How To Prevent and Treat Damaged Hair

Each day, your hair encounters many varieties of damage. Anything from humidity to air pollution to your styling routine can leave your hair looking frizzy, brittle or dull. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to avoid harming your hair, as well as products and haircare choices that can help you repair any existing damage.

Understanding Hair Damage

Many forms of hair damage involve the disruption of the hair’s outer cuticles, the layer that helps your strands retain moisture and appear smooth. Hair with healthy cuticles is shinier and stronger than damaged hair, which often appears frizzy or dull. Heated styling tools, harsh chemicals, pollution and UV radiation can all contribute to raising the cuticles on your hair.

Raised cuticles and dryness can also lead to the development of split ends. Growing and maintaining your hair can be more difficult when you have split ends. Furthermore, this type of damage cannot be reversed, and treating split ends typically requires you to get a haircut.

Finally, damaged hair might be more prone to breakage, thinning and loss. Some forms of hair loss are the natural consequences of aging. However, stress, chemical damage and various health conditions can all impact the thickness and length of your hair. Wearing tight hairstyles, including ponytails, buns and braids, can also cause physical tension that results in hair loss, especially if your locks are already damaged.

Improving Your Haircare Routine

You can change your hair care regimen to help you avoid unnecessary damage and have healthier, more beautiful strands. First, adding a moisturizing conditioner and protective hair serum to your routine can protect your cuticles and prevent dryness. It’s especially beneficial to apply a serum if you use a blow dryer or curling iron to style your hair, as high heat can open your cuticles, worsening dehydration and damage. Using a leave-in conditioner with UV protection and wearing a hat in sunny weather can also help protect your hair.

It’s important to limit activities that harm your hair’s integrity. For example, friction from brushing or washing your hair too often or too vigorously can lead to damage. You can invest in gentler hairbrushes and microfiber towels to reduce friction. Additionally, some people use scarves, bonnets or silk pillowcases to prevent physical damage while sleeping. Depending on your scalp and hair texture, you can wait a few days between washes. Shampooing your hair too frequently can lead to scalp dehydration, strip your hair of natural oils, and damage your outer cuticles. 

Lastly, you should reduce the frequency of harsher styling treatments, including coloring or altering the texture of your hair. These treatments often involve harsh chemicals that weaken your strands and make them easier to damage. Waiting 8 to 10 weeks between treatments can give your hair a chance to recover.

Treating Common Hair Issues

Once your hair becomes damaged, you can take steps to reverse some of the effects. For example, moisturizing products like oils and masks can nourish your hair and treat dryness. Clarifying shampoos can remove build-up from styling products and hard water. If you dye your hair, there are special conditioners and shampoos that can help preserve your color so you can wait longer between touch-ups.

Consulting a hairstylist is a great way to troubleshoot issues and identify better products and styling techniques to help your hair stay healthy. Furthermore, getting regular haircuts from a professional can remove damaged locks and split ends so your hair looks its best. In some cases, you should also discuss your concerns with a dermatologist. If you experience sudden hair loss or changes to the texture of your scalp or hair, you could have an underlying health issue. Stress, nutritional deficiencies, hormone changes and scalp infections can all contribute to hair damage, and it’s a good idea to address these problems with a healthcare provider.

Hair damage can be frustrating and might diminish your self-confidence. To treat dry, dull or weak hair, you can add nourishing products, change your styling routine and address underlying concerns with a professional.