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View Full Version : Can purely mechanical damage be permanent?



Naiadryade
October 27th, 2013, 05:49 PM
By the standards most people use when they talk about "damaged hair," I shouldn't have it. The last time I used any kind of heat (even blow-dryers) was in high school, probably about a year before I cut to earlobe-length when I was 18. I cut off all remnants of dye with that cut as well. I'm 25 now and my hair is almost waist-length--none of that hair has ever been touched by heat tools or dye.

And yet it is so fragile, I find I have to treat it like "damaged hair." It feels horrible if I don't douse it with moisture all the time AND do regular protein treatments. It splits (or forms white dots and just breaks off) when you look at it wrong, and even though it's gotten a lot better since I've found a routine with enough moisture and protein for it and wear it up more often, there is still never an end to my daily S&D quest. If I leave it down at the wrong moment and it gets tangled or rubbed a little, forget it--I'll have to spend hours cutting out the damage. And if I don't, my gained-length per month quickly drops to half what it is when I'm being really attentive.

I've recently come up with a theory for why this is... a theory that gives me hope for the future. For about 3 years before I joined LHC, when I was growing from shoulder length to BSL, my routine was very neglectful WO washing (often with an herbal ACV rinse, occasionally BS washes after things like naked oily wrestling). I would take a shower once a week or so, and spend 10-20 minutes massaging my hair under the running water. I wouldn't pile my hair up or anything, and I always tried to rub in a downward, not upward direction--but it was really a lot of manipulation while wet. I figured this was the way to effectively get dirt and sweat out of my hair and move sebum down the hair shaft--and it did work for that. In the summer I would shower less often because I would swim (in fresh water) almost every day, but when I swam I always spent a few minutes massaging my hair similarly. I'm thinking all of this wet manipulation may have actually permanently damaged my hair, on a microscopic level--like ripped off cuticles and the like. On top of this, for my entire life before I joined LHC my detangling method was to rip through the knots with a ball-tipped or wooden paddle brush. Sometimes I would do the start-at-the-ends thing, but I still ripped through the knots. Not to mention all the running through the underbrush of the woods with my hair loose and getting all manner of sticks and leaves stuck in the tangles. We're talking a lot of mechanical damage.

If my theory is correct, it means there is hope for my hair to be less damaged-acting/feeling sometime in the future, when I have trimmed off all the hair from my pre-LHC days and all that is left is hair that has never had as much wet manipulation and rough treatment as I used to give my hair. But does my theory hold any water? Is it possible for this kind of mechanical damage and hair "abuse" to leave such permanent damage? Or do I really just have naturally fragile hair?

Thanks!

Magalo
October 27th, 2013, 05:56 PM
Any damage is permanent damage. Hair is dead, it doesn't heal itself.

Firefox7275
October 27th, 2013, 06:02 PM
Sounds like mechanical damage, hygral fatigue (water damage) and chemical damage (baking soda) - and your longest hair is several years old to boot. All damage is permanent since hair is dead and cannot repair itself as skin can. Maybe have a hair analysis asking them to look at ends, middle and roots?
http://pedaheh.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/goosefootprints-hair-analysis-with-my.html

What do you mean by 'douse with moisture'? Hair that is damaged and porous doesn't necessarily need more water since that can swell and weaken the hair further, it needs the major emollients (fatty alcohols/ cationic surfactants), silicones, hydrolysed protein, coconut oil, ceramides, 18-MEA and panthenol. TBH it also sounds like it needs a good trim to prevent rough fried hair damaging healthier hair higher up, the hair analysis should be able to tell you how much hair is just not salvageable.

HintOfMint
October 27th, 2013, 06:05 PM
I would say ripping through knots is a pretty effective way to mechanically damage hair with a quickness. It's possible that your hair's delicate state is due to that, since, as noted above, damage is damage and it doesn't go away.

Emichiee
October 27th, 2013, 06:11 PM
The hair analysis sounds like a good idea!

Keep in mind that if hair breaks just from looking at it, a health issue could be at play.

This does not have to be some grave illness, it can be a deficiency, malabsorption or a hormone related issue.
Thyroid disorders can also cause a variety of hair problems.

Maybe look into that if you feel like nothing else is working :flower:

AmyBeth
October 27th, 2013, 09:11 PM
It's also possible that you have both mechanical damage AND fragile hair! Cover all the bases, girl! At 39 inches, you're not doing to badly:).

Naiadryade
October 27th, 2013, 10:15 PM
Thanks for all the help, everyone!


Any damage is permanent damage. Hair is dead, it doesn't heal itself.

True. Thanks for the reminder. I guess I just wasn't sure if this kind of mechanical damage would actually weaken the length of the hair over time, and not just break it off at points.


Sounds like mechanical damage, hygral fatigue (water damage) and chemical damage (baking soda) - and your longest hair is several years old to boot. All damage is permanent since hair is dead and cannot repair itself as skin can. Maybe have a hair analysis asking them to look at ends, middle and roots?
http://pedaheh.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/goosefootprints-hair-analysis-with-my.html

What do you mean by 'douse with moisture'? Hair that is damaged and porous doesn't necessarily need more water since that can swell and weaken the hair further, it needs the major emollients (fatty alcohols/ cationic surfactants), silicones, hydrolysed protein, coconut oil, ceramides, 18-MEA and panthenol. TBH it also sounds like it needs a good trim to prevent rough fried hair damaging healthier hair higher up, the hair analysis should be able to tell you how much hair is just not salvageable.

Oh good, I was hoping you would reply, Firefox! I always appreciate your intelligent perspective and scientific knowledge.

I guess I'm using "moisture" only partially correctly here--something I'm prone to do although I have seen the diagrams and know the difference. I'm referring mostly to fatty things--shea butter (often in Shea Moisture Deep Treatment masque, which dramatically improves the condition of my hair), coconut, olive and castor oils, treatments involving things such as eggs, avocado and mayonnaise. If I don't use these things my hair feels "dry" and damages much more easily.

Recently I was also using aloe as an ingredient in leave-ins and my mister bottle--which as I understand imparts actual moisture, given that the air is relatively humid--and my hair seemed to like that too. Made it softer and more supple. Now the heaters are on inside so I'll only be using aloe as part of wet treatments under plastic--although maybe you're saying I shouldn't?

Like I said, I do also regularly use hydrolysed protein in the form of Bragg's. This seems to make my hair stronger--my hair starts to feel weak and stretchy if I go too long without it. It's kind of like my hair is lacking in everything when it's not regularly being fed it!

I would definitely like to get a hair analysis when I have the extra money.


I would say ripping through knots is a pretty effective way to mechanically damage hair with a quickness. It's possible that your hair's delicate state is due to that, since, as noted above, damage is damage and it doesn't go away.

Very true. That means hope for the future, then! I've been very gentle detangling since I joined LHC. In theory that's ~10 inches of "virgin" hair at the moment.


The hair analysis sounds like a good idea!

Keep in mind that if hair breaks just from looking at it, a health issue could be at play.

This does not have to be some grave illness, it can be a deficiency, malabsorption or a hormone related issue.
Thyroid disorders can also cause a variety of hair problems.

Maybe look into that if you feel like nothing else is working :flower:

Hmm. I was B12 deficient without knowing it for a few years until about a year ago. Do you think that would have an effect? Perhaps I should look into it.


It's also possible that you have both mechanical damage AND fragile hair! Cover all the bases, girl! At 39 inches, you're not doing to badly:).

Ugh, it is possible! Though I'm at 29 inches now--39" is my goal/tailbone.

Emichiee
October 28th, 2013, 05:33 AM
Yes B12 would definitely do it! B Vitamins are important for hair health. Healthy hair from the inside out is the foundation for good hair care. Otherwise it won't work ;-).

Firefox7275
October 28th, 2013, 05:39 AM
Oh good, I was hoping you would reply, Firefox! I always appreciate your intelligent perspective and scientific knowledge.

I guess I'm using "moisture" only partially correctly here--something I'm prone to do although I have seen the diagrams and know the difference. I'm referring mostly to fatty things--shea butter (often in Shea Moisture Deep Treatment masque, which dramatically improves the condition of my hair), coconut, olive and castor oils, treatments involving things such as eggs, avocado and mayonnaise. If I don't use these things my hair feels "dry" and damages much more easily.

Recently I was also using aloe as an ingredient in leave-ins and my mister bottle--which as I understand imparts actual moisture, given that the air is relatively humid--and my hair seemed to like that too. Made it softer and more supple. Now the heaters are on inside so I'll only be using aloe as part of wet treatments under plastic--although maybe you're saying I shouldn't?

Like I said, I do also regularly use hydrolysed protein in the form of Bragg's. This seems to make my hair stronger--my hair starts to feel weak and stretchy if I go too long without it. It's kind of like my hair is lacking in everything when it's not regularly being fed it!

I would definitely like to get a hair analysis when I have the extra money.



Aw thanks!

Basically none of the ingredients you list moisturise (add or increase water), they are all occlusives/ anti humectants/ sealants. Coconut and olive oils will penetrate probably reducing porosity and increasing elasticity providing they are applied to dry hair, egg yolks might also have some effect but due to the lipids not the proteins. The remainder will also simply coat the hair conferring slip and shine but I wouldn't do lengthy 'deep' conditions unless you are using proven penetrating ingredients, leaving hair wet for long periods swells the cuticle, breaks structural bonds and weakens the hair ... so it will feel softer but potentially at a cost. Be careful with butters, they are not known for their slip as oils are.

Isn't Braggs loaded with sodium (I am UK based so not familiar with that specific brand)? If so that could be counter productive since salts are hygroscopic and dehydrating, consider switching to another form of hydrolysed protein, either gelatin or (if vegetarian) a commercial haircare product containing hydrolysed wheat or soy or suchlike.

Protein can actually be moisturising depending on the humidity since it is a weak humectant (attracts water). Many fine or damaged heads do well with protein in their rinse out or leave in conditioner so a regular dose rather than an occasional treatment. By all means use a little aloe, humectants are useful in moderation and in the right humidity/ dews - you are aiming to have your hair hold the right amount of water, not too much and not too little.

I'm guessing you prefer 'natural' remedies but don't discount proven ingredients like ceramides, 18-MEA and panthenol, these might sound like 'chemicals' but all are found in nature, first two found in healthy hair so are arguably more natural to the human body than some food items. They have different but complementary effects to penetrating oils and hydrolysed proteins - useful as those are - aiding with slip, shine, protection and moisture balance - I think of them as my silicone substitutes but with the added bonus of penetrating.

HTH!

bunzfan
October 28th, 2013, 06:51 AM
I have the same problem lots of dots and splits higher up the hair shaft i now think it wasn't being moisturised enough even though i use oils so ive gone back to cones and now brushing is much easier i always changed my updos regularly so i cant see how it was damaged but maybe it just wasn't getting enough moisture.