Split end is the splitting of the tip of the hair from dryness or ill-treatment to hair.
The tip end of the hair is the one exposed to the daily wear and tear which leads to the wearing down of the hair cuticle, exposing the inner cortex.(1) This split of hair end is known as a split end.
What Causes Split Ends of the Hair?
Common processes which damage the end of the hair cuticle are:
Heat: Heat from the hair styling tools is a major reason for causing a split end. The tools used for hair styling emit extreme heat, which damage the already stressed hair ends.
Physical Damage: Physical damage includes styling, brushing, detangling, and handling of hair, which slowly leads to the breakdown of the hair cuticle.(2,3)
Not Getting Regular Trimming: If you don’t get regular haircuts, like at least once in 6 weeks, then it can cause development of split ends.(2)
Friction: Certain fabrics or material, such as hats, scarves, and sweaters damage the hair cuticle. This causes split ends of the hair. If the hair is long and they continuously brush the back of sweater or jacket, it can also damage the hair resulting in split ends.
Diet: What you eat and drink also impacts the strength of hair along with the overall body. A dehydrated or undernourished body is more susceptible to split ends and damaged hair.(2)
Environment: Whatever climate it may be, winter, windy, heat, dry, sun, it affects your hair. Frequent styling, washing, or different hairstyle all of which expose the hair end to the environment make them more susceptible to damage and split ends.
Can Split Ends Stop Hair Growth?
This is the question, which everyone would like to know the answer to. Hair grows at the bottom of the hair root, deep in the follicle in the skin.(4) A follicle is the only part of hair which is alive. The cells of the hair follicle reproduce, build up and push the older dead cells up and out of the skin.
It is not true that if hair splits, the hair growth is affected, because hair grows from the root. The other end of the hair is the dead end. The hair, if splits, breaks the hair which shortens the length of the hair shaft. If you have a shorter hair shaft, it does not mean the hair is not growing, it is just that the shaft has shortened due to the breakage cause because of the split in the hair end. Therefore, if you need long hair all you need to do is to repair the split ends.
How Can You Prevent Split Ends?
Trimming hair every 4-6 weeks can prevent the occurrence of split ends, which in turn prevents the breakage of hair.(5,7)
Few hair care tips, which can prevent split ends of the hair are:
- Brush or detangle your hair gently. Split end develops slowly. Therefore handling the hair properly will slow down the damage.
- Avoid excessive use of styling tools, as the heat emitted by them, splits the hair fast.
- Keep yourself hydrated. Drink plenty of water every day, as a hydrated hair stays healthy longer.
- Condition the hair deeply. Deep conditioning nourishes and strengthens the hair and prevents split ends and other hair damage.(6)
- Never towel-dry your hair. Towel leads to friction which damages the hair and increases the split ends.
- Use silk or satin material for the scarves and pillow for better hair health.(8) Line your hats with silk, as it would prevent the rough material from snagging the ends.
- Keep a low maintenance style, especially in the winter season when the hair is dry and more inclined to breakage.
- To prevent split ends, always use hair products, which are free from toxic and drying chemicals.
- Split ends are actually very annoying. They can ruin the look of your hair and therefore should be taken care of before it’s too late.