Experts speak of hair breakage or trichoclasis when hair becomes brittle beyond a normal level. They can break off directly at the hairline or in the lengths. This happens because the individual hairs become rougher and finer over time due to various influences.
The structure becomes weak and breaks. Hair breakage is not to be confused with split ends. With a split end, only the ends of the hair strand are brittle and lackluster. These then begin to splinter after some time.
The causes of brittle hair
In brittle hair, the outer cuticle layer of the hair, the so-called cuticle, is damaged or roughened. This layer, consisting of several layers of keratinized cells, protects the hair from environmental influences. In strong and healthy hair it forms a smooth cover. This gives the hair a shimmering shine. Damaged hair on the other hand looks dull and strawy.
With pronounced damage, parts of this layer can be lost. In this case, the fibrous trunk of the hair is exposed. Due to the lack of protection, the hair can break at this stage and the so-called hair breakage occurs. In rare cases, problems with the thyroid gland or a lack of vital substances can cause brittle hair. Usually, however, incorrect care and strain are the reason for the problem. To prevent this from happening, you should follow the following tips.
Hair breakage can have external and internal causes. External causes include frequent hair coloring, too much heat from styling, or stress. Internal influences for brittle hair can be, for example, an unhealthy diet, taking medication, or hormone fluctuations. These occur especially during menopause. This is because the production of the typical female hormones (estrogens) decreases, while the level of the typical male hormones (androgens) remains stable. The resulting fluctuations in the hormone balance make the hair structure porous. The result is sudden hair breakage.
Hair care: Less is often more
Exaggerated or wrong care can damage the hair in the long run. Too frequent washing, unsuitable shampoos, combing, and too hot blow-drying put a strain on the hair. Hair dyes, perms, intense sunlight, and chlorinated water can also damage the hair.
Tips for hair care:
Use a shampoo that is suitable for your hair type. For example, if you have rather dry hair, you should not use a shampoo that additionally dries out the hair. Instead, use moisturizing and replenishing care products.
Do not wash your hair too often. A natural grease film, which is produced in the hair root and is distributed in the hair, protects and cares for the hair structure. Some dermatologists recommend not washing your hair more than three times a week.
Regular hair treatments or conditioners with lipids, amino acids, or panthenol help with brittle, brittle hair. The caring ingredients supply the outer horny layer with new moisture and make it elastic.
Blowing dry too hot, straightening with hot straightening irons or the use of curling irons can damage the hair. Moist, softened hair is particularly sensitive.
Combing and brushing is undoubtedly part of normal hair care. However, too much does not make your hair more beautiful but can have the opposite effect. The mechanical stress can additionally roughen an already damaged outer horny layer. It is best to use combs with teeth that are further apart.
Frequent coloring and perms not only weaken the outer layer of the hair but can also damage the inner structure of the hair. If your hair is brittle, you should give your hair a break.
With vital substances against brittle hair
For healthy, strong hair to grow back, a balanced diet with sufficient vital substances is necessary. The vitamins biotin, folic acid, and B12 are particularly important for hair growth, as are the trace elements zinc, iron, and selenium. In order for these nutrients to reach the hair root, you should not smoke and avoid alcohol. Smoking reduces blood circulation and alcohol inhibits the absorption of vitamins and consumes zinc and other vital substances during decomposition.
Brittle hair: When should I see a doctor?
If there is no improvement despite all care instructions or if the brittle hair is accompanied by severe hair loss, you should consult a dermatologist. This can be caused by hyperthyroidism or hormonal imbalance. Temporary hair loss can also be caused by flu, scarlet fever, shingles, or syphilis. Medications such as blood pressure reducers, blood thinners, antibiotics, acid blockers, or psychotropic drugs can disturb hair growth.
Home remedies against hair breakage
To strengthen brittle hair again and to protect healthy hair in the long term, you can fall back on these household remedies:
- Honey with apple vinegar for a strong hair structure
Vinegar seals the hair with a new cuticle layer and honey provides moisture to the hair. Application: Mix about 60 g honey with 10 tablespoons of vinegar. Massage the mixture into damp hair and leave for 15 minutes. Then wash out with warm water. To strengthen the hair in the long term, the cure should be used about twice a week.
- Black tea against dry hair
The tea helps to rebuild dry and damaged hair and supplies it with vitamin C and E. Directions: steep black tea in a cup of hot water for about 10 minutes. Then add a drop of jasmine oil and let it cool down. Then use the tea as a conditioner after washing the hair. Let it soak in for 10 to 15 minutes. Repeat the process once or twice a week.
- Aloe Vera provides vitamins to the hair
The plant provides the hair with many important enzymes, vitamins A and C and amino acids. These protect the hair structure. Application: Fresh Aloe Vera juice for about 10 to 15 minutes directly on the hair and let it work. Then wash out with warm water.
- Coconut oil repairs hair damage
The coconut oil penetrates deep into the hair, repairing internal damage and preventing further damage. Directions for use: Warm the coconut oil briefly and apply directly to the hair and scalp. Massage for about 5 minutes and leave to soak in overnight. The next morning, wash out the care with a mild shampoo. The application can be repeated up to three times a week.
- Olive oil thickens the cuticle layer
The olive oil protects the hair from damage, seals the outer cuticle layer and provides it with antioxidants and vitamin E. Application: Warm olive oil slightly and massage it onto the hair and scalp for about 5 minutes. Then cover the hair with a warm towel and let the care work for about 30 minutes (or overnight). Then wash out the hair with a mild shampoo. For noticeable results, apply the treatment about once a week.