What Causes Dry, Brittle Hair and How to Replenish Damaged Hair

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Aug. 28, 2020
Luxurious, silky hair is a goal for almost everyone. But sometimes dry, brittle hair can stand in the way. Dry hair can affect everyone from men to women of any age but it’s more common in those who are older. The hair consists of three different layers. If your hair is healthy then the natural oils in the outer layer will protect the inner layers. The oils on the outer layer of the hair is what makes the hair appear shiny and healthy. When the hair is dry, the outer layer breaks down leaving the hair dull and dry. 
Causes of Dry Hair
Sometimes the scalp may not be making enough oil to moisturize the entire head. If there isn’t enough oil to moisturize the hair, then it will inevitably become dull and dry. As we age, the hair naturally makes less oil meaning that hair is more likely to be dry. Healthy hair has a protective layer called the cuticle that acts as a shield against heat and sun damage. A healthy cuticle maintains its ability to hold moisture, but once the strand becomes damaged and the layers start separating – some oil escapes. A variety of things can lead to dry hair including environmental conditions, hair care and physical health. 
If you live in a dry, hot climate then your hair may be more prone to drying out. If you are frequently exposed to the sun’s rays, then the moisture may be escaping from your hair strands. Frequently swimming in chlorinated or salty water can also cause the natural oils in the hair to be completely stripped. 
If you find yourself washing your hair too often or using harsh shampoos, conditioners or styling products then this may be contributing to your dry hair. Dying or chemically treating your hair can also affect the hair cuticle and lead to moisture loss. Using blow dryers or hot tools can also damage the hair which can lead to dryness. 
In some cases, an underlying health issue may be contributing to the hair’s ability to retain moisture. Some conditions include eating disorders, hypothyroidism and hypoparathyroidism. These conditions negatively affect the level of key nutrients needed for hair health which leads to dry, dull and damaged hair. 
Analyzing Dry Hair
 If you have severely dry hair that doesn’t seem to get better with changes to your hair routine, then you may need to make an appointment with your doctor. A professional may be able to identify any underlying issues and refer you to a specialist that can help. When determining if your issue is serious enough to seek medical attention, make sure you consider how long it has persisted, the severity and any other associated symptoms. 
Treating Dry Hair
In many cases, dry hair can be treated with a few simple changes which includes:
  • Washing your hair less often. Shampooing on a regular basis can strip your hair of protective oils and lead to dryness. Try limiting wash day to a couple times a week or less if your hair can handle it. Try applying nourishing hair oils and leave-in conditioners after washing to further promote shine and softness. 
  • Use products designed for your hair type. If you have thick, curly hair using products made for fine straight hair will probably leave your hair feeling dry and looking dull. Finding products for your hair type can make a huge difference when it comes to dryness. 
  • Avoid chemical treatments and hot tools. These treatments cause damage to the cuticle which leads to moisture loss. 
  • Use moisturizing products regularly. In order to restore moisture to the hair adding a hair serum or intensive treatment hair mask can make a huge difference. Doing a treatment at least once a week or adding a serum to your routine can revitalize the hair strand and lead to shiny, lustrous hair. 
Dry hair signifies damage and if left untreated, your hair can become brittle and break easily. Since most cases of dry hair can be easily treated with a few simple changes, it’s important to act before the condition of your hair worsens. If your dry hair persists, you may need to contact your doctor. 
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