Why Do I Get Split Ends?

Split ends can ruin even the most beautiful hairstyles. But how can you avoid them if you don’t know what causes split ends in the first place? Learn how to prevent split ends to keep your hair looking sleek, shiny, and healthy.Every strand of hair is made up of two or three layers, depending on your individual hair type. The inner layer, called the cortex, is made up of a protein called keratin. Keratin is the same protein that makes up your nails as well as the outer layer of your skin.  The outer layer of your hair is called the cuticle. The cuticle is made up of cells which are layered over each other like shingles on your roof to protect your hair from damage and give it a healthy shine.  If you have thick hair, there is another layer beneath the cortex. The innermost layer, the medulla, contains additional keratin and is believed to help strengthen hair, although it is not present in every type of hair.

When the scales that make up the cuticle wear down, the cortex becomes exposed. Once the cortex is exposed, it is easy for it to be damaged and over time, the strands of keratin begin to unravel.  This causes the hair to split – either at the end or further up the strand of hair. If the split occurs further up the strand, it may cause the strand to snap off at the break.

Your hair, while resilient, is still quite fragile. When there is too much strain placed on the hair, it becomes more susceptible to damage – and most of the strain comes from normal wear and tear.  Styling your hair with heat and products can cause damage. Many common chemicals found in hair styling products can cause your cuticles to dry out and break down, leaving your hair vulnerable to split ends. If you color, perm, relax or otherwise chemically treat your hair, try to wait as long as you can in between treatments. Spacing out chemical treatments and using high moisture shampoos, conditioners, and other moisturizing treatments can help to keep your hair smooth and healthy. Heat-styling also opens the cuticle, leaving the cortex vulnerable and exposed. The biggest cause of damage is allowing your hair to become dry and brittle.

If you’re not careful, being outside can also damage your hair. Even if you’re spending the day in the pool, the chlorine can dry out your hair. You should always wash your hair after you’ve gone swimming or after any workout that causes you to sweat. The salt from your sweat can be hard on your hair and can sap out the moisture.

Keeping your hair smooth and healthy is easy, once you know what to look out for. Just keep your hair clean and moisturized to prevent damage and split ends. Taking care of your hair will definitely cut down on trips to the stylist!

Some people include a thermal hair repair product or moisturizing treatment to further safeguard their hair. Our experts have ranked the top hair repair products on the market. Visit our review section to find out which product ranked the highest.

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