Internal and external causes of hair breakage

Hair breakage is a natural occurrence that puts most of us off for a while. Learn what causes it to prevent them from protecting your hair from the impending danger.

A. Sawhny
Fashion & BeautyWritten by: A. SawhnyPublished at: Jul 07, 2013
Internal and external causes of hair breakage

Hair breakage is a natural process with the average person loosing about 50-100 hairs daily. When you suffer from hair breakage, that number can increase significantly and you may see a noticeable difference in the amount of hair-shedding taking place. It is important to determine the causes of your hair breakage as these can be traced to various internal deficiencies and external factors. Listed below are some of the most common causes of hair breakage:

Causes of hair breakage

Internal Causes

Poor diet & vitamin deficiencies

Eating an unhealthy diet with foods high in sodium and salts or sugary foods can impact your hair’s health. Health experts note that a deficiency of vitamins B and E and iron leads to hair breakage. Good sources of vitamin B include bananas, broccoli, meat, milk and poultry. Vitamin E rich foods include nuts, salmon and spinach. Iron can be found in clams, organ meats, soybeans, pumpkin seeds and iron-fortified cereals.

Medical conditions & weight loss

Post-operative stress, medicinal side effects, and various treatments or procedures also lead to hair breakage. Once you stop the particular medical treatment or are cured from an ailment, the hair breakage should cease. Hair breakage has also been seen in cases with hypothyroidism in which the thyroid gland fails to produce sufficient vital hormones. It has also been observed that hair breakage is often a temporary side effect of weight loss. Eating disorders such as Anorexia Nervousa and Bulimia are related to weight loss and bring about hair loss. If you are loosing hair rapidly and do not feel well, consult a Medical expert soon.

Lack of moisture and oils

If your hair is very dry, this means that your scalp is not producing enough natural oils to keep a certain level of moisture in your hair. The speed that these oils travel down you hair shaft will vary depending on your hair type. The curlier and thicker your hair is, the slower the process. You may also be stripping your hair of natural oils by washing too often or by not conditioning. The weather and your daily activities also have an important effect on the level of moisture your hair has if you swim often then the chlorine will dry out your hair. People living in cold dry climates will also find that they are prone to hair breakage because of the climactic conditions.


If you are very stressed with a situation in your life, be it work, or family or any other matter that is putting you under emotional or physical pressure, then this may reflect on your hair’s health. Stress can cause you to act roughly towards your hair and may also cause you to neglect your hair.

External Factors

Excessive heat

Experts warn us in applying excessive heat to hair as it results in the permanent damage to hair follicles, and is a leading cause of hair breakage. Regular use of blow dryers, curling and flat irons can damage your hair by making it brittle, as they heat the hair causing moisture to evaporate. When the hair shaft is dry, it is more prone to breakage.

Over processing

Over processing is the result of overlapping different chemical processes such as bleaching, colouring, dyeing, relaxing or perming your hair. Damaging chemicals such as Peroxide and Hydroxide ions that are found in hair colour, perms, relaxers, texturizers and other treatments are stripping, breaking, and changing the bonds of your hair’s texture. This frequently leads to hair breakage and loss.

Aggressive grooming

Too much brushing, combing, vigorous shampooing or styling can cause your hair to break. Often, this is in direct contradiction to the direction of hair growth putting pressure on the roots of the hair and resulting in breakage.Sometimes, people are too forceful with the way in which they comb or brush and the result is hair breakage.Hair accessories and some hairstyles may potentially damage hair. Rubber bands and hairpins that are worn too tightly can also lead to hair breakage.

Read more articles on Hair and Scalp Conditions.