4 Tips to Repair Damaged Hair | The Daily Dose

4 Tips to Repair Damaged Hair

July 09, 2020 6 min read

Woman with long hair hanging upside down in front of a colorful backdrop

Have you noticed your hair could use some TLC? Trying to repair damaged hair can be an arduous task, and almost everyone has experienced hair damage in some form whether it be split ends or breakage. Lackluster and broken hair strands can cause major frustrations in anyone’s hair journey. If you’re noticing your hair follicles have been dry, dull or frizzy or if the ends of your hair are splitting, your hair could be damaged.

If your hair strands are breaking and causing hair loss, it could be the result of heredity, hormonal changes, medical conditions or medications(1). Damaged hair can also be caused by scalp conditions such as Psoriasis, Alopecia, and Seborrheic dermatitis due to oxidative stress secreted from the scalp from these scalp conditions(2). Daily tasks like coloring and straightening hair or swimming can even lead to damage but don’t worry, there’s still hope.

What causes hair damage?

Here is a list of the reasons your hair could be damaged:

  • Poor nutrition can affect hair growth. Vitamin deficiencies, such as iron deficiency anemia, can make it a challenge to grow hair. If you’re not fueling your body properly, your hair may not be getting the nutrition that it needs to thrive(3).
  • Health conditions such as lupus or hormonal imbalances may cause brittle hair to shed(4).
  • Genetics play a role in hair growth and can determine the strength and resiliency of your hair (5).
  • Stress over time can significantly harm your body. Various forms of stress can trigger negative bodily responses, such as hair loss(6).
  • Improper hair techniques like using heated styling tools, dying hair frequently, or forgetting to moisturize hair can lead to breakage.

Whether you’ve chemically damaged your hair or simply made being unkind to your hair a bad habit, these tips, and natural remedies can help condition dried out locks and restore your damaged hair. .

Pills in a green container

1. Take supplements

How you treat your body plays a role in the health of your hair. Nourished hair is a reflection of physical health, which means poor diet and lack of nutrients can cause hair to become fragile by impacting both hair structure and hair growth(7). Hair requires vitamins such as iron, zinc, B-12 and proteins to support hair structure, promote growth and moisturize the scalp for flourishing hair. Vitamins and minerals are crucial for normal cell growth and function and may contribute to hair loss when there is a deficiency(8). The best way to absorb vitamins is through the food you eat, but if you have trouble eating healthily or have vitamin deficiencies, supplements are an effective way to maintain healthy hair.

Taking vitamins for hair growth is an easy and natural way to achieve length and healthy strands. With the onslaught of supplements advertised across social media, it can be difficult to choose the proper supplements. When oral supplements are taken, they are absorbed in the bloodstream where it nourishes cells and hair follicles(9).

Biotin has been shown to create stronger and thicker hair. A lack of Biotin can result in thinning hair over time, leading to damage and hair loss(10). Taking biotin supplements can help restore your body’s biotin levels.

Taking a vitamin specifically engineered to promote healthy hair can rebuild stressed strands. These help provide the body with bioavailable keratin, which is easily absorbed by the body and repairs hair at a cellular level. According to a controlled study, Cynatine can reduce hair loss in as little as 30 days, making Total Hair an effective hair supplement(11). Total hair is formulated with the following ingredients to help you achieve optimum hair health:

  • Cynatine HNS: A patented version of soluble keratin, which is the protein found in hair, skin and nails and is responsible for protecting and strengthening hair and nails (12).
  • EVNolMax: A full-spectrum (all 8 isoforms) vitamin E containing tocopherol and tocotrienol, which have been clinically shown to strengthen and repair hair at a cellular level (13).
  • BioPerine: Improves the bioavailability and effectiveness of supplements and allow for better absorption of nutrients and minerals

2. Avoid heat damage

Heat damage happens when heat is applied to hair strands on a setting that is too high, which potentially causes damages in the cuticle and cortex of the hair fibers(14). This happens because the heat causes the denaturation of the α-keratin and the degradation of the components of the hair cortex.

Products such as protein treatments can help improve the look of your strands, but once heat damage has irreversibly occurred, your hair won’t ever completely bounce back. If you can’t bear to say goodbye to damaged ends, avoid further degradation with the following ways:

  • Air-drying your hair after washing
  • Always use a heat protector such as conditioner, lotion or spray, before applying heat to your hair. Be sure to turn down the heat of your styling tools.
  • Use heat masks to help damaged hair. There are many hair masks on the market but consider creating your own natural mask at home. Homemade hair masks can turn dull and dry hair into shiny, lustrous strands. Try mixing honey, egg and apple cider vinegar for a DIY hair mask. The mixture is a great hydrating treatment that provides shine and nourishment.
  • Apply apple cider vinegar to your hair as it contains minerals like manganese, calcium, potassium and iron to aid hair growth(15).

Pre-treating your hair with protectants before heat styling has been shown to improve moisture restoration and water retention of hair, especially when pre-treated using products with selected polymers(14). The body is estimated to have 100,000 different polymer-based proteins. Collagen, one of the most common proteins in the body, is used for support and structure(16). The polymers help the hair because the improvement in cuticle health and smoothness of the heat pretreatments play an important role in eliminating breakage.

Woman with long healthy hair looking into the sunset

3. Limit sun exposure

Just like skin, hair can also be damaged by extended sun exposure. Long-term exposure to UV light emitted from the sun can contribute to the removal of the lipid layer on the outer surface of the hair fiber, making it challenging to detangle and style. When venturing outside to enjoy a dose of sunshine, limit sun exposure by covering up with a hat and use hair products with UV filters.

If you’re struggling with sun or heat-damaged hair, the best option may be to cut off the dead ends to get rid of the damage and start from scratch. Chopping off the limp, heat-damaged ends of your hair can give them a chance to grow healthily again. But you don’t have to do it all at once. If you regularly trim your hair, it will keep your hair healthy and help you retain a longer length.

4. Eat right

Even though you can’t change your genetics and age, your eating habits are something you can control. Malnutrition can cause hair to change color, weaken or fall out. The living part of hair is under the scalp skin where the root is housed within its follicle. Hair derives its nutrients from blood, so eating properly is essential to repairing and preventing damaged hair(17). Using crash diets can cause temporary hair loss due to necessary nutritional factors. To prevent this, add the following foods to your diet for proven results:

  • Protein-rich foods such as lean meats, eggs and Greek yogurt. Not getting enough protein or experiencing sudden weight loss can trigger acute telogen effluvium (TE), hair shedding lasting less than six months(18).
  • Sweet potatoes are nutrient-rich root vegetables that are high in vitamin A, a necessary vitamin for repairing damaged hair. Carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, are found in plant foods and have to be converted by the body into vitamin A. Vitamin A has been shown to activate hair follicle stem cells, stimulating hair repair(19).
  • Shellfishis a source of protein that is loaded with iron. When you don't consume enough iron-rich foods, your body can't produce hemoglobin in your blood. Hemoglobin is what carries oxygen for the growth and repair of cells in your body, which includes the cells that stimulate hair growth(20). Clams, oysters and mussels are particularly high in iron.
  • Salmon contains essential omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, vitamin B-12 and iron that can help strengthen tresses. Essential omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon can support scalp health to ward away a dry scalp and dull hair. When hair is dry and dull, it can lead to severe breakage(21).

In summary

Dealing with damaged hair is never easy. Whether you’re suffering hair damage from heating tools or poor eating habits, there are natural and healthy solutions to reverse and repair damage. From taking supplements to limiting sun exposure, these tips are effective ways to witness proven results and return to having beautiful, flowing strands.

Laura Tolliver - Contributing Writer, Physician’s Choice

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