What causes hair breakage? Is it hard water, friction, over-processing, poor diet, exposure to the sun, or lack of moisture in it? Learn more about all the causes including extreme cases, breakage at the crown, and in black hair both in men and women. In our other work, you will more about how to treat and how to prevent it.
How much breakage or loss is normal
On average, a normal person should shed of between 50 to 100 strands of hair. This is considered normal. However, if yours is breaking, you will definitely shed more.
This problem can be caused by a number of things, which we will discuss in detail in this article. If you are interested in best treatments for hair that is breaking, or ways on how you can prevent such hair that is breaking, we have covered them elsewhere. Let us not go straight to what causes it in women and in men.
Why does it break?
While discussing what causes, we are going to discuss some of the main causes or reasons in details. Later in the discussion, we will mention something small about causes in black hair as well as look at what causes it crown as when on the crown, it can lead to a receding hairline.
Normally, breakages happen when the external forces overwhelm the individual strand strength. Some of the main causes include the following:
1. Devices used during processing and care
Various processing and hair care devices such as blow dryers, flat irons and curling irons, etc. can trigger hair damage and breakage. According to The American Academy of Dermatologists, “warmth that is produced by these devices penetrate the hair shaft, causing it to become brittle and more vulnerable to breakage” [Livestrong].
This, therefore, means that you need minimally to use these devices or use them only when it is extremely necessary if you are to avoid sudden hair breakage causes.
People who process theirs quite often will have its texture hampered with and their strands will become very weak. This means that during styling and grooming, they are likely to lose some of it that have been already weakened. This is why you will see more of it when you are for instance combing your hair.
2. Excessive styling, use of styling products, brushing, and shampooing
This reason is closely related to the first reason and it can too cause breakages to occur. When you use various chemicals such as hair dyes, relaxers, perms, texturizers and other treatments, you strip, change or break bonds that make your natural hair strong and give it the texture it has.
In fact, most of the chemicals you use can really leave it weak and vulnerable to breakage especially those containing peroxides or hydroxide ions. Any mild strain on it will make it fall off.
Hairstyling can be a reason for why it is breaking off. This is particularly true for people who opt for styles that tend to overstretch it and thus affect its natural elasticity, cause more friction during styling and changing them too often.
Imaging the strain, you cause it if you keep on stretching, twisting and pulling it, each day as you style. Think of it and you might never ask again or google why yours is breaking.
In fact, although they initially it was believed that using vigorous combing does help. Yes, it might help in increasing blood circulation to your scalp but it can lead to this problem. Ensure you don’t aggressively brush it, shampoo it, or comb it. Instead, a simple way to encourage hair growth is gently massaging your scalp with various natural oils, shampoo and use a leave-on-conditioner.
3. Wrong styling, care products and using hard water
Going on with causes, there are people who are fond of using the wrong grooming (such as tight ponytail and buns that strain hairline and might cause breakages in this area) and styling products.
If you do so, you might encourage it to break. For instance, using a comb made form abrasive material or that is too fine can make your hair to break off. Furthermore, some combs have seams that tug it and thus causing breakages. Stay away from such combs.
In addition, washing it with hard water has been found to causes of hair breakage. Hard water will make it dry as all the moisture is sucked from your scalp due to the alkaline hard water you are using.
Finally, ensure you do not style it when it is wet or drenched as it is more fragile while wet. This is one of the causes of mechanical hair breakages.
4. Poor diet lacking proteins and minerals
To some people, what this issue is beside the above things. It has to do with the diet they eat and some vital minerals. Insufficient amounts of proteins can affect your hair growth and health since its growth requires proteins (it is made of keratin, a type of protein).
This will result in thin and weak hair that can easily break when mildly strained. Ensure you eat foods with lots of lean proteins, both animal and plants proteins such as legumes, eggs, etc. Other diets that will give the much-needed vitamin B, B12, E and Iron include organ meat, nuts, salmon, soybeans, broccoli, milk, bananas, poultry, meat, pumpkin seeds, etc.
Furthermore, lack of Iron and zinc has been found to encourage hair falling off. Ensure you have diets that are rich in these minerals or go for food supplements if you cannot naturally get all these nutrients.
Insufficient iron and zinc can cause brittle hair, which falls during grooming or styling. A quick natural remedy for such breakage is to ensure you apply eggs on it. Also, eat green vegetables are they are rich in these minerals.
5. Bad hair accessories
It is not just the hairstyles you use that can cause this issue but also some accessories such as rubber hair bands and hairpins when worn too tightly. The American Academy of Dermatologists recommends the use of loosely fitting clips and fitting barrettes and you should ensure they are not placed at the same point always.
5. Rapid weight loss
For people who rapidly lose weight, about 15 pounds in a few months, they might suffer from breakages since this is one of the side effects of losing weight rapidly. If you are on a regime to lose weight, ensure it is gradual. However, such will stop after a couple of months.
6. Some medical conditions can cause it
If you have dry hair that is very brittle, you could be suffering from an underlying illness or condition. Problems such as bulimia and anorexia nervosa (eating disorders) and hypothyroidism can cause breakage.
In addition, Trichorrhexis nodosa, induced by environment, malnutrition or genetics can be behind this issue you experience. This illness can also be induced by “argininosuccinic aciduria, Menkes’ syndrome, Netherton’s syndrome, argininosuccinate lyase deficiency, trichothiodystrophy and hypothyroidism,”[Source – Urban Bash Babes].
These are not the only medical causes of some medications, more illness and conditions might cause it too.
7. Sulfate containing shampoos and hair care products
Shampoos that contain sulfates i.e. the SLS and ALS might be too harsh for your hair or weaken it. This can make it start falling off.
8. Overexposure to sunlight
Exposing it to too much sunlight, especially during summer can weaken and cause breakages during the fall or winter seasons. To prevent such breakage, try protein treatment or trim your hair.
9. Cotton pillowcases
Cotton pillowcases can be too abrasive, causes friction or hair drying as they absorb moisture from it. Instead, use satin or silk pillowcases, as they are less abrasive and will minimize breakages or even naturally reduce receding hairline. In addition, not covering it while sleeping, especially if you are a wild sleeper can cause this problem.
10. Hair Pulling
Some people are fond of pulling their hair, especially when they are stressed up. Avoid even twirling your fingers in it as it has the yanking effect it that will eventually break it off.
- Moisture – Protein Balance – This often causes frizz and curly hair is prone to the condition that can make it fall off.
- Hormonal Imbalances – Hormonal imbalances, especially during pregnancy can exacerbate its breaking off. In fact, this is the reason why some women will have this issue during pregnancy i.e. breakage during pregnancy.
- Stress – high level of stress level often leads to this problem.
- Irregular and poor detangling, poor washing and ignoring it
What causes hair breakage at the crown
Some people have this problem at the crown area that often results in a receding hairline or even baldness if not contained. Some of the causes of extreme breakage at the crown include:
- Excessive stress which often leads to both recede and break at the crown or frontal area of your head.
- Relaxer stretching, which has many pros could cause this problem especially “Crown area breakage can occur when hair that is either transitioning or being relaxer stretched for a given period of time is combed or smoothed back into a ponytail” [ Yahoo Voices]
- Wrapping it has been found to trigger this issue at the crown especially when it is done on the same point.
- The use of dryers that are hooded, which are the best in styling as they focus, heat on their central units, which coincides with where your crown hair is, is another cause.
- Poor relaxer application where you might overlap it severally to your crown hair as you apply different areas of the head
Causes of breakage of African American hair – black hair
If you have black hair, it is characteristically slightly different, especially in its texture. We are referring to the African and African American hair. Most of the causes are similar to the ones we have seen.
Additional causes include the use of hair extensions, alcohol-containing styling products, and tight plaiting. Furthermore, use of the incorrect care and styling products can cause it to break.
I guess you have solid answers to the question, what causes hair breakages, and even from the causes, you can easily guess ways on how you can stop this breakage. Other helpful and valuable resources on this hair that is breaking you can rely on include the following: