5 Causes Of Hair Breakage You May Not Know

WrittenbyLuat Duong
Last updated

Among profound types of damage, hair breakage might be one of the most prevalent. The issue of hair breakage can happen in either people with normal hair conditions or those experiencing medically related hair loss. 

Even worse, excessive hair breakage is also a common cause of hair loss. Thus, preventing hair breakage is an essential work toward having healthy hair and sustainable hair growth.

There are many reasons you may confront hair breakage. There are several ways breakage can occur, from mishandling your hair products or employing unhealthy hair care routines. However, other more subtle things cause damage too.

This blog will reveal these possible culprits, just so you know what to watch out for.

Scalp Scratching

Bird in the center of an ocean


Scalp scratching may happen as a result of an itchy feeling. Also, some people often scratch their head with fingernails when washing their hair.

Continuously scratching the scalp with fingernails can damage the scalp’s surface severely. Moreover, fingernails can remove cuticle scales from the hair shaft, resulting in weak and brittle hair. As a result, prolonged exposure to scratching can lead to an increased chance of hair breakage and excessive hair shedding.

Instead, you may need to address the root cause of the itchy scalp - which could include greasy scalps or unclean conditions with excess buildup. Also, an intense feeling of itching on the head can emerge, among other symptoms, due to seborrheic dermatitis. This disorder causes reddening, mild-to-moderate scaling, leaving behind greasy, flaky scalps. 

Also, remember to use the fingertips only when washing your hair!

Read more about scalp and scalp disorders - The Influence Of Scalp Condition On Hair Health And Pre-mature Hair Loss

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Hair Length

Barber cutting a man's hair

Have you ever noticed how healthier your hair looks after getting a haircut, or even just a trim?

It is common knowledge that long hair is more prone to damage than short hair, especially the end parts. The hair ends, which may be several years old, have borne the stress of wear and tear over all that time.

Since weathering throughout time is inevitable in long hair, it is not surprising breakage and shedding may happen more frequently. As a result, the longer your hair grows, the more you find it challenging to maintain its wellness.

Also, one fact is that hair does have breaking points. If you let your hair overgrow its limit, it may start falling out. Even though achieving lengths longer than the such point is not impossible, you will need a thorough plan for intensive hair care.

Otherwise, weathered hair will end up with poor retention. Then, a short hairstyle could increase the appearance of your new-grown hair as well as its general well-being.

One good way of maintaining your hair is by using a trusted hair product such as Hair Strength Shampoo and conditioner. You can also try the Hair Strength and Growth Bundle from Scandinavian Biolabs.

Age-related Factors

Two men and a kid smiling


Ageing is an unavoidable biological process with many influencing factors, accounting for a multitude of visible manifestations on the hair as well as the skin.

The hair growth rate slows down with age, accompanied by a decrease in the diameter of hair strands with less pigment. People will experience thinner, finer, light-coloured hair and even hair thinning. Due to the alteration in the hair characteristics, your hair becomes less resilient to damage, thus more prone to weathering and breakage.

How you age is a correspondence of biological and external factors. Though it is hard to control the prior, you can effectively get the latter under control. A sufficient diet, favourable habits and a healthy hair care regimen will be helpful in reducing the harmful effects of ageing.

Read more about hair ageing - What Happens To Hair With Advancing Age?

Hair Combing And Brushing

Equipment for maintaining hair

Combing and brushing may happen at various times throughout one's hair care routine. They may be concurrent with hair drying, part of the styling process following hair drying, or for grooming purposes.

While the primary goal of combing is detangling, backcombing (a.k.a. hair teasing) is not unusual. This technique is used to create the appearance of increased hair volume by creating tangles. However, this comb produces extensive hair damage because the cuticle is lifted and sometimes removed. 

Meanwhile, brushes with stiff bristles can cause more damage than combs. Considering their closely spaced bristly, they can both fracture the hair shafts and strip cuticle cells from the hair fibre.

The ideal comb should be made of flexible materials and possess smooth, rounded, coarse teeth that allow easy slipping through wet hair without snagging or pulling at strands excessively. Similarly, a good brush should have even, ball-tipped, rough, and bendable bristles. 

In addition, how you detangle your hair can also change its characteristics. Wet hair is more pliable than dry one. Thus aggressively combing and brushing wet hair can elongate it extensively, making it more prone to breakage when it dries out.

Hair Shaft Architecture

Each hair type has a signature shaft architecture, which determines its diverse characteristics, including fracture endurance. Straight hair tends to tolerate better than curly one in terms of breakage. And the kinky locks should be gently groomed with a wide-toothed comb or hair pick rather than the usual combing.

Hence, how aggressive you can groom your hair must be typically based on your hair structure and distinct characteristics to avoid hair damage and shedding.


Hair breakage might happen due to honest mistakes like head scratching to respond to an itchy scalp. But it could also arise due to unfit habits in daily hair care routines, such as improper combing and brushing practices or a delayed hair trim.

However, with intrinsic causes such as the ageing process or the individual hair shaft architecture, it’s advisable to come up with an effective plan to protect and nourish your hair.


Draelos, Z.D. (2004). Hair Care: An Illustrated Dermatologic Handbook (1st ed.). CRC Press. https://doi-org.libproxy.tuni.fi/10.3109/9780203314241

Kim, S. , Shin, S. , Kim, S. and Na, Y. (2021) Understanding the Characteristics of the Scalp for Developing Scalp Care Products. Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications, 11, 204-216. doi: 10.4236/jcdsa.2021.113018.

Trüeb R.M. (2010) Age-Related General Problems Affecting the Condition of Hair. In: Trüeb R., Tobin D. (eds) Aging Hair. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi-org.libproxy.tuni.fi/10.1007/978-3-642-02636-2_15

Antell, & Taczanowski, E. M. (1999). How environment and lifestyle choices influence the aging process. Annals of Plastic Surgery, 43(6), 585–588. https://doi.org/10.1097/00000637-199912000-00001
Luat Duong

Luat Duong is a Copenhagen-based writer and content strategist specializing in hair loss and health. His work has been featured in MyHealthGuide, The Right Hairstyles, and Woman's Era. He is a graduate of Vaasa University. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.