With so many heated styling tools available, you may wonder if too much heat is bad for your hair. The short answer is yes! Excessive heat can damage your hair. Keep reading to learn how heat damages hair and what you can do to prevent it.
How Does Heat Damage Hair?
First, it is essential to understand the three parts of a hair strand. There is the outer layer, middle layer, and inner layer.
Components of Hair Strands
The outer layer is the cuticle. It’s easiest to think of the cuticle as the protective shield and the layer responsible for giving hair its shine. This layer also helps to lock in moisture.
The cortex comprises the middle layer and most of the hair strands. It contains melanin (responsible for hair color) and is made of keratin proteins and structural lipids. This layer gives each strand its elasticity and strength.
The medulla is the innermost layer of a hair strand and is responsible for transporting nutrients and oxygen to the hair follicle.
Heat Damage Occurs at the Molecular Level
Excessive heat damages hair at the molecular level by breaking down the cuticle layer, removing moisture, and converting alpha keratin to beta keratin. In the most severe cases, excessive heat can burn strands of hair, causing the affected strand to fall out.
Does All Hair Have the Same Heat Tolerance?
No, heat tolerance varies depending on your hair type. Keep in mind that just because your hair is in really good condition doesn’t mean it can’t be damaged by excessive heat. Heat damage is permanent. The only way to rid your hair of heat damage is to let it grow out and trim it off. Otherwise, the damaged hair must finish its life cycle and fall out.
Signs of Heat Damaged Hair
The most common signs of heat-damaged hair include:
- Dry hair – Frequent exposure to heat removes the moisture, causing hair to dry out.
- Frizzy – Excessive heat damages hair strands, which can cause them to be frizzy.
- Split ends – You will notice that heat-damaged hair has more split ends because it cannot retain moisture and loses its elasticity and strength.
- Hair loss – Excessive heat can damage hair strands to the point that the life cycle is shortened, and the strands fall out prematurely, resulting in thinning and hair loss.
Tips for Preventing Heat Damage
Fortunately, there are things you can do to minimize or eliminate the risk of heat damage to your hair.
- Refrain from using heat on your hair and adopt natural hairstyles.
- If you can’t avoid heat completely, apply only when needed.
- Avoid applying direct heat (curling or straightening) to wet hair.
- Use high-quality heated styling tools.
- Set your tools to the lowest heat setting possible.
- Always apply a quality heat protectant.
- Visit your stylist for regular trims.
When Hair Loss is More Than Heat Damage
Excessive heat can irreversibly damage hair. Minimizing the use of heated styling tools reduces the risk of damage due to heat while avoiding heat eliminates the risk altogether. But what do you do when you suspect the issue is more than heat?
You do not have to live with hair loss, thinning, or an unhealthy head of hair. LH Hair is the premier hair restoration studio in Charlotte, North Carolina. No matter what stage of hair loss you’re experiencing, we have a solution for you. Our certified hairstylists will guide you through the process in a comfortable environment. Don’t waste another minute dreaming about a full, healthy head of hair. Schedule your free consultation today!