10 Damaged Hair Signs to Look Out For

Hair damage is the deterioration of structural elements or portions of the hair, weakening it or making it more susceptible to chemical or mechanical breakdown and removing these elements or pieces. There are numerous techniques to check for damage and several forms of damage.

The cuticle, cortex, and medulla are the three layers that make up hair; the medulla is only found in thick or coarse hair. All three are susceptible to damage, which inevitably alters how the hair behaves in various ways.

The outermost layer, the cuticle, is where damage can be felt most readily. The hair’s cuticle scales and lipid layer have been compromised when it feels coarse or dry. Additionally, the cuticle protects the inner layers, preventing injury to the outer layers.

The cuticle can be damaged by tight styles, brushing, sunlight, and hair washing. The majority of conditioners and treatments target this damage.

What does Damaged hair look Like?

Damaged hair
Instagram / @accoladessalonspa

The structure of the hair is more affected by damage to the inner layers than the feel. When the hair is damaged, you lose the strength and shape that the interior of the hair provides, and this is frequently brought on by heat, perms, relaxers, and hair dyeing or bleaching. Your hair’s cortex has likely been overly damaged if it stretches out when wet and breaks easily. Olaplex and K18 are two products that aim to target this kind of damage.

It typically requires lab equipment that most people do not have access to identify these discrepancies and obtain factual information on how much damage has been caused. As a result, we must define damage levels in more subjective and tactile terms.

Is the hair quickly and gently breaking? Has there been a split, or are there signs of one? Does the texture seem irregular, dry, or rough? You must evaluate your hair against itself to see how damaged it is. 

Consider how your hair used to feel or contrast your ends with your recent growth. It’s pretty unreliable to try to gauge how much damage your hair has sustained by comparing it to others’ hair. Different types of damaged and healthy hair exist due to textural differences.

For instance, someone with naturally extremely smooth hair would not notice frizz until their hair is quite damaged, whereas someone with a head of healthy curly hair will still naturally have frizz.

10 Signs of Damaged Hair 

hair damaged by chemicals
Instagram / @dee.asche

Split ends, brittle-like texture, and excessive tangling are just a few examples of how damaged hair can manifest itself. These unwanted symptoms are a principal component of our everyday routines; it is a fact.

To take care of our hair and put it back on the path to wellness, we need to address the root of the problem. These unwelcome signs of damage are our strands’ cry for help. Here are several indicators of hair damage:

1. Excessive Tangling

Damaged hair tangles easily. Unlike smooth, tight cuticles, elevated cuticles provide more friction and aggressively cling onto other strands. Your tangled predicament could also be made more difficult by each strand’s lack of moisture.

The outside layer of your hair shaft is raised rather than smooth and flat when the hair is damaged and deficient in moisture; as a result, it is more likely to develop knots with other strands.

Whether or not you have damaged hair, avoiding objects that create excessive friction can only benefit your loss. Use a microfiber towel after washing your hair and a silk pillowcase to prevent your hair from rubbing against rough materials.

2. A Dull appearance 

Damaged hair frequently lacks the moisture and natural hair oil that usually coats the cuticle’s exterior. Hair loses its shine without it. Use sulfate-free shampoo and moisture-containing products like a deep conditioner to bring back the shine to your hair.

3. Frizz and Flyaways

Although frizz is a common complaint with some hair types, such as curly hair, it can be your hair’s plea for help. You might be dealing with some damage if you see flyaways during the day and your hair’s frizz makes it challenging to maintain your hair.

Damage that manifests as frizz or flyaways “could be brought on by weather-induced dryness, over-shampooing, or shampooing the ends of your hair. Your cuticle isn’t lying flat if your hair is curly. It might also imply that your hair’s inside fibers are exposed.

4. Dry and Brittle

Brittle hair can easily break off and feel like straw. One of the most problematic symptoms to treat, it typically appears in hair that has been overly processed. Dry, brittle hair can also be caused by a lack of moisture, which results from the environmental factors you expose your hair to.

5. Hair Thinning

There are two types of hair loss: the regular quantity that accumulates in our brushes or naturally sheds as we wash, and severe shedding that serves as the warning symptoms of hair damage. Other variables, like aging and protein loss, may also contribute to thinning around the hairline and across the head.

7. Split Ends

You probably have split ends if your hair starts to fray, your ends are immediately dry when you get out of the shower, or your strands are starting to thin at the edges. Why do hair strands split? The gradual separation of your hair along the shaft slows the growth and increases hair breakage.

08. Hair Breakage 

When your hair breaks, it’s probably because of a lack of elasticity, which means the hair is weak and can’t be stretched very far without breaking.

09. Chemical Damage 

If you’ve ever bleached and toned your hair or undergone any other drastic, severe color change, chemical damage might result in extensive breakage that leaves short hair patches. Still, other treatments can also be to blame.

Tight updos and overly heat styling could also be to blame. Use a heat protectant and nourishing oil to reverse the damage if you frequently use hot tools and are experiencing heat damage. If you have tight hairstyles causing damage, try relaxing them up or shifting the style around so that the strain is not always in the same place.

10. Slow growth

It’s time to pay attention to your hair’s health if you discover that your hair isn’t growing out or is growing too slowly. Your hair’s growth ability could be hampered by anything, including split ends, poor follicles, and dandruff. This inhibitor is damaging the hair, and being able to identify it is the first step to resolving that issue.

Can Damaged Hair be Fixed?

damaged hair restoration
Instagram / @francoandcohair

Most of the time, hair damage brought on by heat, chemicals, or the environment is irreversible. Hair doesn’t have living tissue like the body, so it cannot mend or regenerate over time. 

No matter how many products you use, the appearance of damaged hair won’t change overnight. However, the roots of our hair are continually developing, so they won’t exhibit the same level of damage as the tips.

The best treatment method is giving damaged hair time to develop and protecting the new roots. This does not imply that nothing can be done about it or that you chop all your hair off, though. Proper care and the right treatment would help improve its feel and look. Click here to learn more about fixing damaged hair.

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