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How To Repair Damaged Hair: Causes, Treatments And Tips

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There is nothing more heartbreaking than the thought of having dry, brittle or damaged hair. In today’s fast-paced world where we have little time to take good care of our hair, it is hard to avoid hair damage. Sadly, hair damage is more than just split ends or frizzy hair. Other factors such as sun exposure, dirt, pollution, excessive styling and heat are bound to have repercussions on the hair in the form of damaged hair.

Damaged hair looks dull and frizzy and becomes difficult to manage. So, is it possible to treat damaged hair? Before we get to the treatments for damaged hair, let us discuss what really causes hair damage in the first place.

Why Does The Hair Get Damaged?

Each of the hair strands have three layers – the inner layer called medulla, the middle layer called cortex and the outer layer called cuticle. The cuticle protects the hair from damage. When the cuticle is damaged, hair becomes dry, rough or brittle. Once the cuticle is open, it is further at risk of more damage, making your hair vulnerable to further breakage.

Types Of Damaged Hair

Most commonly there are three types of hair damage. Below is the breakdown of what they look like –

•Dull And Unruly Hair

The look – Easily tangles, lacks shine and are frizzy
The culprit – UV rays, heat, harsh chemicals
The cause – Damage to the cuticles which leaves them open and lifted. This makes hair tangle easily and get brittle.

•Fragile Hair

The look – Split ends, easy breakage of hair
The culprit – Chemicals used in straightening or perming, flat irons, hair curlers, hair color
The cause – The damage to the cuticle and cortex which leads to both the layers being exposed. The hair becomes more prone to damage during washing.

•Thinning Hair

The look – Slow or patchy hair growth, excessive hair fall
The culprit – Excessive brushing, chemical build-up, chemical treatments
The cause – The hair follicles are damaged leading to excessive hair fall and slow growth.

Also Read: What Are The Different Types Of Alopecia?

Causes Of Hair Damage

Sometimes it is easy to figure out what caused the damage in the first place. If you notice the early symptoms of hair damage, then you can prevent them from further damages and smoothen your hair before you actually need to cut out the damaged parts by chopping off the long locks.

Here are the possible causes of hair damage –

Bleaching – While bleaching the hair, you are forcing the cuticles to open and lose the pigment. This damage caused to the cuticle, makes them prone to split ends and damage. If you apply heat after bleaching, it will make the damage even worse.

Hair Coloring – Dying hair may seem like a harmless thing but is not indeed. The chemicals present in the hair may affect the hair shaft and make it porous or even expose the cortex. Permanent hair colors cause most damage to the hair.

Heat Tools – In general, heat is bad for the hair. All the extra heat from hair straighteners, blow dryers, hair curlers etc. leads to slow damage. The heat damaged hair is susceptible to breakage and split ends.

Styling – Over-styling the hair makes them prone to the damage. Confining the hair into tight knots or hairstyles will put extreme pressure on their roots and make them weak. Also, crimping your hair or hair updo will result in excessive hair fall due to hair weakening.

Over-Brushing – Brushing your hair frequently will cause more friction than it can take. Especially, cheap brushes can do a lot of damage as they are caught in the hair easily.

Over-Shampooing – Shampoo is supposed to remove dirt and grime from hair but over-shampooing strips the hair off the essential natural oils from the scalp and makes them dry and brittle.

Prolonged Sun Exposure – Exposure to harsh UV rays can be harmful to hair just like excessive heat and may affect the hair cuticles. Sun damaged hair loses its shine and looks extremely dry and brittle.

Using Wrong Hair Products – Using the wrong products such as harmful hair waxes, shampoos containing sulfates or alcohol will make the hair dry and brittle. They can wreak havoc on the already damaged hair.

Also Read: What Are The Causes Of Hair Loss In Men & Women?

Signs Of Damaged Hair

It is always the best idea to identify the early signs of hair damage to restore the natural sheen of hair, in time. Here are the signs of damaged hair that will help you identify and ease the existing damage –

Dull And Lifeless – If your hair looks dull with no shine then it is a sure sign of hair damage. This usually indicates some damage to the cuticles.

Rough Texture – Dry and rough texture is a clear-cut sign of damaged hair. Just run your fingers through your hair to check if the ends of hair seem rough. If hair sticks out and feels rough, then it is probably damaged.

Split Ends – Check for split ends by taking a portion of hair and twisting it. If the ends of hair stick out and look split, then the hair is damaged and it is time to cut them.

High Porosity – If the cuticle is left open, it allows the moisture to pass easily through hair making them frizzy. It occurs when moisture collects in the hair shaft and it starts to swell.

Lack Of Moisture – The damaged hair is usually dry while dry hair might not necessarily be damaged. If your hair does not look conditioned, it is a sign of damaged cuticles. It mostly happens during extreme winter when damaged cuticles are unable to seal the moisture causing winter hair damage.

Extreme Breakage – If your hair has become more prone to breakage even if you run your finger through them, then it indicates hair damage. When the outer layer is damaged, it reduces the tensile strength of hair.

Tangled Hair – Unlike healthy hair, rough hair can get tangled easily and result in knots. This is due to excessive dryness and it often leads to breakage.

Also Read: What Are The Early Signs And Symptoms Of Hair Loss

Is It Possible To Repair Damaged Hair?

Yes, it is absolutely possible to repair damaged hair and smooth them out. Once the early signs of damage are identified, one can limit the further damage by following good hair care practices. Also, remedies for damaged hair will help ease the existing damage and make the hair smooth again.

How To Repair Damaged Hair: Treatment & Solutions

It is best to seek professional medical help if your hair is severely damaged. If you are able to identify early signs of damage, then you can reverse the damage without the need to cut damaged locks. But if the damage is beyond control, then one can opt for advanced treatments and hair damage solutions. Here are top hair treatments that are tried and tested successfully –

•Trim Damaged hair – The first step in taking care of your damaged tresses is identifying the extent of the damage. If the damage has spread, it is best to chop off the damaged hair.

•Cut Damaged Ends – If you notice frizzy and straw-like texture at the ends, then you can get a trim. Trimming the damaged hair ends will help you get rid of damage instantly.

•Use Sulfate-Free Hair Products – If your hair is prone to damage, then use shampoos and conditioners containing natural ingredients. Most of the shampoos contain some sulfate-based chemicals SLS and SLES and parabens which must be avoided. Choose your hair products carefully by checking the ingredients for sulfates and parabens.

•Hydrating Masks – Hydrating hair masks help to restore moisture in your dry and damaged hair. They must be used once a week to smooth out damaged hair.

•Say No To Chemicals – Use natural and organic ingredients on hair to prevent them from damage. Many harsh chemicals present in hair dye, shampoos, hair colors, hair wax etc. strip the hair of natural oils and make them prone to damage. So avoid them at all costs.

•Condition Your Hair Thoroughly – The deep conditioning of hair followed by steam can help ease the damage and repair them. Use ingredients rich in protein for damaged hair and condition them.

Also Read: What Is PRP Hair Treatment?

Tips To Repair Damaged Hair

Here are some useful tips for dry, damaged hair to help make them smooth again –

•Get your hair trimmed every month or so. This will help you get rid of any potential damage on the ends and also promote hair growth.
•Protein for damaged hair is a well-known supplement. You can consume protein-rich foods to nourish back your hair. Also, protein treatment for damaged hair works equally well. You can opt for conditioning mask to instantly moisturize your hair.
•Avoid using chemical based hair colors or dye. It is best to use natural hair dye instead which will not damage the hair in any way.
•Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important when it comes to growing your hair long and strong.
•Avoid using chemicals in the form of bleach or hair styling products to prevent hair damage.
•Say no to hair styling tools that may result in heat damaged hair. Let your hair dry naturally rather than using a blow dryer.
•Ensure that you massage your scalp twice a week with natural oils to restore healthy scalp and hair.
•Always protect your hair while going out in the sun. You can use a hat or head scarf to minimize sun damage.
•If you swim regularly, your hair will be prone to damage from chemicals in the water. So either wear a silicone swim cap or use coconut oil to shield your hair before a swim.


1. How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?

Ideally, it is sufficient to wash your hair with a mild shampoo twice or thrice a week and remove all dirt.

2. Is It Safe To Leave My Hair To Dry Naturally?

It is best to let the hair dry naturally. Alternatively, you can let 70-80% of your hair dry naturally and then use a hair dryer at the coolest setting to dry them out well.

3. Can I Use A Hairdryer, Hot Roller, And Other Styling Equipment?

Yes, you can use any styling equipment moderately at safe temperatures but avoid over-using them or else they can damage your hair.

4. Do Hair Extensions Damage Your Hair?

No, hair extensions do not cause any damage to the hair if they are placed by a professional.

5. Does Hair Color Damage Hair?

Hair color containing harsh chemicals may damage the hair while natural color or hair dye may not affect hair in a damaging way. Be sure to check with your dermatologist before picking any product for hair.

6. Does Hot Water Damage Hair?

Yes, extremely hot water will weaken the hair follicles causing the hair to fall out. Also, it might strip hair off its natural oils and leave them dry or brittle.

7. Does Silicone Damage Hair?

Yes, silicone can prove harmful to the hair health for long-term use. The build-up of silicone will lead to dull and limp hair prone to breakage.

8. Can Hairspray Damage Hair?

Hairsprays that contain alcohol can be very damaging to the hair and will dry the hair out.

9. Does Crimping Damage Your Hair?

Since crimping uses heat, it may damage the hair just like any heat styling equipment will.

10. Does Hair Straightening Damage Hair

The hair straightener is a heat-styling device which may contribute to hair loss if used frequently over time.

11. Does Hair Wax Damage Hair?

Hair wax is made up of various chemicals that can affect your hair in prolonged use. Some strong hair wax will mold and sculpt the hair in style but prevent them from breathing. When no oxygen will pass through hair, it will lead to hair damage.

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About The Author

Minu Manisha Babel

Minu Manisha Babel

An MBA by chance, a trainer by passion, a psychologist by interest and a voracious reader by parentage. I enjoy traveling, public speaking, exploring and writing on topics relevant to our health and well-being.

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