Brittle Hair

Losing your hair is an upsetting thought for many people but dry or brittle hair can be as equally as unpleasant. If you are suffering from brittle hair then it’s important to look after it very carefully to prevent breakage and loss.

Your aim is to nurture your hair so that it not only grows to its normal length but is in a healthy condition as well.

What is brittle hair?

This refers to hair which is dry, frizzy looking or breaks easily when brushed/combed. And this is even more of a problem when hair is wet as this removes nutrients from it which makes it more fragile.

Basically, brittle hair is a sign that your hair is in poor health which needs further investigation.

Causes of brittle hair

First of all, what causes brittle hair? There is more than one cause of brittle hair which includes:

  • Side effects of certain medications
  • Illness or disease
  • Excessive sun exposure
  • Chlorine from swimming pools
  • Overuse of hair products or salon treatments
  • Poor diet

If your hair has become brittle as a result of a hair treatment such as hair straighteners or bleaching then you may feel that it will be seen as ‘self-inflicted’ by people who are unlikely to have much sympathy.

However, you will probably find that people are more sympathetic than you think as hair problems, especially hair loss, are a distressing state of affairs. Most people would be upset at losing their hair so you are not alone in this.

If you have a problem such as brittle hair and need to ask for help then please do so. Don’t be embarrassed as this is much more common than you think.

Treating brittle hair

How is brittle hair treated? If your hair is brittle because of your diet then increase your protein intake, for example, a couple of portions a week of oily fish as these contain fatty acids which are essential for hair health. Nuts and seeds are another good form of protein which results in thicker, glossier hair.

Increasing your protein levels will help to ensure that keratin levels are kept high which are responsible for hair growth.

Have a look at your fluid intake. If you are dehydrated then this will result in dry hair and skin. Drink more water – as much as 8 glasses a day which will re-hydrate your scalp as well as ensuring that your follicles receive vital nutrients. And give your scalp a quick massage as this will improve blood circulation in that area.

If you are taking a prescribed or over the counter medicine for a medical condition then you may find that one of its side effects is brittle hair. Or your medical condition itself may be responsible for your hair problem. For example, an under-active or over-active thyroid can result in dry or thinning hair.

Hair which has become brittle as a result of chlorinated swimming pools needs to be protected against further damage. This means wearing a swimming cap and rinsing your hair out regularly in clean water.

Hair treatments such as bleaches, colours and perms can damage your hair if used excessively. Too much of these or too often can damage your hair so limit your use of these.

They are useful when styling your hair but don’t use them all the time. Have periods of time in which your hair is free from all forms of styling products and allowed to regain its natural state. Your hair will return to its normal healthy state which is good for it in the long run.

The most important thing here is that of cleaning your hair. If you know that it is fragile then take extra care when washing it. This means only washing it once a week and keeping rinsing off to a minimum. Only use a mild shampoo or one that is specially formulated for dry/brittle hair.

Use a conditioner but only one that can be left on the hair for a long period of time. Choose oils which contain banana or coconut as these are ideal for strengthening your hair.

The only problem with these is that they do result in strong smelling and greasy looking hair. One way around this is to apply it (massage) at night and rinse it off in the morning. Do this once a week and you should see an improvement in the condition of your hair.

Make sure your hair is completely dried before brushing or combing out any tangles. And use a towel to dry your hair rather than a hairdryer. Avoid using curling tongs or straighteners as these will further damage your hair.

If none of this works or you want further advice then speak to a trichologist.

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