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Hair Breakage/Chemical Damage

What is Hair Breakage/Chemical Damage?

Hair Breakage/Chemical Damage is caused by using common, yet damaging chemicals that strip hair from the natural state. Some good examples include texturizers, chemical relaxers, hair color and perms. This can also be caused by extreme use of combs and brushes. This can also occur when using hot rollers or blow dryers. In addition, neglect of hair can cause hair breakage. Not washing hair or applying conditioner to hair can cause extreme breakage and damage.

What is the cause of Hair Breakage/Chemical Damage?

Using chemicals or other grooming and styling techniques to alter the texture of hair in a way that damages the cuticle, outer and inner root sheath structures to varying degrees of severity.

What are the symptoms and findings?

The hair becomes brittle and easily breaks. This can result in hair loss and failure of the hair to grow in length.

How is it diagnosed?

Brittle hair texture that breaks and crumbles easily when touched plus small bead like areas that can be felt when sliding the fingers along a strand of hair plus microscopic examination that reveals fractured hair shafts.

What tests are needed?

No tests are usually required, but in certain individuals bloodwork might be done to check for hypothyroidism or vitamin D deficiency.

What is the expected duration?

Patience may be required before damaged hair can be restored to normal and grow to its usual length. Once the cause of the damage and breakage is eliminated it can take a year or more for the hair growth to get back to normal.

How can it be prevented?

Avoiding excessive chemicals, over treating hair, using hot rollers and blow dryers is adjusted on an individual basis based upon hair strength and texture. Air drying hair is ideal. In addition, regular hair maintenance with hair moisturizers and conditions can help avoid this condition.


There are no prescription medications that specifically help to correct damaged hair. If a thyroid condition or anemia is a contributing factor, these problems can be corrected.

Hair conditioners and moisturizing products will help strengthen hair. Proper nutrition and hair vitamins can ensure that the body gets everything it needs to grow healthier, stronger hair. Avoiding all chemicals including hair dyes, relaxers and perms are a must until the damaged hair is replaced by new growth.

When to contact a professional

At the first sign of hair breakage that is persistent, see a hair professional to see if the problem can be corrected with hair strengthening and conditioning techniques. If there is a concern about a contributing factor due to a medical related condition, see a dermatologist as well.


It usually takes up to a year with no chemicals or styling techniques to resolve hair breakage, In the meantime, your hair stylist professional can assist those with hair breakage hair strengthening and conditioning products. They can also style hairs to minimize and disguise breakage and allow the hair the opportunity for growth. Avoiding all chemicals and avoiding hot styling products is also a must.

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