Surveys suggest more and more of us are using hair straighteners to achieve that perfect look. As many as one in three women are now believed to own some form of straightener, and they are becoming increasingly popular among men too.
But there are fears that our addiction to straighteners and other heated tools may be creating problems of their own. The London Centre of Trichology, a leading name in women’s hair loss treatments, takes a keen interest in hair-related issues of the day. Here we explain why your straighteners and even your humble hair dryer can cause problems, and how you can use them more safely.
The Source of the Problem
Most straighteners, such as hair irons, hot combs or blow dryers with a comb attachment, use some form of heat to make your hair more responsive and more likely to retain a smooth sheen. The same applies if you use a curling iron to protect your wavy locks.
All of these can make your locks more vulnerable to heat damage. Applying too much heat can damage your hair’s outer protective covering known as the cuticle, and can expose the inner fibre or cortex. The damage can start as split ends but can go all the way up the hair, resulting in hair breakage.
Keep the Heat Down
Although some hair straighteners can reach temperatures of well over 220C, we advise you to keep the level down to 180C or below, usually a low or medium setting. This will cut down the risk of damaging your locks, while still providing enough heat to achieve the style you want.
More generally, you should try not to use hair straighteners more than two or three times a week, and let your locks dry out naturally before you start using any heated tools. This is because the cuticles of wet hair are more likely to blister or break if they come into contact with a heat source.
You should also try to keep your straighteners or dryer on the move. Concentrating too much on one particular patch will increase the risk of damage. Blow dryers with nozzle attachments are preferable as they will help spread the heat more evenly.
Try Protective Products
There are plenty of hair care products on the market that are suitable for use before you switch on your straightener. Conditioners, for example, will help protect your hair, with some containing ingredients like keratin which will help lock in the moisture. You could also use a moisturising shampoo which can help keep your hair hydrated while you use your straightener.
A lot will depend on the type of hair you have. For fine or thin hair, you could consider a heat protectant spray, while oils, creams and lotions offer more protection for thicker or coarser hair.
Ask the Experts
If you are noticing any form of hair loss, The London Centre of Trichology would be happy to talk to you. We should be able to identify the causes of your problem, if using any heated hair tools has been a factor or if there is a deeper-lying reason.
We will be able to offer a range of men’s and women’s hair loss treatments. Our London based expert trichologists have years of experience in treating people for a range of conditions, including alopecia and male and female pattern baldness. Click on the link above to arrange your initial consultation, which will be free.