By Ugochi Obiajunwa
Every woman longs for a beautiful, soft and shiny hair. But some hair care practices we adopt which include dyeing, bleaching, curling, and hair straightening, chemical and heat treatments can disrupt the complex structure of our hair. So also can vigorous brushing and even overexposure to the sun damages the hair. Hair has no nerve connections and since you don’t feel pain, you might not realize it when you cause damage to your crowning glory. However, the visible signs of hair damage are unmistakable:
Brittle hair is a common sign of damage. Weakened hair can break and give you split ends. And harsh chemical treatments are a common cause of brittle hair. But brushing your hair roughly, using an inappropriate comb (for example, a fine toothed comb on really curly hair) or teasing hair can also lead to breakage. Braids and hair extensions can cause damage too. Sometimes, brittle hair can indicate medical issues like an eating disorder or hypothyroidism, so do check in with a doctor if you have brittle hair and the common causes for it don’t apply to you.1
Sun Bleached Hair
You may already know that your skin needs protection from the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun, but did you know overexposure to the sun can damage your hair too? The UV rays of the sun fray the outer layer of the hair, known as the cuticle, which protects the inner layers. Exposure to the sun can also break down melanin, a pigment that gives hair its color, which in turns dries out hair and causes it to lose strength and become brittle. 2
Hair damage can remove the protective layer of fat that coats the cuticle and gives your hair a glossy sheen. And chemical treatments are a common culprit when it comes to stripping your hair of natural moisturizers, leaving you with dull, dried out hair.3
The scales of the cuticle (the outer layer of hair) overlap tightly on healthy hair and protect the inner layers from environmental factors. But when hair is damaged, the scales can separate and this can dry out your hair.
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