Healthy Hair Care Tips From A Professional Hairstylist

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hair Breakage 101



Hair breakage and hair shedding may look similar when you see the strands on your bathroom floor but they are two different things.  Shedding is a normal process of the growth cycle, while breakage is cause for concern.  If you are not able to tell the difference see the following tips below.

Hair that is shedding is normally long strands and often have a bulb on the ends.  If this is what the hair on your floor resembles, you should be in the clear.  Breakage looks more like shorter hairs, but they could sometimes be longer depending on the cause of the breakage.  Hair that is breaking will never have a bulb on the ends.


There are a few reasons why your hair will suffer from breakage.

  • Overlapping of chemicals- This is one of the main reasons why I do not recommend anyone do their own relaxers, as it almost always results in overlapping.  Overlapping is when you apply relaxer or color to hair that has already been relaxed or colored.  This results in weakening the hair, causing the hair to be damaged.  The result is breakage.  When applying your own relaxers it is very hard to see the line of demarcation (line where the new growth meets the already processed hair).  This line is the weakest spot in the hair and overlapping causes hair to be more prone to breakage in that spot.  While you may not experience breakage the first time you overlap, you are still causing damage and over time it will definitely happen.
  • Heat damage- Too much exposure to flat irons and curling irons is another cause for breakage.  I recommend using heat on the hair no more than once per week after it has been shampooed.  Also, always use a styling tool with an adjustable temperature gauge and keep it on the lowest setting that your hair will allow.  Having the tool up too high can cause breakage even when you only use heat once per week.  It is also a good idea to opt for styles where no heat is required when possible.
  • Dry hair-  When the hair is dry it becomes brittle and is much more prone to damage.  Always keep your hair moisturized and drink at least 48 ounces of water daily! After all, water is the number 1 hydrator, so drink up!
  • Straining hair styles- Any hairstyle that puts strain on your hair by pulling it too tight causes breakage.  Braids, sew-ins, and ponytails are notorious for causing breakage around the edges.  Be extra careful to the sides and edges of the hair when wearing these styles as the edges are the weakest part of the hair.  It doesn't take much for them to break, and takes even longer for them to grow back.  Continuous trauma to the edges of the hair can lead to alopecia, in which the hair may never come back.  
Hair breakage is 100% preventable.  Taking better care of your hair will prevent it and can also stop it.  So the next time you see excessive amounts of hair on your floor, analyze it to see if your hair is shedding or breaking. Until next time...

Toya
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