Harsh styling can be a brush with disaster for hair, scalp

Dermatologists at UT Southwestern Medical Center warn that certain hairstyles can wreak havoc on your hair as well as your scalp.

“Pulling hair into tight ponytails or braids; using hot rollers, curling irons, or straightening irons; and applying chemical relaxers can all lead to structural damage of the hair shaft as well as thermal and chemical damage to the skin of the scalp,” says Dr. Josephine Quintanilla-Dieck, a UT Southwestern dermatologist.

Regular and sometimes even occasional use of these hair techniques may lead to hair breakage and hair loss from the root. Although usually reversible, hair loss occasionally can be permanent with longstanding or severe cases.

Tips for healthy scalp and hair include:

  • Regular washing to eliminate dirt and oil buildup.
  • Minimizing the use of heated devices and chemical relaxers.
  • Using natural hairstyles that put less tension on the root of the hair.

If you do use chemical relaxers or heating devices, you can reduce the risk of damage by using them infrequently or incorporating “hair holidays” – styling-free days that allow for natural recovery.

Because there are many causes of hair loss, if you have already experienced some hair loss but are unsure of its cause, it is best to seek evaluation by a dermatologist familiar with hair-loss diseases.

Visit www.utsouthwestern.org/dermatology to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in dermatology.

Media Contact: russell.rian@utsouthwestern.edu" title="Email Russell Rian