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Types of Damaged Hair

author image Michelle Miley
Writing professionally since 2008, Michelle Miley specializes in home and garden topics but frequently pens career, style and marketing pieces. Her essays have been used on college entrance exams and she has more than 2,000 publishing credits. She holds an Associate of Applied Science in accounting, having graduated summa cum laude.
Types of Damaged Hair
A hair dresser dying a woman's hair. Photo Credit Mediaonela/iStock/Getty Images

Consult a physician if a medical problem, such as ringworm or piedra, is damaging your hair. Otherwise, a less-is-more approach to hair care is wise: Brush, style, blow dry and chemically treat your hair as little as possible. Use shampoo and styling products specifically designed to combat any damage your favorite hairstyle or color causes.


Contrary to Grandma’s advice about brushing 100 strokes daily, excessive hair brushing causes split ends. Anything that pulls on your hair can cause damage, including weaves, braiding, extensions, ponytails and other dos. Even shampooing too frequently makes the hair dull and damages it. This type of damage usually manifests as breaking or split ends, but it can also lift the hair’s protective cuticle in the same way as chemical damage.

Substance Abuse

Chemicals are not able to work unless they penetrate the hair shaft. To that end, all hair chemicals open the protective cuticle scales of the hair shaft and lift them. Bleaches, dyes, perms and straighteners all have this effect on hair. Unfortunately, lifted cuticles allow moisture to escape the hair shaft and pollutants to enter, causing dried, frizzy, weak hair susceptible to breakage and split ends.

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The heat of flatirons, curling irons, and other heat-styling devices physically changes the hydrogen bonds in the hair, making it dull and limp. Blow drying forces water still trapped in your hair to expand in the heat, bubbling out and damaging the cuticle or the hair shaft itself. Hair that contains these bubbles is much more likely to break and split.

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