Hair straightening has been one of the most popular styling methods for women and girls since we can remember.
The magic in transforming curly, wavy, or kinky hair to straight flowing tresses (or even just giving straight hair a sleeker look) is irresistible and exciting.
However, hair straightening isn’t all good – it can actually be really bad for your hair when done incorrectly.
So can flat irons cause hair loss? The answer is yes, and you’ll see why.
Even with the use of top of the line heat protectants, your hair is at the risk of being damaged by hair straightening flat irons if they’re used incorrectly.
The misuse of flat irons is the culprit of many common effects of hair damage. It causes hair to thin out, become brittle and frayed, and yes – even break off.
Here are the top 4 reasons why flat irons damage hair; maybe you’re the culprit of a few:
1. Too hot. Flat irons temporarily straighten hair by altering the hydrogen bonds in the hair via heat, which isn’t necessarily bad for hair.
But extreme heat from a flat iron has the potential to burn and dehydrate hair and break down the proteins in the hair shaft. It’s important to select a safe heat setting for your hair.
Even if it’s just one time, a too-hot flat ironing session can cause split ends, heat damage, and hair loss in the form of breakage.
2. Too often. Flat ironing your hair once or twice a month may not damage your hair. But flat ironing every other day or even every day is a recipe for disaster!
If you have textured hair, the constant application of heat can alter your natural curl pattern and leave it limp and weak, susceptible to breaking off.
Even straight-haired girls aren’t safe from constant heat use – brittle, dry hair is just as likely to break off.
3. No heat protectant. Flat ironing without a heat protectant is something like a death wish.
Heat protectants are made for a reason! They contain silicones that create a synthetic barrier between the heat and your hair, and often also contain proteins and oils that help fortify your hair.
When you flat iron without using a heat protectant, you’re going into a battle without armor. Your hair shaft has no protection from the heat.
Whether your hair is thick or fine, and whether you use 300 degrees or 450 degrees, you can still get heat damage, which leads to breakage and hair loss.
4. No protein or moisture treatments. The perfect balance of protein and moisture is essential to healthy hair, especially if you’re a fan of flat ironing.
Because the heat from a flat iron has the ability to dehydrate your hair and break down the protein in it, protein and moisture treatments before as well as after flat ironing sessions are extremely important for keeping your hair on your head.
Lack of these treatments leaves your hair dry, weak and lifeless, and it eventually breaks off.
What can you do if you experience hair loss and breakage from flat iron use? Well, there are a few options.
Minor heat damage such as dryness or weakness may be fixable by moisture or protein-based treatments once a week/biweekly to revive the hair.
Severe heat damage like split ends and large-scale texture loss, though, is irreversible. In these cases, you have the option of cutting off the damage all at once, or just trimming it bit by bit as your virgin hair grows out.
All in all, flat irons do cause hair loss when used incorrectly or without precautionary methods.
Fortunately, since this damage isn’t to the follicle, it’s not permanent and can be prevented or cured by ways such as allowing enough time between flat ironing sessions, using hair treatments, and using safe heat levels.