Brittle and damaged hair can impact your confidence and there are a number of reasons why you might be experiencing weak hair. In fact, stress, pollution, hair products and food can all play a role in your hair health.
The good news is, there are many ways you can rehabilitate your damaged strands and achieve healthy, happy hair. We've compiled everything you need to know about strengthening your hair. Let's get into it.
What causes weak hair?
Let's start by taking you through the causes of weakened hair, so you know the next best steps to tackle hair strength .
Heat styling tools such as straighteners, curling irons, and hair dryers can cause weak hair by damaging the hair's structure and moisture content.
When hair is exposed to high temperatures, the heat can break down the proteins and natural oils in the hair shaft, leading to a loss of elasticity and strength.
Chemical treatments such as hair colouring, perming, and relaxing can weaken the hair, particularly if they are done frequently.
Hair dyes and bleaches open up the cuticle layer of the hair and break down the natural pigment, which can make the hair weaker and more prone to breakage.
Air pollution can contain a variety of chemicals and particles, such as sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter, that can damage hair.
These pollutants can cause hair to become dry, brittle, and prone to breakage. They can also damage the scalp, leading to dandruff, itching, and other scalp conditions.
Did you know sun damage is equally as bad for your skin as it is for your hair? UV rays can cause damage to the outer layer of the hair shaft, known as the cuticle.
This can lead to dryness, brittleness, and breakage. UV rays can also damage the scalp, causing it to become dry and itchy.
Extreme heat or cold can lead to weak hair. For example, exposure to cold weather can cause the hair to become dry and brittle, while exposure to hot weather can cause the hair to become frizzy and prone to breakage.
Poor diet or nutrient deficiencies
You are what you eat is certainly true when it comes to the condition of your hair. Your diet plays a major role in your hair's health. not getting enough protein-rich foods, for example, can result in weak hair.
A lack of healthy fats can lead to brittle hair, whereas too much sugary food can cause inflammation which can damage your hair follicles.
Stress can cause hair breakage in a few ways. For example, it can disrupt the hair growth cycle, cause hormonal changes that damage the hair follicles, and lead to tight hairstyles that put tension on the hair.
Stress can also reduce blood flow to the scalp, which can weaken the hair and make it more prone to breakage.
Inflammation and damage to the hair follicles caused by imbalances in hormones can weaken your strands making them more prone to breakage.
Hormonal changes can also disrupt the normal hair growth cycle, leading to increased hair shedding and thinning, which can eventually lead to breakage. The most common imbalances that can affect your hair include thyroid, oestrogen and cortisol imbalances .
Some medications used to treat cancer can cause hair loss or thinning, while others used to treat high blood pressure or acne can cause dry, brittle hair that is more prone to breakage.
Additionally, some medications can cause nutrient deficiencies that can impact hair health. It's important to talk to a healthcare provider if you suspect that a medication you're taking may be impacting your hair.
What can weak hair lead to?
Weak locks aren't just an aesthetic issue. While your hair can impact your confidence, it can also lead to the following :
- Breakage: Weak hair is more prone to breakage, especially when exposed to physical stress or chemical treatments such as bleaching or colouring
- Thinning: Weak hair may start to thin out due to hair loss caused by breakage or other factors like hormonal imbalances, poor nutrition, or stress
- Dullness: Weak hair may appear dull and lacklustre, as it is more susceptible to damage from external factors such as sun exposure and harsh styling products
- Split ends: Weak hair can lead to split ends, which can further exacerbate the problem of hair breakage and thinning
- Scalp Irritation: Weak hair can cause scalp irritation, as hair that is weak and brittle can rub against the scalp and cause discomfort
- Reduced hair growth: Weak hair may not grow as fast or as thick as healthy hair, as it may be more susceptible to damage that can slow down hair growth
- Hair loss: Experiencing all of the above, including breakage, thinning hair and scalp irritations, can cause permanent or temporary hair loss. Additionally, weak hair is more susceptible to damage from physical stress and chemical treatments, which can lead to breakage and thinning. Weak hair may also grow slower and thinner, resulting in reduced hair density
What makes hair stronger?
A healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals, a proper hair care routine, and avoiding harsh treatments like excessive heat styling or chemical treatments can all contribute to healthier hair.
Important building blocks for hair health include :
Hair is made up of a protein called keratin, which is why getting enough protein in your diet is so important for hair health. Good sources of protein include lean meats, fish, poultry, eggs, beans, and nuts.
Helping to carry oxygen to the hair follicles, iron is essential for healthy hair. Good sources of iron include red meat, chicken, fish, spinach, and lentils.
Collagen is protein that helps to strengthen hair, and vitamin C stimulates collagen production, which in turn can help with hair growth.
Rich sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, berries, kiwi, peppers, and broccoli.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Found in fatty fish such as salmon, flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts, omega-3 fatty acids are important building blocks for scalp health.
Biotin is a B vitamin that helps to strengthen hair and promote growth. Good sources of biotin include eggs, nuts, whole grains, and avocado.
Essential for hair growth, zinc helps maintain the oil-secreting glands that are attached to hair follicles which are essential for hair repair. Red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, and whole grains are all high in zinc.
Fibre helps to improve overall health, including the health of your hair. Good sources of fibre include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
Healthy hair also depends on environmental and hair care factors. Shielding your strands from sun damage and using high-quality hair products will go a lot way to repairing your locks.
How to strengthen hair
Strengthening weak hair is simple with a few changes to your lifestyle, diet and hair care regime. Here's how to approach it.
- Change up your diet: Eating a healthy, balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals can help promote hair health and strengthen weak hair
- Avoid harsh chemical treatments: Chemical treatments like bleaching, perming, and colouring can damage hair and weaken it. Avoid or minimise these treatments if possible
- Use gentle hair care products: Use hair care products that are gentle and do not contain harsh chemicals that can damage the hair
- Avoid heat styling: It's time to ditch the hair dryer and heat styling tools like straighteners and curling irons. These can damage hair and weaken it over time. Avoid or minimise heat styling, and use heat-protectant products when you do
- Get regular trims: Getting regular trims can help prevent split ends and breakage, which can weaken hair
- Practice good hair hygiene: Wash your hair regularly with a gentle shampoo and conditioner, and avoid brushing wet hair, which can cause breakage
- Consider supplements: Some supplements, such as biotin and collagen, may help strengthen hair when taken as directed by a healthcare professional
Routine for stronger hair
Looking for a straightforward hair care routine? Well, we've created one for you. Here's how to take care of your locks and bring them back to health.
Use a gentle shampoo and conditioner
Look for shampoo and conditioner products to boost hair growth hair. Pilot's Hair Growth Shampoo & Conditioner are formulated to do just that thanks to the inclusion of ingredients like saw palmetto, biotin, niacinamide, zinc and caffeine, which are associated with healthy hair growth.
Avoid shampoos with sulphates and harsh chemicals as they can further damage your hair. Instead, opt for a gentle, sulphate-free shampoo that will cleanse your hair without stripping it of its natural oils.
Condition your hair after every wash to help keep it moisturised and nourished.
Choose a conditioner that is specifically designed for weak or brittle hair, and leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing it out.
Use a hair mask
Once a week, use a deep conditioning hair mask to provide your hair with extra nourishment.
Look for a hair mask that contains ingredients like argan oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, shea oil or keratin, which can help strengthen and repair weak hair.
Be gentle when brushing your hair, especially when it's wet. Use a wide-toothed comb or a brush designed for detangling to avoid pulling or tugging on your hair.
Consider using a hair loss treatment
If you're experiencing hair loss, a hair loss treatment may be worth considering.
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Software for ageing concerns, June 2022
Software for ageing concerns, June 2022