We discuss ways that you can make your hair luxuriously beautiful in our article 5 Tips for Healthy, Luxurious Hair. Let’s get to the “root” of the problem by examining the many causes of dry hair.

Causes of Dry Hair

There are common reasons that hair may become unhealthy and overly dry, including:

  • In general, dry hair is usually caused by over-processing of the hair with chemicals. Permanent waves, coloring, bleaching, and straightening can cause hair to become damaged and dry.
  • Hair can become dried out even further through the use of heat devices like curling irons, flat irons, and blow dryers.
  • Excessive washing of the hair can be detrimental to the hair’s health. Harsh shampoos tend to strip away needed moisture.
  • The climate can have an impact on the health of the hair, especially if you live in an area where there is lots of sunshine and dry health with very little humidity in the air. In the same way, those people who stay outdoors in the sun for extended periods of time on a regular basis often experience dryness of the hair.
  • Nutrition and diet can have an impact on the hair. Those people who are anorexic find that their hair becomes brittle and dry because it lacks the nutrients it needs to stay healthy.
  • Insufficient amounts of omega-3 essential fatty acids in the diet can lead to coarse, brittle hair.
  • Overexposure to chemicals like chlorine in a swimming pool can lead to dryness of the hair.
  • Aging can cause the hair to lose its ability to retain moisture, leading to dry hair that is stiff and unmanageable and that lacks shine.
  • Two medical conditions, hypothyroidism and hypoparathyroidism can cause dry, brittle and thin hair.
  • After a hair transplant, your new hair can be dry and brittle for a while.

The Science of Dry Hair

To truly understand dry hair, you should first consider the science behind the problem. Normal hair cells line up in straight rows, almost like the shingles on a roof. Chemicals and harsh heat can cause the outer layer of the normal hair cell to become stripped or chipped away. This, in turn, causes the inner layers of the hair’s shaft to become exposed and to lose valuable moisture. And this damage causes the hair to fail to reflect light the way that smoother, healthier hair would. This makes the hair look lifeless, bland, and dull.

Because dry hair is stripped of much of its essential oils and lacks moisture, it often develops a texture that feels more like straw than hair.

Dry Hair Treatment Options

Fortunately, dry hair can be treated. The first step, of course, to ridding yourself of dry hair is to maintain a healthy scalp. Avoid the use of two-in-one shampoo/conditioner combos that actually don’t do an effective job of cleansing or moisturizing the hair. Go for a gentle shampoo and follow up with a conditioner that is specifically formulated for dry hair.

Be sure to read our article 4 Natural Treatments for Dry Hair to find great resources for treating the condition.

Here are some of the treatment options that are available to restore your hair to a healthy condition and fight dryness:

  • Hot oil. Hot oil treatments are a life-saver that can breathe new life into dull, dry hair. There are many over-the-counter hot oil products, or you can purchase them at your favorite salon. Use these products according to manufacturer’s instructions that are included. With most of these treatments, around twenty minutes is all it takes to revive a dull coif. For to rev up the effects of most hot oil treatments, place a shower cap (or plastic grocery bag) over the hair during the treatment – this holds in heat.
  • Scalp massage. Massaging the scalp is a great treatment for dry hair. Scalp massage will help to stimulate the oil glands of the scalp – which is exactly what dry hair longs for. You can do a scalp massage in the shower while shampooing, or anytime. To massage, simply rub your scalp with your fingertips gently but firmly. (As an added bonus, it feels good, too). Many salons offer scalp massages – so treat yourself.
  • Take a multi-vitamin. If your nutrition is less-than-the-best, it might be wise to start taking a multi-vitamin that contains omega-3 essential fatty acids to promote healthy hair.

Dry Hair Tips

  • Deep condition your hair regularly. Deep conditioning will help to fill in nicks and chips in the outer layers of the hair that have become damaged – and will also restore shine.
    Wash your hair only two to three times each week to avoid stripping away essential oils.
  • Be gentle with your hair when shampooing, combing, and styling to avoid more damage.
  • Forego excessive combing and brushing; the “100 strokes” rule that many people use daily on their hair may actually cause more damage or breakage.
  • Avoid multiple hair treatments within a short period of time. Perming, dying, and hot rolling your hair within the course of a week will definitely lead to dryness. Instead, allow a few weeks between these events to allow the hair time to recuperate.
  • Avoid heated styling appliances when possible. Set your blow dryer to the lowest, coolest setting and do not stretch or pull on the hair while blow drying.
Susan Ehlers

Susan Ehlers

Susan was born and raised in Seattle, where she studied Biology. Now she works as a health and nutrition coach. In her free time she enjoys canoeing and hiking together with her husband.
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