Almost anyone nowadays makes use of blow dryers as it helps to set a particular hairstyle early on and to avoid getting a cold especially during the winter.
But are there really some side effects to the use of blow dryers especially in terms of causing hair loss? The answer to this is somehow varied as each person has a different method and frequency of using hair dryers and it can also depend upon the health of the hair.
Just like with medical prescriptions, what may work for one does not necessarily mean that it will work for another person?
But first, we have to understand what actually hair loss is. There are basically two ways for you to lose hair and that is either through hair breakage or damage to the hair follicles. Aside from that, there is also a natural phase in your hair growth where the hair just sheds on its own.
This is known as the exogen or some call it the tellogen phase where the hair just falls as it had already stopped growing. So if you notice that on a particular week or month you seem to notice a lot of hair fall, you may attribute it to this phase.
How can Blow Dryers Cause Hair Loss?
Blow dryers, as some may have already experienced, can reach very high temperatures. You may have experienced some occasional burning on your skin or scalp when you forgot to move your dryer to other parts of the hair.
Even if you are extra careful sometimes, this just seems to be unavoidable and this can be attributed to the fact that some blow dryers do reach excessively high temperatures than you expected. This type of temperature can affect either the hair shafts or it could also affect the hair follicles in the scalp.
- When excessive heat is applied to the hair, especially when you are blow drying an already dry hair, the moisture that is locked inside the hair can evaporate leaving the hair shafts brittle and easy to break. If you are not mindful of this situation, you can also make the problem worse by brushing your hair roughly. Weak and brittle hair will easily break when mechanical force is applied. The lack of moisture decreases their elasticity hence the breakage. So if your hair breaks quite easily, of course you cannot expect it to grow long.
- Excessive heat directed towards the scalp on the other hand may damage the hair follicles. Although these are situated beneath the surface of the scalp, any significant damage due to “burning of the scalp” can affect the follicles underneath. If the follicles are burned or damaged severely, it may cease to function altogether leading to hair loss. Some studies have also shown that the effect of heat can also be more severe on the follicles with already damaged hair strands. The thickness of the scalp can also be a determining factor on whether the heat will easily burn the follicles or not. Hence, an individual’s state of health can also affect how easily blow dryers can burn your scalp.
How can You Avoid It?
To avoid potential hair loss due to blow dryers, here are some steps that you can do:
- Only use blow dryers on damp hair, never on dry hair. Excessive drying of the hair will make it weak and brittle.
- Use serums, leave-on conditioners, and heat protectants before blow drying. Ingredients such as glycerin and certain glycols will help slow down water evaporation and help retain moisture in the hair.
- Limit use to twice each week. Excessive use of blow dryers can not only affect your hair but the oils on your scalp as well. Without these natural nourishing oils, hair growth can be affected.
- Use low to medium heat settings. These are preferable if you want to avoid over-drying your hair. You can use high heat settings but this should be reserved to occasional uses and not regular usage.
- As much as possible, blow dry your hair until damp and then air dry it. Studies have shown that letting your hair to dry naturally allows the oils to reach and nourish the hair shafts making it shinier and also more elastic.
When you sense you are losing hair then immediately for and meet a trichology specialist who will assess and suggest some best shampoos for hair loss
In life, anything that is excessive can affect our health negatively and this is also true in blow drying your hair. Excessive heat as well as excessive usage can make your hair and your scalp weak and damaged.
Our hair needs natural moisture from water as well as from the oil that our follicles secrete and drying the hair using heat affects these processes.
So just like with other things, balance is crucial if you want to retain a healthy head of hair when using blow dryers.