At The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research, we know that hair loss can often be difficult to diagnose, not only because there are so many different conditions that can cause hair loss, but also because there are external environmental factors that can appear to make it worse. One of those conditions is dryness. During the fall and winter months, when people are exposed for several months to the dry, heated air from a furnace or central heating unit, many find that their hair seems thinner and more brittle. Moreover, many men and women have noticed that certain hair styling practices, like heated drying or color treatment, can make the hair more prone to damage. This has led some to wonder whether dryness might exacerbate or even cause hair loss. The answer is, unfortunately, somewhat complicated and requires an understanding of exactly what hair is, but we are here to offer some potential solutions.
Dryness is rooted in the anatomy of the hair shaft itself. The only living part of an individual hair strand is the bulb that lies deep underneath the skin, and the hair that we can see is simply a collection of inert amino acid strands, or polypeptides, woven together in a complex pattern. These strands are coated by a layer of dead cells that overlap like the scales of a fish. Heat and dryness not only strip away this protective layer, but also adversely affect the bonds between the polypeptide strands underneath. These bonds between the strands make the hair strand thicker, so when those bonds break down the individual strands take on a fine, frayed appearance, commonly known as “split ends.” Moreover, thinner hair tends to be more fragile and brittle, making it more prone to breakage. While all of this does not necessarily contribute to the underlying causes of hair loss, since it does not have any impact on the growing hair follicles located underneath the scalp, it does tend to make any hair loss that has occurred seem more severe.
First and foremost, we recommend that men and women who are experiencing hair loss refrain from using curling irons, flat irons, or hair dryers that apply excessive heat directly to the hair. The most common reason for baldness in men and women, genetic pattern hair loss, causes the hair follicles to produce progressively thinner hair strands until they eventually stop producing hair entirely. Those suffering from this condition generally find that their hair loss is much more noticeable when their hair has become dry and brittle.
Secondly, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can also help protect the hair from moisture loss and keep it looking its best. Because hair is composed mostly of protein, getting proper nutrition for your hair in the form of lean meat (chicken, fish, or pork) or quinoa, soy, whole grains, and beans is essential. We also recommend making sure that you get enough iron, which helps cells carry oxygen vital to the hair follicles, and omega-3 fatty acids, which make up the natural oils that keep your scalp and hair hydrated. The specialists at The Griffin Center can recommend nutritional shakes and supplements that will help keep your hair healthy and resilient.
So even though excessive dryness is not, in itself, one of the causes of hair loss, it is still something you should definitely avoid. If you or someone you love might be experiencing hair loss or if you would like to learn more about what hair restoration treatments might be right for you, please contact The Griffin Center of Hair Restoration and Research to schedule a consultation. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to get the latest news in hair restoration and research.