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Brittle Hair Causes

Parul Solanki
Tired of dry and dull hair? Maybe it's not just your hair washing routine. The causes of brittle hair extend beyond that. Enlisted here are the reasons and some simple steps to take care of your crowning glory.
Dry, brittle hair lacks the sheen and texture of normal, healthy hair. The main symptom of this problem is hair which is prone to damage and can break quite easily. The causes for brittle hair may include environmental factors, poor nutrition, an underlying medical condition, or improper hair care.

Causes of Dry, Brittle Hair

Here are some of the main causes for dry and brittle hair.

Excessive Washing of Hair

One of the primary causes is washing your hair with shampoos that contain harsh chemicals. These can strip away the moisture and lustre from your hair.
Although shampooing your hair everyday might be in vogue for hair care, most hair care specialists state that it can result in your hair losing the natural protective oils which are secreted from the pores of the hair.
So, if you have dry hair, wash it two to three times a week using a mild, herbal shampoo. Also make sure that you invest in a good quality conditioner. Massaging your hair with mayonnaise is an effective home remedy in order to avoid the hair becoming brittle.

Styling Products

Excessive use of flat irons, relaxers, perms, or overusing blow dryers too can lead to brittle dry hair.
The hair is exposed to excess heat when we use these products. Using a flat iron on wet hair may even lead to burning of your hair. As far as possible, only use these kinds of products when necessary.

Environmental Factors

The cause of your hair woes can actually be the climate. Places with lots of sunlight, little humidity, and dry heat, may make your hair very dry and brittle.
Exposure to extreme wind or sunlight or chlorine in the water of swimming pools can do tons of damage to your hair, causing it to loose nutrients and become brittle.
You can restrict the damage to your hair from the environmental elements by wearing a hat or a scarf while outdoors, and using a swim cap when swimming in chlorinated water.


Malnutrition is one of the lesser known causes for hair loss and dry hair. This is because, in absence of essential nutrients necessary to maintain healthy hair, our crowning glory ends up getting dry, brittle and damaged.
Lack of iodine, vitamin B and copper in the diet is one of the key causes for dry hair. A healthy and a balanced diet containing omega-3 essential fatty acids, found in salmon and fish oil, walnuts and flaxseed, is essential for retaining the moisture of the hair.

Underlying Medical Problems

In addition to the external causes of dry brittle hair, there are certain medical conditions which might trigger off hair loss and damage your hair.

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder where a person limits the amount of food he or she eats for the fear of gaining weight. This desire to have the less body weight restricts the entry of essential nutrients in the body, thus damaging the hair in the process.


Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the body is incapable of producing the adequate thyroid hormones. Along with weakness, fatigue and depression, dry, brittle and thin hair is also an early symptom of hypothyroidism. If left untreated, the condition causes the body to slow its functions, leading to mental and physical fatigue, besides other symptoms.

Trichorrhexis Nodosa

This genetic problem results in weak points along the hair shaft, which causes your hair to break off easily. Along with this, trichorrhexis nodosa may also be the result of certain chemical treatments or excessive blow drying of the hair.


Too little of parathyroid hormone causes levels of calcium to fall and phosphorus to rise, leading to a condition known as hypoparathyroidism. This can lead to dry, brittle hair, rough skin, muscles spasms, seizures, and many more problems. The most common cause of this problem is an injury to the parathyroid glands during head and neck surgery.
Brittle hair can in turn lead to frizzy hair, breakage, and split ends. If you are constantly plagued with problems of dry hair, then try fixing the problem by moisturizing and conditioning your hair.
You can use olive and other essential oils or just get a great leave-in conditioner for your hair. Wash your hair every other day and never comb them when they are wet. A balanced diet which is rich in proteins, fats and carbohydrates, and plenty of water, can also help restore the shine to your locks.