear on the head there is most likely to be an underlying medical condition, often a result of hormones or genetics.
Hair dyes used to colour the hair have many chemicals in them such as bleach which causes hair to snap and over long use may cause thinning of the hair, To avoid this there is a wide range of hair dyes on the market that use only natural ingredients.
Straightening and curling of the hair using heated products puts hair under a huge amount of strain. When using such styling products precautions should be taken such as using hair serums and heat protection sprays, this will protect the hair from heat damage. It is also recommended that a gap of at least two days is taken between using heating products, this will allow your hair to naturally repair any damage.
Less commonly known is that certain shampoos, gels and hairsprays can also cause damage to the hair. Some products on the market use harsh chemicals that strip out the hairs natural oils, this again can cause dry hair and split ends. When purchasing such products you should try to make sure that you pick ones with natural ingredients in. it is also a good idea to get one to match your hair type, for example if you have dry and damaged hair, buy a shampoo that is made especially for this type of hair.
Another important factor of damage caused by hair styling is age. As we get old our hair becomes less capable of repairing itself, however this is a time when women and men increasingly use products such as hair dye. The older we get, the less our hair grows and any loss of hair caused by hair styling will take longer to grow back and, in some very extreme cases, may not grow back at all.
The effects of regular hair styling can be reversed by changing the brush you use to one with softer bristles, changing your diet to a healthy one and even washing it less. The wrong use of hair brush can damage your hair, so if you have thin hair, ensure you use one with only soft bristles. This should reduce the number of hair follicles being damaged when you brush. Whilst brushing your hair to get rid of tangles maintains strength, over brushing can increase hair loss. Diet is also an important factor. The healthier your diet, the healthier your hair. The use of shampoo daily can also damage your hair. When using shampoo it strips out the natural oils in your hair which leads to dryness. The hair has natural ingredients in it and therefore does not need to be washed daily.
What about traction alopecia?
Certain hairstyles that require the hair to be pulled tightly on a regular basis for long periods of time, could cause a more lasting condition called traction alopecia. This condition is particularly common amongst those of Afro Caribbean or African American decent, due to the prevalence of cornrow-based hairstyles. Whilst traction alopecia can cause permanent damage, sometimes the effects can be reduced if the styles are discontinued soon enough.
Hair styling is an important part of how we look and who we are. The style of hair can change image in an instant but care does need to be taken with how this is done. With all the products on the market today to help with using styling equipment it is essential to ensure that the ingredients are not going to damage hair. Many can state they contain natural oils and herbs but this does not mean they are right for a particular hair type. If medication is being used some of the ingredients can be more harmful as they react against the medication. If in doubt seeking the advice of a professional is essential.
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