How you style your hair, along with the styling tools you use, can cause significant hair damage.
This damage can cause your hair to look brittle, frizzy and lackluster or even fall out. The good news is that you can prevent damage by following tips from dermatologists.
Hair styling without damage
"Hair myths, such as brushing your hair 100 strokes each day, can cause split ends,” said board-certified dermatologist Paradi Mirmirani, MD, FAAD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the University of California, San Francisco. “Having healthy hair is possible if you know how to care for your hair before and after styling.”
To prevent hair damage and hair loss, Dr. Mirmirani recommends people follow these tips:
• Dry your hair by wrapping it in a towel after a shower or bath. Another alternative is letting your hair air-dry.
• Most people should handle wet hair as little as possible as wet hair breaks more easily when combed or brushed. However, people with tightly curled or textured hair should brush their hair when wet to decrease the chances of hair breakage.
• Keep brushing to minimum. Brushing your hair 100 strokes each day can cause split ends.
• Reduce the use of “long-lasting hold” styling products. Using a comb to style your hair after you apply the product can cause the hair to break and can lead to hair loss over time.
• Allow your hair to partially air dry before you style or comb. Decreasing the number of times per week that you blow dry also helps limit damage.
• Flat irons should be used on dry hair on a low or medium heat setting, no more often than every other day. If you use a curling iron, only leave it in place for a second or two. No matter your hair type, excessive heat can damage your hair.
• Do not continuously wear braids, cornrows, ponytails and hair extensions. These styles pull on the hair and can cause tension that leads to breakage. If the tension continues, permanent hair loss can develop.
“If you’re experiencing hair loss or breakage, there might be more to blame than your styling patterns,” said Dr. Mirmirani. “If you have questions or concerns about caring for your hair, you should make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist."
These tips are demonstrated in “Hair Styling without Damage,” a video posted to the Academy website and the Academy’s YouTube channel. The video is part of the Dermatology A to Z: Video Series that includes skin, hair and nail care tips. A new video in the series posts to the Academy’s website and the YouTube channel each month.