Can heat cause hair loss? Damage control when things get TOO HOT!
Noticing hair shedding more than usual and wondering what could be going on? The culprit could in fact be your styling habits, especially if you have them on daily repeat, and even more so if you have chemically treated hair.
Why does heat cause hair loss?
Heat causes dryness and breakage. Damaged hair can drop more quickly and in broader areas than healthy hair. Heat actually destroys the proteins in hair strands and dries out cuticles.
What causes heat-related hair loss?
Blow drying, flat ironing, using curling irons, and over-styling, especially chemically treated hair, every day without giving hair a rest.
How do I know if my hair is damaged by heat?
Hair that is hard to manage, won’t hold style for long, has singed ends, is dry and brittle, hard to brush, has split ends, and less elasticity are all signs of heat damage.
How hot is too hot for hair appliances?
Hair dryers: between 80 F and 110 F - a good rule of thumb is to always use the medium heat setting. *Pro tip: always blow dry your hair in a downward direction to keep cuticles flat, creating a smooth finish to hair.
Flat irons: 365 F is the maximum you should ever use to straighten hair. Pros say the ideal is between 300 F and 350 F.
Curling irons: under 200 F for fine or thin hair, and 200 F to 300 F for thicker or more coarse hair textures.
*Golden rule: never use appliances over 400 F - not only will you damage your hair but you risk burning your scalp.
Do heat protectants really work to prevent damage?
Treating your hair before styling gives you a 50% better chance of avoiding heat damage to your hair, but the only way to really control the breakage and dryness is to style less - much less. Instead of heat styling your hair every other day, aim for only twice per week to cut the amount of heat you actually use on your hair. When you do use heat, treat your hair with a protectant before curling or straightening.
How they work: heat protectants create a protective coating on the hair with silcone, polymers, fatty acids, natural oils and panthenol that seals in moisture, reduces frizz, and smooths cuticles, and helps disperse the heat more evenly.
Wet or dry hair?: spray or apply product to dry or damp hair and let the product actually dry before heat styling.
Can leave-in-conditioner work as a heat protectant? Yes, when applied to wet hair before blow drying.
DIY heat protectants:
Using a hair oil as a sealant before styling creates a protective barrier to heat and helps to create a smooth finish. Not all oils have these benefits and how you use them is vital. Thickly applied oil can actually cause the straightener to drag on hair, causing more damage that if you hadn’t used an oil at all. Use only oils with a high smoke point: this is crucial as when an oil heats up and reaches its “smoking point” or “burning point” it causes a release of free radicals that can be toxic.
Argan oil has a high smoke point which is ideal for use as a heat protectant. Pat hair dry with a microfibre towel to avoid frizz and breakage. Rub a few drops of argan oil into your palms and gently run your fingers through your hair before styling.
Coconut oil also has a high smoke point, and it is a good choice for really dry hair as it locks in moisture. Mix 1 teaspoon of oil into 3/4 cup of water, and then spray or apply to wet hair before drying.
Does summer heat cause hair loss?
In fact, yes: any extreme temperatures, whether hot or cold can cause approximately 10% of hair follicles to enter the resting stage of growth, which can mean more hair shedding than usual. But don’t worry - seasons change! And that means this natural hair loss will not last for long, and hair will begin regrowing when temperatures stabilize. Giving your hair styling tools a break in summer is a good idea, to not exacerbate the situation. Try braids, natural beach waves, and ponytails instead! Curl or straighten hair extensions (with care!) instead of your own hair. Skip a trip to the salon for highlights by wearing balayage extensions to avoid chemically treating hair during summertime. Keep your hair conditioned, protected and trimmed, and let your hair have a natural moment without compromising on style. Contact us today for expert advice in choosing the best extensions to help you kick up your style in time for summer, so that the heat comes from you, not from your tools.