By: Melanye Maclin-Carroll, MD., Dermatologist
Hair breakage is the most common frustrating issue leading to different lengths of hair throughout the scalp. The daily ‘wear and tear’ from combing, brushing, heat, and styling products can weaken your hair strands causing them to break at various points. Additionally, if you use chemical relaxers or dyes, they can permanently reduce the strength of your hair strands, especially if applied more than the recommended time of every six to eight weeks.
Here are a few tips to reduce hair breakage:
1.Start with an overall
healthy hair trim! The ends are the oldest part of your hair strand which are prone to split up hair strands and break off making your hair shorter in some areas! Get a good hair trim of about ¼ inch to cut away damaged ends every six to eight weeks to avoid even more breakage! If can not get to a professional, an easy ‘do-it-yourself (diy) way is to tightly twist small sections of your hair and simply trim off the ends.
2. Wash Hair Weekly
to Remove Product Build-up! Wash hair once a week to remove excess product build-up. Many styling products contain heavy oils and waxes that coat your hair and can cause hair to break off. Wash with a clarifying shampoo at least once a month. Contrary to popular belief, frequent hair washing does not dry hair out and is needed to reduce risk of yeast and bacteria growth on your
scalp. Scalp is skin and needs to be cleaned weekly at least!
3. Deep Condition
Hair Weekly with Heat! Apply your favorite conditioner, plastic cap and leave on for at least 30 minutes. In order to really get the ingredients to absorb into hair strands and scalp for increasing hair strength, add moist heat instead of the dryer heat.
4. Moisturize Hair
Daily! As women of color, our hair is naturally drier due to less sebaceous (oil) gland secretions plus the heat and chemical which make our hair even drier. Apply a daily moisturizer (oil sheen, lotion, etc) , especially to the ends which are more prone to break when too dry. One of my favorites for dry hair is simply basic olive oil applied heavily with a plastic cap the night
5. Avoid Overuse
of Chemical Relaxers! Relaxers, both lye (sodium hydroxide) and no-lye (calcium hydroxide, guanine hydroxide) contain ‘hydroxides’ that break the sulfur strengthening/curling bond of your hair and can be even worse when over-used. Relaxers should only be applied to new growth every six to eight weeks to limit chemical overlapping onto previously relaxed hair. Important to base the entire scalp, not just the hairline, to protect chemicals from absorbing into the skin. Overuse of relaxers can damage your hair roots causing ‘follicular degeneration syndrome’ which is common in women of color (crown of scalp starts thinning mimicking male pattern balding) The same rule applies for hair dyes. Avoid semi-permanent and permanent hair dyes if hair already relaxed..this is too many chemicals on hair at one time.
6. Give Tight Hairstyles a Break! We tend to like low-maintenance hairstyles such braids, weaves, and ponytails but they can break hair off from the roots inside the scalp when too much tension! Although easy to maintain and a favorite by many, do loosely to avoid ‘tension alopecia’ which is type of hair loss that can result in scarring if severe. Give your hair a break for a
few months if detect too much tension and make sure not to go back to bad hair habits!
7. Feed Your Hair Roots! Hair grows from a root within your scalp so you must take care of it on the inside as well to reduce hair from coming out even more. Get started with the Dermatologist-developed all-natural, BellaNutri hair supplement (www.bellanutri.com) to nourish and stimulate your hair roots. Your hair will grow faster, longer, stronger, and thicker even in bald/thin areas. It must come from the inside as topical products can not get inside scalp skin to your roots and the hair vitamins are like basic multivitamins that do not directly target hair and can lead to major side effects.
For any questions or to order, you may call 301.809.2962 or toll-free 866.711.HAIR (4247)
Happy to help you with hair success!