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What Causes Split Ends?

Chandramita Bora
Spilt ends is a common hair problem, that is primarily caused by excessive dryness and damage. This article gives you a better understanding of this hair problem, along with its treatment.
Split ends and hair breakage are some of the most common hair problems that women encounter, owing mainly to the increasing use of hair styling products that contain harsh chemicals. The hair strand is composed of three layers, the innermost layer or 'medula', the middle layer or 'cortex', and the outermost layer or 'cuticle'.
It is the cuticle that protects the other two layers of the hair strand. When the cuticle layer is damaged, the inner 'cortex' and the 'medula' layers get exposed. This causes the development of split ends. It is also known as trichoptilosis, and is more common in individuals who have dry and brittle hair. There can be several factors that can cause this hair problem, which are discussed below.


Splitting and hair breakage are the signs of damage, which can be caused by several factors. Usually, a lack of proper hair care, and the use of hair products containing harsh chemicals, can make your hair dry and brittle. The frequent use of blow dryers without the application of any protective hair products can cause the hair to become brittle and more prone to breakage. Similarly, hair perms and relaxers, as well as the frequent use of hair straighteners can damage your hair, and make it more prone to splitting.
The overuse of certain hair products can make the hair shaft weak and fragile, which in turn can result in breakage. Hair styling products that contain alcohol and ethanol are more likely to make the hair dry and brittle by removing essential oil from it. This is the reason why, split ends is a common problem in women who frequently use hair sprays and mousse or hair gels on their hair. Excessive combing, vigorous brushing, and back combing can also cause hair breakage.
Apart from these, an over-exposure to sunlight, wind, and environmental pollutants can make your hair dry and brittle. Finally, a diet lacking in essential nutrients and vitamins can fail to provide adequate nourishment to the hair follicles. So, people who do not follow a balanced and healthy diet can encounter the problem of dry hair and hair breakage more frequently.

Treatment and Prevention

For split ends, prevention is always the best treatment. Once you get split ends, it is better to cut or trim your hair and then follow a proper hair care regimen to prevent this hair problem in the future. Be sure to moisturize your hair deeply to prevent hair breakage and splitting. For this purpose, you can use hair oils like coconut oil, olive oil, mustard oil, or almond oil.
Just warm any of these hair oils, and gently massage the scalp and your hair with it for 10 to 15 minutes. Cover the head with a hot towel for a few minutes. Leave the oil on your hair for a few hours or for the entire night, and then wash it off with a mild, moisturizing shampoo.
Apart from these, you can give your hair a natural hair treatment by applying a mixture of olive oil and egg on your hair once or twice a month. In place of olive oil, you can use almond oil as well. Mayonnaise can also moisturize your hair deeply.
Shampooing should always be followed by the application of a good quality hair conditioner. If your hair is dry, then avoid daily shampooing. People with dry and damaged hair need to restrict the use of heating appliances and hair styling products like hair sprays, gels, etc.
The use of blow dryers, hair straighteners, and hot curlers should also be limited to prevent further damage. Be sure to avoid the hair color, dye or bleach that contains harsh chemicals like ammonia. Even if a hair color does not contain any harsh chemicals, be sure to moisturize your hair deeply after coloring it.
Along with proper hair care, do not forget to follow a healthy diet, and brush and comb your hair gently. Vigorous brushing and combing should be avoided. Always comb your hair in sections, and start from the bottom and then gradually work in the upward direction. Be sure to use wide-toothed wooden comb for combing your hair, in order to prevent hair breakage and split ends.