“Are you burning something in here?”
“Nope, just flat ironing my hair!”
I’m sure we’ve all heard that phrase one too many times and didn’t think anything of it. But as time goes on and we continue to apply heat to our head, we start to notice small changes in our hair texture. It doesn’t feel as soft or look as luminous. It’s starting to feel weak and brittle. Strands of our hair may begin to shed on the floor or break right into our own hands. Your hair is looking more limp, a lot thinner and you’re left with straight and wavy pieces all over. All of these red flags are signs that you are a victim of heat damage.
So how does heat damage your hair?
According to a book entitled “The Science of Black Hair” , one of the major causes of hair damage to natural hair is physical manipulation of the hair fiber. Physical damage stems from excessive manipulation, tension and handling of the hair. The use of heat- producing appliances, such as blow dryers, flat irons, curling irons and the wand aggravates this damage. So whether heat is applied to your hair at a high temperature or you’re just using heat back to back, you’re changing the natural structure of protein. Hair is made up of a protein called keratin, that has a natural twist in it called an alpha helix. This is present in both straight or curly hair. The keratin in your hair begins to melt around 215-235°C (419-455F), which brings forth a physical change that is irreversible. The Natural Haven blog states that your hair will retain the shape of the melted keratin at a molecular level and it shows this molecular damage by not getting back into it’s natural curl or wave and staying straighter.
My battle with heat damage
I began transitioning my hair for no other reason than heat damage. I went to a hair dresser that applied to much heat and just like that some parts of it fell off. I was mortified. After doing some research, I learned that hair grows back quicker in it’s natural state so I’m currently trying it out. Let me be the first to tell you that dealing with multiple hair textures and my hair breaking off is not easy at all. But it got easier, once my beautician cut my hair.
So how can you treat heat damage?
The Natural Haven blog states that there are no growing cells in the dead part of the hair, so if the cuticle is broken, it will remain that way. Even if you treat the cortex the damaged cortex, it stays damaged and it will continue to progress. So don’t fall for the promises made by products to cure your hair of damage. Some can make the hair stronger and lessen the damage, but the best way to to have healthy hair again is always prevention or trimming the dead ends.
Have you ever experienced heat damage? If so, how did you treat your heat damage and how do you prevent heat damage now?
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