On this page we will discuss the causes prevention, and treatment of hair damage. Hair is a remarkably tough material but over time abuse can wreak havoc with its natural properties. The hair becomes weakened, loses its elasticity and shine and becomes dull, brittle and eventually breaks. This process is called weathering.
Although the hair is technically dead in that its cells are no longer dividing, we may describe it as healthy. Hair that is in good condition shines. It is easy to manage and just looks good. So why can its properties change so much that the hair loses its healthy appearance?
There are five main classifications of hair damage:
These are just a few examples, mechanical damage may be caused by vigorous combing or brushing of the hair especially when wet. Hair stretches much more when wet and should be treated gently. Metal combs are particularly hard on the hair for obvious reasons. The cuticle breaks off exposing the cortex to further damage. The improper use of round brushes is also very damaging to the hair.
The ultraviolet light in direct sunlight affect the cuticle in a similar way to bleach, and eventually the keratin protein of the hair breaks down.
Permanent waving disrupts the structure of the hair, in fact it has to in order to successfully change the shape of the hair from straight to curly. Permanent wave solutions first breakdown the disulfide bonds then reform them in the neutralization process so the hair is permanently fixed in its new shape, Over processing can actually weaken these bonds and in extreme cases cause moisture loss and breakage. Bleaching and dyeing change hair structure because the dyes and bleaches used have to penetrate the cuticle and get into the cortex, some degree of chemical damage is unavoidable, but extreme bleaching can cause a complete breakdown of the hair structure causing hair to stretch beyond the breaking point.
Processes like blow drying and the use of thermal appliances reduce the moisture content below its normal level and can in themselves be harmful. Hair dryers and other heated appliances first soften the keratin of the hair; if they are too hot they can actually cause the water in the hair to boil, and tiny bubbles of steam then form inside the softened hair shaft. The hair is thereby greatly weakened and may break all together.
Systemic damage of the hair may be caused by a genetic predisposition or a medical condition. A few examples are poor nutrition or anemia due to a lack of protein in the diet. A thyroid condition may also cause the hair to have a dull dry appearance and may cause thinning of the hair. This is also true of a low grade infection. During ones lifetime hair may change back and forth due to hormonal fluctuations caused by pregnancy or natural maturing. A healthy life style can avoid many but not all systemic hair problems and modern hair care products can minimize the effects of systemic problems superficially.
The key to avoiding hair damage is to prevent it in the first place. Chemically treated and damaged hair is receptive to conditioners and other protective treatments and if applied regularly these products can give real protection to the hair. TRI Professional Hair Care manufactures a complete line of superior hair care products.