Hair breakage is a common form of hair damage that can be difficult to stand. Hair breakage occurs when a strand of hair splits into two or more strands, often resulting in frizziness, dryness, and split ends.
Hair breakage is a cardinal sin of hair care, and it can happen for various reasons. If you think that your hair may be breaking off, the first thing to do is ask yourself: What am I doing to my hair?
In addition to damage from cosmetics, medications, and medical issues like thyroid diseases, there are generally two ways hair breaks: mechanical forces or chemical forces. It’s important to keep in mind that almost all forms of hair breakage have preventable causes.
Chemical breakage happens during the chemical processes like colouring and relaxing. Mechanical causes of breakage include improper hair care such as braiding, rubber bands and ponytails, combing with wrong techniques and when your hair is wet.
What Does It Mean?
Hair breakage is an extremely common problem. Breakage causes your hair to become dull, damaged and prone to split ends. Breakage most commonly occurs in the area behind the ears, around the crown, temples, and base of your neck. This is because that hair is more fragile in those areas.
It happens when the hair dissipates more protein than it gets through the diet and supplements, causing the hair to become dry, brittle and weak. Finally… it will lead to breakage, which is when your hair breaks off more than usual.
It is an unfortunate truth that hair can break. The good news is that there are ways to minimise your hair breakage. The first thing you want to do is give your hair some love by shampooing properly and using a conditioner every time you cleanse to go along with using a moisturising deep conditioner once or twice every week. These steps will ensure that your hair stays hydrated between washes and help keep it healthy.
Countless factors can contribute to hair loss and breakage, but being aware of these common causes can help you combat hair loss and encourage regrowth.
There are six major precautions for avoiding hair breakage:
- Using a metal comb – Metal combs tend to be more scratchy on your hair strands, so it is recommended to avoid them and use wooden combs instead.
- Brushing wet hair – Brushing your wet hair might lead to breakage because your hair is more fragile when wet.
- Shampooing hair daily –Shampooing your hair daily can strip the natural oils from your scalp, which may lead to a dry scalp, and cause irritation and dandruff that can lead to breakage over time.
- An unbalanced diet – Having an unbalanced diet can result in a poor health condition that could affect every part of the body (including your hair), so it is very important to pay attention to what you eat.
- Harsh products – Using harsh products can increase breakage because they disrupt the natural balance of oils in the scalp, resulting in dandruff or irritation on the scalp causing breakage or even scalp infections.
- Chemical treatments – Chemical treatments such as straightening or colouring damage the structure of our hair fibres’ cuticles (scales), making them loose and raise.
Causes of Hair Breakage in Men and Women
People often refer to hair breakage as hair loss, but there is a difference between the two. Some people tend to lose clumps of hair from their scalp if they have a certain medical problem or experience something traumatic in their lives. However, that is not a regular occurrence for most people.
Hair breakage can cause embarrassment, distress, and insecurity for both men and women. With its relentless pressure to be better, faster, and smarter in our modern world, many of us are experiencing more stress than ever before. As a result, hair breakage is on the rise.
The main causes of hair breakage in men and women are repetitive brushing or combing, a high degree of daily styling which causes tension on the strands, physical stress and damage to the hair caused by excessive heat, chemicals (hair colour, perms, straightening), environmental damages caused by sun exposure, wind, chlorine and saltwater and specific medical conditions.
Men tend to lose more hair owing to male pattern baldness and hereditary condition in which follicles become thinner over time.
Hair breakage in men can be caused by many factors, including diet, illness, medication, hair care, genetics, and more. It occurs when the hair becomes so damaged that it can’t be fixed and falls out permanently. This usually happens in people who are already suffering from hair loss because their hair follicles are already weak and can’t stand up to any more stressors.
Except for genetics, many causes of hair breakage are preventable with changes to your diet, lifestyle and hair care routine.
There are five main causes of hair breakage in women: poor nutrition, climate, chemical treatments, excessive heat, and mechanical trauma. Excessive heat is the most common cause of hair breakage in women. Many factors cause hair breakage, but the most common cause is excessive heat.
And while hair breakage in women usually occurs at the ends, it can also happen along the full lengths of the strand. Hair breakage can also be caused by vitamin deficiency, the hormone android and ageing.
In women, the menstrual cycle often brings about hair breakage and thinning due to a high oestrogen content. In men, androgens can cause a gradual thinning of the hair. Ageing can also cause hair breakage in both men and women.
Classifications of Hair Breakage in Men and Women
There are four major types of hair breakage: breaking at the root, mid-shaft hair breakage, temporary and permanent damage to the cuticles and split ends.
When the whole hair strand is broken, but the root of your hair is still healthy and attached, this is breaking at the root.
This means that your hair follicles produce healthy hair that has not yet fully grown out. The lack of length from the breakage may make it look like you’re balding or even cause patches to form in your scalp.
Mid-shaft hair breakage is a common phenomenon of human hair. The formation of the broken section reduces the quality of human hair bundles and wigs, causing prejudice to the users’ experience. This broken part will be the middle part of the hair bundle during use, so the beauty can see it clearly when wearing it. This also proves that midshaft hair breakage will affect our beauty’s experience.
Split ends (trichoptilosis) occur when the hair’s protective outer layer is penetrated and causes hair to split. Damage to the cuticles is one of the reasons for split ends. Hair exposed to harsh detergents, seawater, chlorine or even hard water can become damaged.
Men’s major type of hair breakage and loss involves a genetic predisposition toward baldness. This is also known as male-pattern baldness. Female-pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia, can affect women at any age and is most common in postmenopausal women.
Androgenetic alopecia is the most common type of hair loss, affecting both men and women. It causes hair to fall out at the crown of the head, along the sides, and in the front. It can begin in your teens and progress slowly, but eventually, it accelerates; sometimes, it occurs later in life. The pattern is different for men than for women.
In men, hair usually recedes from the forehead first and gradually moves backwards; the horseshoe-shaped bald spot on top continues to grow until it reaches back to where there is still hair. Women tend to have to thin all over; their front hairline does not recede, but they may see an overall thinning of hair density.
Androgenetic alopecia can be hereditary or caused by hormonal imbalances (polycystic ovarian syndrome [PCOS]), an unhealthy diet, medications such as birth control pills or antidepressants, diseases like lupus or diabetes, and high levels of stress. This type of hair loss can often be managed with medication or surgery for both men and women.
Certain types of hair loss are temporary, such as those related to pregnancy, medication, poor nutrition, stress and illness. Other types may be permanent, including those resulting from heredity and ageing. Hair loss can affect both men and women of all ages but is most prevalent among older people.
Women typically maintain the hairline on their forehead but broaden the part in their hair. Men usually first notice receding hairlines at their temples, but they eventually lose hair in the front, top and crown. Both sexes tend to lose hair thickness and amount as they age.
Diagnosis of Hair Breakage in Men and Women
The diagnosis of hair breakage is based on the symptoms and physical exam. Diagnosing the underlying cause of hair breakage often requires additional testing such as blood tests, a scalp biopsy, or other imaging tests.
Diagnostic tests include a complete blood count, T3 and T4 levels, thyroid-stimulating hormone level, ferritin level and bacterial culture of scalp plaques. The methods of diagnosing hair breakage in women and men are almost identical. However, it is important to consider the different social roles between women and men.
The only two methods of diagnosing hair breakage are using an electron microscope or through polarized light microscopy (PLM). PLM uses a special microscope to analyze the broken ends of hairs. They appear in a pattern called a ‘cross-section’, which can be used to determine whether certain hair care products, such as shampoo, conditioner and styling treatments, are damaging your hair.
Hair samples are examined under a microscope in polarised light microscopy. In this method, the embedded cuticle flakes are exposed and seen. The cuticle flakes can then be analyzed by morphology, sizes, shades and volume. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) is another method for analyzing hair breakage. In this method, hair samples are placed on a metal plate, and surface information is gathered using electrons or energy waves.
Polarised light microscopy helps in several ways in hair breakage testing. It lets us see the finer details of the hair, as its internal microstructure, providing a clear picture. It also gives scientific evidence that two different ingredients in different concentrations have different effects on hair. This can help us select an optimal solution to our problem.
Polarised light microscopy (PLM) is among the most effective and popular diagnostic tools, particularly in dermatological applications such as hair analysis. Polarised light microscopy (PLM) tools allow one to see things that would otherwise go undiagnosed or overlooked in clinical practice.
What’s more: through PLM, one can observe problems on the surface of the hair and its interior structure. This tool can often be used to make aggressive and harsher treatments unnecessary and prevent a myriad of hair challenges from ever reaching these levels of severity.
The most effective way of dealing with hair breakage is prevention. The three methods for prevention include regular combing, regular shampooing and conditioning. To prevent breakage, always comb your hair from the inside out, starting from the lowest layer to ease knots and tangles.
If you have a sudden increase in hair loss, it may be due to breakage. You can reduce or eliminate this problem by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including a good diet and plenty of sleep. The most effective way to prevent hair breakage is maintenance. Make sure you comb your hair every night before bed, since sleep causes more strands to break.
Telogen effluvium (TE) is regarded as the second most frequent type of hair loss that dermatologists recognize. It happens when there is an increase in hair follicles growing.
More dormant follicles will be present if the number decreases significantly in this period of resting (telogen) period of growing hair. This leads to hair loss due to TE, which is usually not permanent. Continue reading to find out what causes this problem and address it.
At any given moment, approximately 90 to 85 percent of the hairs on the head of the average person are expanding (the anagen stage), and the rest remain in rest (the telogen phase).
In general, hairs are in the anagen stage for two and four years. It then transitions into the telogen phase, which is a time of rest for between two and four months before it goes out and is replaced with new growing hair. A typical person loses 100 hairs every day.
For those suffering from telogen effluvium, change or shock forces many hairs towards the phase of telogen. Around 30% of hairs cease to grow and go to the resting stage in this type of condition before falling out. If you suffer from Telogen effluvium, you could lose about 300 hairs per day rather than 100.
Treatments to Deal With Hair Breakage
There are a variety of advanced solutions that are effective in the treatment of hair loss or split ends. They include:
Biotin Treatment: Among all the nutrients required to maintain healthy hair, biotin is essential. Biotin, also known as Vitamin B7, is believed to increase the keratin levels of the scalp and help promote the healthy growth of hair. Biotin aids in strengthening the roots, making hair less susceptible to breaking. Biotin supplements are an extremely popular solution to breakage hair that works efficiently.
Keratin Treatment – Keratin is an amino acid that helps maintain hair’s natural beauty. Keratin is added to hair without causing any harm. Hair breakage following keratin treatment significantly decreases, opening the way for healthier hair.
Anti-Breakage Hair Mask: Anti-breakage hair masks can help prevent frizzy, dry or brittle hair by providing the needed moisture. They can be made at home or purchased from a store. They aid in increasing hair elasticity to make hair smoother and less tangled. Furthermore, they also help resist breakage.
Deep Conditioning: This will nourish hair and help compensate for moisture deficiency to stop further breakage. There are a variety of over-the-counter and topical remedies that can be used to condition hair deeply with no side effects.
Medical Therapy – If you suspect that hair breaks are caused by hormonal changes, pregnancy such as eating disorders, hypothyroidism or other eating disorders or hypothyroidism, it could require medical care. It is recommended to see your dermatologist determine the cause of hair breakage and suggest treatment accordingly.
Other Treatments – Other alternatives include:
- Avoid certain items or practices that could cause hair loss, such as using styling tools non-professional.
- Ensuring cleanliness.
- Using supplements for hair.
- Massaging the hair.
Reversing the breakage of hair completely isn’t an overnight success. Keep in mind that prevention is always better than cure. Understanding the causes and using the appropriate hair products is vital to prevent hair loss.
When the first indication of breakage appears in the hair, you should reach out to these useful remedies for broken hair. If you notice that the problem is present, it is necessary to call experts immediately.