Young woman examining damaged dry hair and split ends

The 7 Most Common Causes of Hair Damage

In order to tackle the problem of dull and damaged hair, you first need to understand the root of the problem.

Once you identify what’s causing distress to your locks, you can proceed to treat your condition in the most effective way.

So, what are some of the most common causes of unimpressive, lifeless hair?

To help you learn more, we have complied a list of your hair’s top enemies, but also the ways to battle them and restore your healthy, luscious locks.

Lack of Moisture

When your hair is deprived of the precious H2O, this phenomenon manifests itself in dry, lackluster appearance of the strands.

And the damage is usually most noticeable on the tips of your hair.

Our locks get their moisture from natural oils that are produced in your scalp. Those oils then travel down the shaft – which is why the roots of your hair always tend to be slightly greasier than the ends.

The speed and the way these oils transfer down your hair depends on the length and the texture of your strands.

For example, if your hair is straight and very fine, you might notice your strands get oilier faster.

On the other hand, if you have a wave or curl to your locks, the oils move slower and your hair doesn’t get as greasy.

People whose hair is very tightly coiled tend to have the most brittle and damage-prone locks, since the oils have difficulties moving down the shaft due to its full texture.

How you’ll tackle the problem of dehydrated hair will largely depend on your hair type.

If your hair feels flat and lifeless due to overproduction of sebum, you should avoid over-washing it.

When it comes to choosing products, steer clear from thick, silicon-laden formulas, as they will weight down your strands and contribute to dull appearance.

And in those moments when your hair needs perking up, blast it with a strand-boosting dry shampoo.

If you are on the opposite end of the oil production spectrum and your hair feels parched and brittle, your approach will have to be different.

For example, when you’re in the shower, make sure to always condition your hair with a nutrient-packed conditioner designed for your texture.

Instead of rubbing your scalp, pat dry your locks with a soft towel. 

Since your locks tend to be at their most vulnerable when wet, avoid brushing your hair while damp.

When you do so, make sure to use a wide-tooth comb to avoid breakage.

Sun Exposure

We all love lazing around in the sunshine, but did you know that the great ball of fire can cause some serious damage on your hair?

That’s right, not only do sun’s harmful UV rays cause signs of premature aging on your skin, they can also contribute to your hair looking damaged and a little thirsty.

Moreover, if your hair has been color-treated, direct sun exposure can contribute to pigment fading and discoloration, which is never a hot look.

Even though protecting your hair is not as straightforward as slapping on some sunscreen and calling it a day, you can still take some measures to make sure your locks are sun-proofed.

If you can, try to avoid direct sun exposure when the sun is at its peak intensity.

This is usually between 11am and 4pm, depending on the season.

If this is not always possible, try shielding your hair from the UV rays with physical protection.

Not only will a good sunhat protect your mane from sun-induced damage, it can also make you look instantly chic and diva-like.

If you’re on a summer vacation, escaping the sun might prove to be a tall order. Protecting your hair with a parasol or even an umbrella can help you mitigate the damage.

Once away from the sun, s that will help restore the moisture levels in your strands.

Frequent Use of Hot Tools

We all love a good coif – that’s why we don’t think twice before we reach for that straightener or curling iron to sculpt our locks.

And yet, relying too much on heat tools can wreak havoc on your strands in the long run.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise: just imagine what happens when you expose your locks to temperatures that reach over 100 degrees.

The most obvious solution for averting heat-related hair catastrophes is to stop or at least reduce the use of styling tools.

But if this sounds unimaginable to you, then you can still take a couple of preventive measures to make sure your locks have at least some amount of protection against the heat.

To do that, make sure to treat your hair to a quality heat protectant before you proceed to blow dry it or style it with hot tools.

When it comes to styling tools, invest in ones that have adjustable heat settings. If you don’t want to fry your hair, always go for a low heat mode.

Dedicated hair care should be practiced even on the days when you don’t use styling tools.

To restore moisture levels and repair your hair from heat damage, treat it at least once a week with a replenishing hair mask that will restore the shine and strengthen your locks.

And even if you’re completely addicted to blow drying, curling or crimping your locks, make sure to still give your locks a breather every once in while.

Don’t worry, there is still a myriad of gorgeous heatless hairstyles that you can rock during this time.

Bad Diet

What we eat can have an immense effect on our skin, nails and hair.

Unfortunately, when it comes to your mane, unhealthy dietary choices can quickly contribute to sad-looking locks.

Some of the major hair baddies in your diet include overly salty food, as well as processed carbs and saturated fats.

Moreover, insufficient consumption of water can also result in parched and coarse texture of your locks.

In order to make your eating habits work in your favor, opt for foods that will not only boost your health and immunity, but make your hair soft and silky to boot.

Next time pay a visit to your local green market, try to fill up your basket with the following locks-pepping goodies:

  • Avocados
  • Eggs
  • Almonds and other nuts
  • Leafy greens like spinach, kale and Swiss chard
  • Carrots
  • Lemons, oranges and other citrus fruits

These straight-from-nature superchargers are loaded with fatty acids, iron, zinc, Vitamin E, beta-carotene and other nutrients that have the potential to boost hair growth and make your strands look healthier and stronger.

These foods can also perform a double duty as DIY hair treatments that can make your mane go from zero to fabulous.

Stress

Not only is stress never a good news for your physical and mental health, the burden of day-to-day anxieties can also manifest itself on your locks.

When we feel anxious due to stress at work or home, our scalp produces more oil, causing the hair to become greasy and flat.

Moreover, a bad case of nerves can also cause your hair become thinner and more prone to damage and breakage.

In more severe cases, chronic stress can contribute to loss of hair and even alopecia.

To ensure everyday struggles don’t get the best of you and your strands, give your self and your mane a little bit of TLC every once in a while.

You can kill two bird with one stone by giving yourself a relaxing hair treatment in the comfort of your own home, which will not only rejuvenate your locks, but help you unwind from the daily grind.

To give you some ideas, you can dim the lights, place a couple of candles in your bathroom and put on your favorite soothing tunes.

Scoop out a chunk of a nourishing scalp product and massage it in your roots. Take your time while rubbing your head, as this will help relax your muscles and calm you down.

Wrap your hair in a towel and let the product work its magic. Leaving it in for about 15-20 minutes will help strengthen your root and subsequently boost your hair’s volume.

Swimming Pools

If you’re not a frequent visitor to the pool, perhaps you aren’t as liable to experience the damaging effects of chlorine on the hair.

However, if you’re an avid swimmer, then you’re probably already aware how much pool water can wreak havoc on your locks.

Chlorine, a chemical disinfectant, is great because it helps eradicate all the harmful germs and bacteria from the water; however, when it comes to your hair, this sterilizing agent can have some pretty unappealing side effects on your locks.

Since chlorine is a potent oxidizing component, it can irritate your hair and cause all kinds of damage.

It can rob your strands of their natural oils, causing your hair to become frizzle and fragile.

In some cases, chlorine can also cause discoloration of your hair (we’ve all heard stories how bleached hair can turn green in the swimming pool).

To mitigate chlorine-induced hair disasters, make sure to take a couple of safety precautions before you take a dip.

Provide physical protection for your hair in the form of a swim cap. Not only will it shield your hair from the damaging effects of chlorine, it will help you move faster once in the water.

If you’re not a fan of swim caps, try to wet your hair with regular water before stepping into the pool. This way, you will make it more difficult for chlorine to penetrate into your locks.

Once your pool session is finished, make sure to rinse your hair thoroughly to remove all the chlorine from your strands. For this purpose, you can use swimming shampoos, which are specifically designed to rid your hair of this harmful chemical.

Hair Dye

Dyeing your hair is one of the most effective ways to express your personal aesthetic, regardless of whether you’re a bright color lover or a soft ombré kind of gal.

And yet, there are few scenarios in which coloring your hair doesn’t entail some kind of damage.

The ammonia found in hair dyes causes harm by lifting the hair cuticle, while peroxide decomposes your natural hair pigments and causes your locks to become dry.

This is not to say that every kind of color-treated hair is doomed to look like a disaster.

You can effectively mitigate the damaging effect of hair dye by establishing a nourishing hair care regimen.

When possible, opt for organic or semi-permanent dyes, as they won’t harm your strands as much as traditional hair color.

Generally speaking, dyeing your hair to a darker hue should cause less damage than doing so the other way around.

Once you’ve colored your hair, invest in products that have been specifically formulated for color-treated hair.

Since dyed hair tends to be drier than natural, make sure to keep your mane hydrated by treating it to a replenishing hair mask once a week.

Finally, try to prolong the length of time between two coloring appointments. so your locks can have some time to restore their texture. 

Now that you’ve learned all about the factors that are causing your hair to look less than great, you can start building an effective hair care regimen. With a little bit of effort and persistence, we are positive you’ll be rocking healthy, mermaid-like locks in no time.

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