What It Really Means When Your Hair Starts Breaking

There are many different hair types, from curly to straight to wavy. When it starts breaking, though, you might notice frizz or coarseness, especially at the ends or near the roots (via Medical News Today). But why does this happen?

First, we have to understand how hair grows. The hair that grows out of our scalp is made of dead cells, similar to our fingernails, according to Healthline. Strands of hair are called hair shafts or filaments, and they're mostly made from a protein called keratin. Each shaft grows from a hair follicle, which we have all over our bodies, except for places like our lips and palms. Each follicle contains a bulb, where blood vessels send nutrients and grow hair cells. As new strands of cells are made, the old ones get pushed out, which is what we see. So the new cells are rooted in the bulb while the old cells lengthen into strands of hair, which is why we can't feel pain when our hair is cut.

The follicles go through different stages, so at any given point, they may be actively growing, transitioning, or resting, which is when strands can fall out, according to Healthline. But what if breakage is a major issue?

Why hair breaks and how to prevent it

Even though the hair we see is technically dead, it still requires care. If it isn't getting the proper care, it can break. Here are a few reasons why.

The products you use could affect the strength of your hair (via Medical News Today). Harsh chemicals found in things like colorants, relaxers, and even some shampoos can cause hair to become brittle and eventually break. The way you style your hair could also take a toll. Using too much heat from a hairdryer, straightener, or curling iron, can strip moisture and cause breakage. Over-brushing is another way the strands can snap. Additionally, styling your hair too tightly can cause strain on the root and ultimately breakage.

Health and lifestyle factors can also affect your hair. Stress and anxiety, along with any severe trauma or shock, can damage the hair, according to Medical News Today. Thyroid disorders and eating disorders can also affect hair's health and the cycle of hair growth, leading to breakage and loss.

If you notice your hair starting to break, you can help repair and prevent breakage by getting regular haircuts, changing your hair care routine, reducing stress, and getting plenty of protein, omega-3s, iron, biotin, and zinc in your diet.