Heat is an essential hair styling tool used by both men and women to style their hair. Drying, curling, straightening, and dyeing all involve the use of heat. Unfortunately, while heat is an essential element of many styling techniques, we often don't realize the damage it causes to our hair.
How Does Heat Damage Your Hair?
Some styling tools don't allow for temperature control and have only one setting. Others offer basic options, such as low, medium, and high, while some reach temperatures of over 400°F and provide precise control. Unfortunately, while you might expect that more control and higher temperature might make styling easier and do less damage to your hair, that's not the case.
How Heat Affects Your Hair
Your hair is primarily composed of a fibrous protein called keratin. When exposed to temperatures over 300°F, keratin changes on a molecular level. When exposed to high heat, keratin loses its elasticity, weakening your hair and leaving it prone to further damage. In addition, high heat alters the hair's protein structure by stripping away natural oils and causing your hair to become dry and brittle.
The hair shaft is covered by an outer layer called the cuticle. This outermost layer is composed of dead cells, which form overlapping layers of scales that strengthen and protect the hair shaft. Usually, the cuticle layers lie close and tight, but high heat can cause the layers to open and rise or crack the cuticles. When the cuticle is damaged, your hair is less elastic and more prone to breakage, split ends, and tangles.
Signs of Heat Damage
Using heat may be one of the easiest ways to style your hair, but it's far from safe, and if you can avoid it, you should. Here are a few of the most common signs that excessive heat is causing damage to your hair.
Excessive Hair Shedding
Hair shedding is a normal part of the hair growth cycle. The average person sheds between 50 and 150 hairs every day. However, if you are experiencing an increase in hair shedding, the use of hot styling tools and high heat may be the problem. Using hot tools and exposing your hair to high heat weakens the hair shaft leading to increased breakage. While several factors may cause excessive hair shedding, it is a common sign of heat damage.
Split ends are a natural part of the hair process that everyone experiences. While some people may not get split ends for as long as six months, most need a trim every eight to 12 weeks. If you notice that split ends appear sooner than expected, it may be due to heat damage. High temperatures remove the natural oils needed to protect your hair, leading to split ends, and leaving your hair looking thin and lifeless.
Heat can also affect the curls in your hair. Heat tends to make curls larger and even disappear eventually. And while you may want to have straight hair, heat is not the best solution. Rather than the straight locks that you dream of, heat damage often leads to semi-curly hair that hangs flat and lifeless.
Can Excessive Heat Damage Your Hair?
Heat is one of your hair's worst enemies. Heat damage can occur over just a few days but can take months to repair. Heat dries out your hair and can leave it damaged and lifeless. And the more heat you use, the more damage you cause.
Even if you've been using hot styling tools and your hair looks fine, don't ignore the first warning signs. Eventually, your hair will react to the frequent heat application and start causing you problems. At New Look Institute, our experienced team can help find a solution for your hair condition. If you are experiencing issues with your hair, contact us today and schedule your FREE initial consultation with our team of hair specialists.