What does hair breakage look like?
Hair breakage can be easily mistaken for hair loss because they are both essentially hairs falling out. However, hair breakage isn’t full long hairs shedding like hair loss is, hair breakage is a sign that the hair shaft itself is damaged.
Hair breakage can occur anywhere along the hair shaft – but typically where the strand is at its weakest. Therefore, when you are experiencing hair breakage you will see hairs of varying lengths falling out.
- Is hair breakage the same as hair loss?
- How do you know if you’re losing too much hair?
- How do I stop my hair from breaking in bed?
- Why do I lose so much hair in the shower?
- How do you fix hair breakage?
Is hair breakage the same as hair loss?
Hair loss by itself is to some extent completely normal, but when the hairs fall out you should analyse them. There are some big differences between hairs that have naturally reached the shedding stage and hairs that have fallen due to breakage.
What is the hair growth cycle?
- The Anagen Phase: In the anagen phase, the hair grows (also known as the growth phase). The phase length of anagenesis varies depending on the site as well as the number of hairs that are in the anagen phase. The anagen phase on the scalp lasts from 3 to 6 years, depending on the genetic status of the individual.
- The Catagen Phase: The catagen phase is a short transition stage that occurs after the anagen stage. It marks the end of the growth period and lasts for a couple of weeks.
- The Telogen Phase: The telogenic phase is the final stage of healthy hair growth. This is where old hair is pushed out and the follicle begins a new hair growth cycle. During this stage, the hair separates completely from the root and sheds. At this stage you may notice an increase in hair fall, also referred to as the shedding stage.
How do you know if it’s new hair growth or hair breakage?
Hair loss from new hair growth: When hairs have reached the shedding stage they will be long strands that usually have the hair root still attached. With this, you can determine that those hairs fell out naturally when they reached the end of their growth cycle.
Hair breakage from damaged hair: The hair strands are short and vary in length. They usually look dry and brittle. Damaged hair tends to be quite dull in appearance and looks “frizzy”.
How do you know if you’re losing too much hair?
The average person loses between 50 and 100 healthy hairs per day – up to 150 in some cases. There is a simple test you can try on yourself. Run about 60 hairs between your fingers and pull a little on the strands when you get to the ends. You’ll usually see between 2 – 5 strands fall out – this is normal. Whereas more than 15 hairs are worrying.
What causes hair breakage?
- Lack of moisture – Hair is more prone to breakage if it’s lacking moisture. It becomes too dry and subsequently brittle. So you need to ensure that you are providing your hair with the moisture it needs. A moisturising shampoo, conditioner and hair mask are the 3 main products that you need. In addition, hair oils supply ample moisture and shine to healthy hair.
- Over styling your hair with hot tools – Everyone is aware that hot tools dry out hair. Heat styling makes the hair shaft weak and consequently prone to breakage. Try reducing the amount of heat from styling tools you use on your hair or turn the temperature down (if possible). What’s more, applying a heat protector will help save your strands
- Blow-drying your hair – This can cause substantial damage to your hair if you’re drying it with heat every time you wash it. Try allowing your hair to dry naturally. However, if this isn’t possible, allow your hair to dry naturally for a bit longer before finishing it off with a blow dryer. Reducing the amount of heat you use on your hair will prevent it from drying out and subsequently damaging the hair shafts.
- Towel drying your hair: towel drying your hair with a cotton towel can damage your hair drastically. The coarse texture of cotton towels causes damage to the hair and can weaken strands.
- Bleach, hair dye and relaxers – These harsh chemicals directly contribute to breakage. The chemicals are destructive to the layers of the hair shaft, causing colour treated hair to become brittle and snap easily.
- Sleeping on a cotton pillowcase – Cotton pillows can cause hair breakage because the cotton fibres suck the moisture from your hair. The cotton fabric also creates friction while you sleep. Silk or satin pillowcases are recommended instead, as they are designed to improve the condition of the hair and skin.
- Over-washing – Similar to the importance of moisture on the hair, over-washing strips the hair of moisture. You should only wash your hair 2-3 times per week in order to cleanse the scalp of build-up. Using a shampoo that is rich in keratin is also beneficial to strengthen the hair during each wash.
- Neglecting the hairdressers – Getting your hair cut will help to fix your split ends. If split ends are left they continue to split up the shaft and will eventually lead to hair breakage.
How do I stop my hair from breaking in bed?
If you have damage-prone hair or you know that you’re hair is brittle from bleaching or dye, then you know that you need to take caution. You take good care of your hair during the day, and this should be continued during the night.
When you’re asleep you could be unaware of all the damage being caused to your hair strands. Tossing and turning unintentionally creates friction and pulls on your hair.
If you wake up and find strands of hair on your pillow you should try these things to protect your hair type while you sleep:
- Ensure your hair is dry before sleeping
- Don’t use an elastic band in your hair
- Sleep on a silk pillowcase
- Brush your hair before bed
- Wrap your hair in a satin or silk scarf
- Apply an overnight hair treatment
Should I sleep with my hair up or down?
Sleeping with your hair down can contribute to hair breakage because your loose strands undergo a lot of friction. Therefore, you should sleep with your hair tied up to reduce this.
Braiding your hair or twisting your hair into a high bun are excellent ways to protect your hair. Better yet – you’ll also wake up with heat-free beachy waves. However, don’t pull your hair tight, these hairstyles should be loose.
When creating these hairstyles, use spiral hair ties as they are gentle on the hair and prevent breakage. They also don’t leave kinks in the hair as elastic hairbands do.
Should I brush my hair at night?
Brushing your hair at night, specifically with a boar bristle hairbrush is one of the simplest ways to protect your hair at night. By doing this, you distribute your natural oils from the roots and scalp down through the lengths to prevent haor breakage. Using this every night will nourish the hair and work to repair damaged hair shafts.
Why do I lose so much hair in the shower?
If you have mid to long length hair you’re probably familiar with finding clumps of hair strands in the drain after washing your hair in the shower. Finding clumps of hair might make you freak-out, especially if you don’t know how much hair is normal to lose in the shower.
If you only wash your hair 1-2 times per week then you’ll probably always see your drain full of hair every time you do so. This is normal hair shedding, washing your hair just encourages some hairs in the telogen phase to fall out while you’re cleansing your scalp. So as you’re rinsing shampoo and conditioner out of your hair you may also see strands washing away into the drain too.
It’s normal to lose 50-100 strands of hair each day, so seeing this much hair fall isn’t something to be concerned about. You should only worry if you noticed that your hair feels substantially thinner (for example when you tie it into a ponytail), or if you start to see your scalp through your hair more easily than normal.
Should I comb my hair in the shower?
You should never brush or comb your hair in the shower because wet hair is significantly weaker than dry hair and breaks more easily. When you’re hair is wet it’s more elasticated, therefore if you comb your hair in the shower you will end up stretching the strands. Stretched hair strands lead to breakage.
Instead of combing your hair in the shower, you should brush your hair before your jump in the shower. This is more gentle on your hair type and will remove any knots ready for your hair wash. Furthermore, this will prevent hair damage.
How do you fix hair breakage?
At home, you can stop hair breakage by changing the things that are known to cause hair damage as well as increasing the nourishment of the strands. Hair breakage is a serious single that you need to take better care of your hair. Here are the best ways to repair damaged hair:
- Deep condition the hair/ apply a nourishing hair mask
- Reduce the temperature of your hot tools (straighteners, curling irons)
- Always use a heat protectant
- Sleep on a silk pillowcase
- Apply oil treatments regularly
- Brush your hair with a boar bristle brush
- Get regular hair cuts to remove split-ends
Does coconut oil help hair breakage?
Coconut oil helps to repair hair breakage by penetrating deep into the hair shaft to protect the hair from protein loss. Coconut oil helps your hair cuticles to retain moisture by acting as a sealant. Therefore, the hair is effectively hydrated and protected from frizz and further damage.
How often should you apply coconut oil to your hair? Read our guide on coconut oil and what its benefits are for your hair.
Hair breakage is a sign that your hair is screaming for some TLC. It’s been significantly damaged and needs nourishment and a boost of moisture. You know when you’re hair is brittle because you’ll see short hairs breaking off. These hairs tend to look frizzy, have split-ends and look incredibly dry.
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