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Hair Health

Men’s Hair Can Be Damaged and Dry Too. Here’s What You Can Do.

Men usually worry more about losing their hair than about if their hair is healthy.  Women are generally the ones who stress over dry, damaged hair.  After all, hair dryers, flat irons, bleaching, coloring, tight ponytails, and braids can take a toll.  Most men are happy not to deal with all of that.  Even so, it’s not ideal when men’s hair looks dried out or frizzy.  Not to mention that hair that doesn’t look healthy sometimes isn’t.  So, guys, let’s talk about your hair’s appearance and texture.  We have some tips on how to improve your hair’s condition and what to do if you think there’s something causing damage that’s out of your control.

What Causes Men to Experience Dry Hair?

Before we talk about what you can do to repair your hair, let’s discuss the reasons why your hair may be dry or damaged.  Let’s start understanding what happens when your hair gets dried out.  Oils that keep your hair healthy are produced in your hair’s roots.  There isn’t a source of natural lubrication.  When your hair’s natural oil and moisture are lost, it also loses its smooth texture and shine.   There are many reasons why this could happen.  The most common reasons are aging, health conditions such as thyroid disease, and the effects of sun, wind, and other weather-related conditions.  If your hair begins to thin due to male pattern baldness, your hair’s texture can also change.  Thinner hair can become wavy, dry, and brittle.

How Does Men’s Hair Get Damaged?

Here’s what happens when your hair gets damaged.  Each strand of your hair is protected by a cuticle, which is a protective layer.  When your hair cuticles are healthy, they sit closely together and lock in moisture.  The cuticle protects your hair from elements such as chlorine and sun exposure.  However, those cuticles can peel away from your hair when they separate.  Your hair can’t hold moisture or natural oils.  Contrary to what many people believe, you cannot repair damaged hair.  It’s not a living tissue and doesn’t have regenerative abilities.  However, damaged hair that is cut can grow healthy cuticles.

How Guys Treat Dry or Damaged Hair

If your hair doesn’t look in tip-top shape, all is not lost.  Here are some tips that can help:

Use the Right Shampoo

If a two-in-one is your go-to for the shower, you may want to rethink your shampoo.  A good quality shampoo helps not only clean your hair, but will help balance your scalp’s chemistry.  Shampoos include detergents, pH adjusters, preservatives, thickeners, scents, and additives.  Harsh ingredients strip the oils out of your hair.  If your hair is dry, you’ll want to avoid lauryl sulfates, sarcosinates, and other harsh ingredients known for deep cleaning.   Instead, look for mild cleaning agents such as polyoxyethylene fatty alcohols, polyoxyethylene sorbitol esters alkanolamides, betaines, sultaines, and other gentle cleansers that also help make your hair more manageable. (01)

Remember the Conditioner

Skipping conditioner may save time, but it also means that you’re missing the opportunity to add moisture.  Conditioning seals your hair’s cuticles to keep the moisture locked in between washes.  Topical hair loss treatments such as Minoxidil or Finasteride may affect the texture of your hair, especially at the beginning when the medications first start working.  A good conditioner can help by making your hair more shiny and manageable.  Conditioners will often include ingredients such as hydrolyzed silk, animal protein, and glycerin.  When selecting a conditioner, look for protein-derived substances.  Protein works with the keratin in your hair to hold the cortex fragments together.  Your split ends will mend temporarily until the next time you shampoo. (02)

Hair Masks Aren’t Just for Women

If you’re looking for a quick-fix to make your dry, brittle hair softer and more manageable, we’re going to share a secret weapon to treat your hair: hair masks.  Yes, women are the ones who usually use hair masks.  But, not only can men use them once or twice per week, they give short-term results that make your hair stronger, shinier, and tamer.  Keep in mind that you should only apply a hair mask from the roots to the ends of your hair.  Hair masks aren’t meant to be used on your scalp. The hair mask that you choose will depend on your hair’s texture.  It’s helpful to look for keywords such as “fine” or “coarse” that match your hair type.  Hair masks with all-natural ingredients and keywords such as “keratin” and “biotin” are good choices.

Visit Your Barber Regularly

Sure, it was probably fun having long Covid hair and not having to visit the barber every five weeks.  However, if your hair is dry or damaged, it’s important to keep those appointments.  Overgrown split ends make your hair look messy and frizzy.  Not to mention that when men go too long between trims, they end up with an awkward, unflattering shape that’s tricky to camouflage.  No matter how many styling products you use, your hair will still look unkempt.

Eat a Protein-rich Diet

If your hair is dry or damaged, make sure you’re eating plenty of protein.  Protein will strengthen and repair the keratin in your hair strands.  You’ll still need a trim to get rid of the damaged ends, but more protein and keratin means your hair will grow stronger.  A lack of protein has actually been linked to hair loss. (03)  When your body doesn’t get enough protein, your body will conserve what it has by shifting hair into a resting phase when your hair falls out.  Good protein sources include eggs, chicken, shrimp, fatty fish, nuts, tofu, legumes, and cottage cheese.

Ask Your Dermatologist About Vitamins or Supplements

If your hair is dry or damaged and you aren’t sure why, it may be a good idea to have your vitamin, iron, thyroid, and other blood levels checked.  Hyper and hypothyroidism can both cause dry, brittle hair.  Low iron and other vitamin deficiencies can cause the same effect.  Balancing your thyroid or supplementing with vitamins usually brings noticeable improvement.

Stop Using Harsh Coloring Products

If you color your hair and notice signs of damage, it’s a good idea to stop.  In some cases, hair dye lifts the cuticle from the hair and changes the texture.  The hair that’s been colored won’t return to its natural state.  However, only the hair that has been dyed will be affected.  New hair that grows from your scalp will have your original texture and sheen.

Don’t Wait to Get a Professional Opinion

By the time you notice that your hair’s texture and finish has changed, there’s a good chance that damage has already occurred.  A visit to the dermatologist can help you understand why your hair doesn’t seem as smooth or manageable as before.  Once you identify the culprit, you can start to get your hair back on the road to good health.

Sometimes men don’t realize that the change in their hair’s texture or appearance is due to male pattern baldness, telogen effluvium, or another type of alopecia that can be treated.  If you aren’t sure why your hair’s texture or appearance has changed and want a professional opinion, we’re here to help.  Simply fill out the questionnaire.  One of our board-certified dermatologists will review your case and make recommendations on what you can do to get your hair back on track.  

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