Understanding Why Your Hair Is So Dry

Dry hair is a common condition that affects millions of people. It occurs when our hair lacks moisture and dries out, just like when we have dry skin. Left untreated, dry hair can progress to hair loss. Dry hair can arise for many reasons, some of which are out of our control, while others are the direct cause of our actions. Read on to learn why your hair is so dry and how you can treat or prevent it.

Key takeaways:

Causes of dry hair

There are many causes of dry hair, not all of which are under our control without a doctor's assistance, which, for the most part, are the direct result of bad lifestyle or haircare decisions. However, certain cases are caused by diseases or adverse drug reactions.

Among the reasons why hair gets dry are:

  • Age. As we get older, the oil glands in our bodies produce less oil, which leads to dry hair. Also, our protective epidermal barrier, which keeps moisture in our skin, becomes dysfunctional and allows moisture to escape, leading to dry skin and hair.
  • Hair care practices. There are numerous hair care techniques that can harm our hair. Your hair can become dry and damaged due to the harsh chemicals found in hair products and heat-styling appliances like flat irons, curling irons, and hair dryers. Furthermore, overwashing can deplete the protective oils in your hair.
  • Climate. A higher percentage of people with dry hair reside in arid, warm climates. The sun dries out your skin and hair in the same way. Furthermore, wind can dry out and damage hair.
  • Swimming. The chemicals, like chlorine, used in swimming pools can damage and dry out hair.
  • Medications. Some medications can cause dry hair, such as chemotherapy, hormones, and retinoids.
  • Medical conditions. Certain medical conditions lead to dry hair, like hypothyroidism, hypoparathyroidism, and anorexia.

Signs and symptoms of dry hair

A dry scalp can resemble and feel like dry hair. Many people get symptoms like itching or irritation along with flakes showing up Patients with dry hair frequently have frizzy hair and hair breakage.

However, these signs and symptoms can also occur in patients with certain medical conditions, so a thorough exam by your doctor is needed to determine the cause.

How is dry hair diagnosed?

You should visit your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment if you have dry hair. Your doctor can determine if you have dry hair or another condition that mimics dry hair, such as seborrheic dermatitis or psoriasis.

A timely diagnosis means that the issue can be resolved more quickly and your hair will not sustain as much damage. Your doctor will likely examine your hair and scalp, as well as ask you questions about your hair care practices. This information will help diagnose your condition.

Treatment for dry hair

The quicker you are diagnosed with dry hair, the faster it will resolve. The longer the condition lasts, the more harm it can do to your hair and the longer it will take for it to regain its typical glossy look. While some of these interventions are easy to try at home, others need to be monitored by a physician.

Treatments for dry hair include:

  1. Medical. Your doctor must treat you if there is an underlying medical condition that is causing your dry hair. If a medication is causing dry hair, your doctor will need to determine if you can switch to a different medication without causing detriment to your health.
  2. Protection. Make sure to shield your hair from the weather if you work outside or spend time there. Use a wide-brimmed hat to protect your hair from direct sunlight. When swimming in a pool, wear a swim cap.
  3. Humidifier. Install a humidifier in your house if you reside in a dry climate. This should help keep your hair from becoming dry.
  4. Diet. A proper, well-balanced diet is essential to the health of your body and hair. Steer clear of smoking and alcohol, as they can harm your health.
  5. Products. Only use hair products made especially for dry hair. Some people do not need to wash their hair every day, so use a mild shampoo for dry hair only when necessary. Use a gentle, hydrating conditioner for dry hair after every wash.
  6. Chemicals. Steer clear of harsh chemicals such as alcohol, perms, chemical straighteners, sulfates, and parabens. Your hair may become dry and damaged from these.
  7. Heat styling. Use less heat-styling tools, like curling irons, flat irons, and blow dryers. Try using them on a lower heat setting if you must.
  8. Over-washing. Avoid over-washing your hair and using hot water, which depletes your hair's natural oils and moisture. Some people, especially those who are older, do not require daily hair washing.
  9. Hydration. Try applying moisturizing hair masks or dry hair oils such as argan, coconut, olive, avocado, or almond oil. You can even make your own DIY hair mask at home with these oils or add them to your hair products.

Supplements to take for dry hair

There is some preliminary evidence to support using supplements to help with dry hair. However, more research is needed. These supplements include collagen, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins E and C, and iron. The use of biotin has been controversial. It appears to help grow strong hair only if you are biotin deficient.

Consequences of not treating dry hair

There are consequences if you use dry hair products or continue to use hair care techniques that damage your hair and you have dry hair:

  • Split ends and hair breakage
  • Slow-growing hair
  • Dull, frizzy, and unmanageable hair
  • Hair loss and thinning

Dry hair is a common condition that is typically brought on by poor hair care techniques, but it can also be brought on by some medications and medical conditions. See your doctor right away to obtain the correct diagnosis and start treatment immediately. The sooner you treat your dry hair, the less likely you are to have long-term consequences, like hair loss.

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