The hair is a reflection of a person’s personality and style, but it also reflects the care that the person gives to their hair, their good and bad habits. In the post this month we will address an issue that should interest all those who feel some concern about how their actions and their environment can damage their hair to any degree, that is, those that wish to know what types of hair damage exist in order to prevent them as much as possible.
We have spoken before about the impact of a person’s genes, whether male or female, on their hair’s appearance and health. How genes affect people’s hair and can cause it to weaken or even fall out, and how the only solution in the end is direct hair treatment.
This time we will talk about the types of hair damage that can affect and actually do affect most people. They may notice that their hair is weak, brittle, rough and that hair fall increases as the years pass. Besides the effects that genes have on the hair, there are ten other types of hair damage that our readers should know about.
Types of hair damage
The first of the types of hair damage is perhaps one of the few which we actuallycannot help. By environmental damage we refer to the damage our hair receivesdueto external factors such as air pollution. Currently, when the world struggles each day (with little success- but this is changing) to maintain a clean ozone layer free of impurities, we are very behind in ensuringthat thesepolluting particles do not adhere to our skin and hair. Not only do they stick to us, but we also we breathe them in and transmit them to our hair via the bloodstream.
The summer season is when we must be more careful in taking care of our hair because the heat helps the pollution to remain in the air for longer and even to degrade. To prevent this harmful environmental damage we must put effort into ridding the hair of impurities by cleaning it more effectively. However, since excessive hair washing is not beneficial either, we recommend using paraben-free shampoos which can be purchased at health food stores or pharmacies, or occasionally using a solution of baking soda and apple cider vinegar for a wash that does not require shampoo.
Heat damage is one of the most common types of hair damage and, although you can prevent it, few people put real effort into it. Heat damage is caused by the high temperatures to which our hair is subjected. It may seem obvious to mention the use of electricals such as hairdryers or flatirons and curling tongs,but it must be said. We must also take into account the immense damage the sun does to the hair, especially in summer, and that it can weaken and break the hair structure to a point where it is difficult for the hair torecovernaturally. Do not forget to follow the tips to protect your hair from sun and heat in summer.
Damage caused by wear
What is wear? The hair becomes worn when it is subjected to constant friction due to too much combing, touching, styling or tying up. It occurs in people who do not leave their hair alone, whether out of nervousness or fixation, but also those that try to add more volume to their hair via backcombing or certain hairstyles. When this happens, the hair begins to undergo structural damage and the cuticles of each strand are opened. Once this happens heat, dirt and harmful particles can get inside the hair and damage it irreparably.
Another variant of wear is trichotillomania which has also been discussed in an earlier post about the types of alopecia. Trichotillomania is a nervous disease whereby a person has an irrational and compulsive habit of pulling their hair out. This type of damage requires psychological help.
Damage caused by excess
As always, excess is never good for anything nor anyone. Excess in general, even if only in haircare, may eventually cause damage. As much as it is all verywell to buy the best products from the best brands, you do not need to abuse them in order to try to enhance their effects. Using only the adequate amount of hair product is always the best option for both our hair and our scalp. It is also important to let your hair breathe now and then- try not apply one product after another and, if possible, massage your scalp with a natural homemade mask.
Similarly, overusing heated appliances such as dryers or flatirons are not at all beneficial to the hair.
Damage caused by illness
Many diseases, starting with stress, can cause hair damage that could end in excessive hair loss. This type of damage is evident can be very easily treatable with medication.
Some of the most common are capillary lichen planus, psoriasis or frontal fibrosing alopecia. Lupus disease or hyperthyroidism treatment can also have a devastating effect on healthy hair, causing it to weaken and become thinner and more brittle. Trichotillomania may well be classified as this type of damage as well.
Damage caused by stress
As mentioned, one of the types of hair damage is that caused by stress, whether physical or emotional. This type of damage is commonly called telogen effluvium and involves hair that is severely weakand which can fall out at the slightest touch- whether by being washed in the shower, being brushed or just touched. It tends to occur after a stressful period and, if it does not become chronic (which rarely happens), the hair recovers and the normal rate of hair loss returns.
Damage from poor nutrition
Similar to the damage caused by illnessis the type of hair damage caused by a lack of beneficial elements for the body such as iron, protein, zinc, keratin, etc., which can causeanaemia and other mineral deficiencies. In our previous post we talked about how to strengthen the hair with good nutrition in order to specifically avoid this type of damage.
One type of damage to the hair that is the most common is that caused by chemical processes that certain hair treatments involve. Anything containing ammonia, detergent or chemicals intended to modify the structure of the hair (such as keratin straightening processes) or to modify the hair’s colour (bleaches and dyes) can end up damaging the hair beyond repair. Luckily, this is a type of damage that can be recovered by counteracting it with moisturizing and repairing products and by not overusing such treatments in the first place.
Damage caused by medication or medical treatment
It is well known that one of the most common side effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatments is hair loss. Sometimes, depending on the aggressiveness of treatment, this situation may only be temporary. In order to minimize the effects of these treatments on the scalp the patient can ask for advice.
During radiation the scalp becomes extremely sensitive and the hair follicles weaken- therefore it is vital to nourish the skin and consume minerals and vitamins needed to strengthen them from the inside to prevent them from being lostdefinitively.
The last of the types of hair damage is that caused by hormonal changes. Fluctuations in hormones such as testosterone and DHT, or after giving birth when the level of oestrogen is reduced in women, may cause hair to weaken and fall outin large quantities. This damage can bereversed in up to 90% of all cases after hormones simply return to their natural levels.
The best way to identify and prevent any of these types of hair damage is to consult a specialist who will always try to minimize the negative effect on the scalp and hair follicles to ensure that the hair grows healthy and nourished.