9 September 2021

TOHair ends are splitting, but are you doing everything right? Trichologist Elena Yarutkina told what non-obvious factors lead to damage to curls and how to avoid it.

Elena Yarutkina (@ dr.yarutkina)

Elena Yarutkina (@ dr.yarutkina)

Trichologist, dermatocosmetologist “Central Clinical Hospital with Polyclinic”, Administrative Department of the President of the Russian Federation

There are two main causes of hair cutting: internal disturbances in the body (nutritional deficiencies, endocrine imbalances) and external influences – the so-called atmospheric aging.

The last 10 centimeters of hair can “tell” a lot: it is they who usually endure repeated washing, hot temperatures from drying and styling devices, dyeing, perm and straightening, and combing. Let’s add here the natural negative influences of the environment: ultraviolet light, low temperatures, water – the cumulative effect of all these influences is called atmospheric aging.

As you know, hair does not forget anything – everything that has ever happened to you is reflected on it. Therefore, the ends of the hair are especially sensitive to damage – they experience the process of atmospheric aging for the longest and most severely.

At the same time, it is impossible to “cure” hair damage or permanently restore split ends. The hair is too complex, and the destroyed fragments will not return to their previous appearance. With various cosmetics and care procedures, we can only glue split ends, but nothing more.

And remember, the foundation of your care is shampoo. It should have good cleansing properties without being aggressive. In addition, high quality shampoos are formulated with conditioning additives to improve the appearance of hair. It is important to note that the more damaged the hair, the softer the shampoo should be.

Chemical exposure

Damage to hair (especially the ends) is very noticeable in women who are exposed to constant chemical exposure. They not only damage the cuticle, but also affect the proteins of the cortical layer with their subsequent destruction – this causes splitting of the tips or breaking off in the middle part of the rod.

Hair damage has a vicious mechanism: damaged curls quickly get tangled, and the increased friction force due to the close location of the hair again intensifies the damage to the structure.

Haircut with blunt scissors

There may be specific damage to the hair, for example, due to cutting with blunt scissors. In this case, an uneven cut with jagged edges is formed – in the end, the cuticle quickly becomes exposed under the influence of atmospheric aging and begins to flake off.

Insufficient hydration of the hair

Aids such as air conditioners are ideal for minimizing damage and must be used. They “wrap around” the hair fiber to reduce friction damage, prevent tangling, and reduce static electricity and smooth rough surfaces.

Conditioners appeared relatively recently, but managed to make a great contribution to health and appearance: thanks to them, the hair is pleasant to the touch, elastic, and obedient.

And for a deeper recovery, nourishing masks and serums are well suited. As with the conditioner, it is desirable that they contain hydrolyzed keratin and silk, collagen, panthenol, sphingolipids, phospholipids. Natural oils can also be used for the ends: argan, coconut and jojoba oil.

In addition, you should use heat protectants and light moisturizing sprays to make combing easier. And do not forget about a regular haircut from a professional hairdresser to prevent the formation of split ends.

Choosing the wrong comb

According to statistics, women can brush up to 1000 times a month, when more than 5,000 such movements lead to hair damage. Therefore, you need to comb it as needed, and not every 2 hours. It is also important to use a high-quality comb – they are not suitable from metal, wood and cheap plastic.

Remember that wet hair is more easily damaged than dry hair, since water can disrupt the structure of the protein, affecting the electrostatic interaction of the protein chains. Tangling and damage to the ends with wet combing of straight hair is stronger than with dry hair and vice versa in the case of curly hair.

Improper diet and vitamin deficiency

Nutrition directly affects the condition of the hair. Deficiency of vitamins A, C, E, biotin, as well as copper, iron, silicon, sulfur leads to dryness, increased fragility and split ends.

Proteins are also very important in the diet – from them we get amino acids, in particular, sulfur-containing cysteine ​​and methionine, which are needed for the production of keratin (the main protein of the hair structure). Also, curls need L-lysine to build both the hair itself and the hair follicle – without it, they will be brittle and lifeless.

The protective layer of the skin and hair consists of lipid complexes – ceramides, sterols, phospholipids, fatty acids. Lack of fat in the diet cannot provide the usefulness of the protective lipid layer of the skin, due to which the hair loses moisture, and the condition of the follicle deteriorates, which leads to loss.

To provide hair with all the necessary vitamins, minerals and macronutrients, you need to include in the diet meat and poultry, offal, fish, eggs, vegetables (especially green), fruits, berries, nuts, legumes, whole grains.

Hormonal Disorders

Hormonal disturbances can also lead to changes in the structure of the hair. The most common cause is hypothyroidism. Due to the weak function of the thyroid gland, the metabolism of the hair follicle is significantly reduced, as a result of which it can no longer produce healthy hair. They become dull, brittle, thin, and moreover fall out.

Diseases of the scalp

Indirectly, this factor can also be the cause of split ends. For example, inflammatory conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, and red scalp syndrome lead to persistent inflammation around the hair follicle. All this leads to the fact that he synthesizes hair with a weak structure, which are easily damaged.

Tight tails and tufts

Any mechanical action leaves little damage on the hair. Hairstyles, styling are no exception. During the modeling of hairstyles, we intensively comb, comb, wind, stretch, tie our curls with tight elastic bands (which are often the source of damage themselves due to metal inserts). This damage gradually accumulates and deepens.

Unlike chemical damage to hair, the effects of mechanical damage do not appear quickly, but they are no less destructive. If the hair has been additionally chemically treated (dyed, bleached, curled or straightened), then there is an even greater risk of severe damage.

Improper shampooing

On the one hand, washing takes an important place in hair care, since during this hygienic procedure, sebum, dirt, and dust are removed from them. On the other hand, washing also negatively affects the hair – in particular, because of the water and shampoo itself.

Fortunately, today’s shampoos are not as aggressive as 20 years ago (those that are suitable for frequent use, here). But if your product even today dries out the hair a lot, causes itching and irritation of the skin, this is a reason to change it to a better one with delicate cleansing properties. Frequent use of shampoos with too active surfactants can lead to leaching of the lipid film from the hair, which leads to the destruction of the first cortical layer, and then the inner one.

It is more difficult with water: for many, it flows from the tap of poor quality and contains harmful metals. For example, copper and iron are absorbed by the hair and cause oxidative reactions that damage the bar. In hard water, where there is a lot of calcium and magnesium, the formation of foam is reduced and silicones are precipitated from the conditioner.

By the way, in the aggregate, the volume of water over 1200 liters damages the hair. And the worse it is, the faster the damage. The water in the pools and the sea is unfavorable, therefore, after bathing, it is imperative to rinse your hair with fresh water.

High temperatures

Thermal exposure causes many structural changes, but their degree is determined by the final temperature, as well as the cumulative time of its exposure. If hot tools are used at medium temperatures, visible damage can be avoided.

Hot air evaporates moisture from the space between the fibers inside the hair. Protein degradation begins at temperatures above 190 ° C, which is associated with the rupture of cystine disulfide bonds, and intense exposure to this temperature can even lead to the destruction of keratin. Of course, few women on a regular basis use a hair dryer and iron at high temperatures, but nevertheless, such phenomena do occur.

Sunbeams and cold

The mechanism of damage by sunlight is complex. It was found that all components of the hair structure, including proteins, lipids and melanin, are affected. The most unpleasant thing is that ultraviolet light causes oxidative stress, which leads to the destruction of the breakdown of proteins and lipids due to their interaction with the formed reactive oxygen species. This severely damages the scalp and hair.

Therefore, you do not need to sunbathe or walk in the sun for a long time without a headdress. For other summer bugs that spoil your hair, read here

As in the case of any factor of atmospheric aging, low ambient temperatures also damage the hair structure: they dry out, electrify, split ends quickly appear. Of course, for this there must be repeated exposure to cold air, but the best protection is prevention: in severe frost, hide your hair under hats.

Text: Anastasia Speranskaya