Updated: Oct 18, 2021
If we look at the anatomy of hair we find that it is much like wool. Hair is a fiber that is bundled together tightly in the middle and protected by a cuticle on the outside. Each piece of hair has three layers: the medulla (the inner fibers), the cortex (surrounds the medulla), and the cuticle (the outer layer).
Normally, hair grows about ¼ inch every month from the follicle and will keep growing for up to six years. Then it will fall out and new hair will grow in. This is known as the natural cycle of hair.
As we know, everyone’s hair is different. How long your growing cycle lasts is how long your hair will grow. Everyone’s hair has a maximum length it will grow before going into shedding mode. This is known as terminal length. Unfortunately, it shortens with age. Same goes for the thickness of hair. Narrower follicles produce thinner hair, while large follicles produce thick hair.
The cycle of life for hair depends on many things, and styling is one of them. The more you style, the more you change the natural makeup of your hair. And yes, genetics plays a big role against the amount and intensity of styling a person’s hair, but remember – less is more when it comes to hair health.
Causes of Hair Damage
BLEACHING – Bleaching strips the hair cuticle with chemicals and removes the natural pigment, changing the structure of your hair making it weaker and more susceptible to damage.
PERMS – Perming works by breaking the inner bonds of the hair and reforming them back together in a different way. This weakens the hair and leaves it dull and damaged over time.
HIGHLIGHTS AND COLORING – Although these are not as damaging as bleach, they can leave your hair dry and more susceptible to breakage.
HOT STYLING TOOLS – The heat from flat irons or blow dryers causes temporary changes to the hydrogen bonds that hold the hair together. If you use these hot styling tools on a daily basis it can lead to permanent damage.
PONYTAILS AND BRAIDS – If pulled tightly or you wear your hair like this regularly, permanent damage can occur. Invest in better hair ties like scrunches, and do not pull on your hair when wet because this is when it is more fragile.
OVERBRUSHING – Overbrushing your hair can cause split ends and breakage due to too much consistent friction for the hair to handle. Cheap brush also cause snags and tangles resulting in broken hair and split ends.
OVERSHAMPOOING – The purpose of shampooing is to cleanse the scalp and remove any buildup on your hair. But overwashing your hair can remove it’s natural oils making your hair dry and brittle. Everyone’s hair is different, so if you notice your hair starting to get dull, scale back on the shampooing.
IMPROPERLY INSTALLED EXTENSIONS – Hair extensions do not damage your hair. However, if your extensions are installed by someone other than a professional you could risk the wrong extension method for you hair type, an improper installment, and bad/no maintenance for your hair. If you have any discomfort or ache in the scalp, call a professional immediately. With a hair extension specialist you should not have any damage done to your real hair!
What can you do to undo some of the damage done to your hair?
Cut off the damaged ends and start fresh.
Reduce the amount of heat used on your hair.
Shampoo less (dry shampoo is your BFF)!
Use the proper products to moisturize your hair.
Invest in a professional to do anything to your hair.