Most women are familiar with the dreaded split ends, also known as trichoptilosis. They can make your hair dry, brittle and difficult to style. If left unmanaged, split ends can lead to more extensive damage to the hair. In the long term, keeping split ends at bay can seem like an impossible feat. The first step towards achieving and maintaining healthy locks is to understand the do’s and don’ts of hair care.
Anatomy of a Split End
Hair is made of individual strands comprised of three layers: 1) the medulla (innermost layer), 2) the cortex (the middle layer), and 3) the cuticle (the outer layer). The innermost of these layers is called the medulla. It contains melanin, a hair follicle pigment that gives your hair its color. The cortex is comprised of keratin, long proteins that are coiled together to make hair strong and gives it texture. The cuticle is made up of dead cells that protect the other layers of the hair. When the outer cuticle layer becomes damaged, the protein strands come unwound and cause the strands of hair to split. If left untreated, split ends could progress and make the entire strand of hair split, cause extensive breakage of the hair and leave you with hair that has thinned out.
Causes of Trichoptilosis (Split Ends)
Many stresses can damage the cuticle and cause splits ends, from mechanical and chemical to thermal and genetic. The most obvious causes include the use of heat to style hair. Blow dryers, curling irons, flat irons, and even the sun are thermal stresses that can wreak havoc on your hair. Brushing your hair incorrectly, using the wrong comb or brush and tugging on detangled hair are examples of mechanical stresses that can damage your hair. Chemicals such as perms, hair dyes, strong shampoos, as well as certain medications can strip away the protective layer. Lastly, some people have disorders or a genetic predisposition towards getting splitting ends.
Prevention of Trichoptilosis (Split Ends)
There is no “cure” for split ends that already exist. Though many hair care products claim to repair split ends, the fact of the matter is the only way to get rid of them is to cut them off. It’s best to see a trained beautician who can cut out the split strands, especially if you have a layered cut. Once your hair is free of split ends, it’s imperative that you minimize or avoid doing things that put stress on your hair. While some things can’t be avoided, there are steps one can take as preventative measures:
- Do deep condition ends of hair regularly.
- Do eat a balanced diet to provide nutrients to the hair.
- Do use the proper type of comb and brush.
- Do cover hair with a hat when exposed to extreme weather.
- Do use natural hair coloring products.
- Don’t over wash hair and strip it of its natural oils.
- Don’t pull at tangles in the hair.
- Don’t leave hair exposed to the sun.
- Don’t use high-heat settings on blow dryers and styling irons.
- Don’t aggressively dry hair with a towel.
Living with split ends might seem like the end of the world for those with serious hair goals. In many cases, it’s simply a matter of changing poor hair care habits. While not all causes of split ends can be eliminated, there are approaches that help prevent split ends so you can enjoy a beautiful and healthy head of hair that is easy to manage.
Trichoptilosis, or split ends can be very detrimental to your hair health. At New Look Institute, we provide hair loss prevention services for women and men. We believe that combining early detection with the proper preventive hair loss program, getting your healthy hair back is possible. We customize your treatment program based on your particular hair loss issues, your degree of hair loss, and the condition of your scalp and hair. To schedule a free consultation call us today at (408) 279-4247 or to contact us via email click here.
Photo Credit: Jo_Johnston Via Pixabay
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