The straightener. A tool or weapon?

Daily hair straightening can lead to “mass breakage,” says Trichologist Elizabeth Phillips. A warning not to be ignored.

“First, it literally boils the moisture in the center of the hair shaft, cracking the smooth walls of the medulla and creating bubbles within the shaft that break and disrupt the flow of light (imagine a cracked prism preventing a uniform rainbow from being created). Second, the cuticle, pushed outward irregularly by these bubbles, also cracks and splits, losing its smoothness and becoming rough and more like shingles, which disrupts the reflective sheen.”

Yes, I know what you’re all thinking.


According to Dermatologist Dr Jessica Krant, this is what happens every time those ceramic plates come in contact with your hair. The following article highlights the harsh reality that hair straightening is more than just an effortless styling procedure but our hairs worst enemy.

So is it really a crime if we straighten our hair?

Well if your prone to styling it on a daily basis, then something has got to change, limiting the use of the hair straightener to up to once or twice a week can make a massive difference, and its not that hard.

Below are the most important points from the article, that majority of us can relate to and learn something from. They include:

  • Replacing the ceramic plates on your flat iron: The stickiness is caused by a build up of burnt hair cells, that are being trapped in your hair, hence causing further damage.
  • Excessive heat damages inner core and outer coat of hair. Dr Krant says that by making our “hair do things it doesn’t want to do” we are killing it. OUCH!
  • Hair straightening depletes hair of vital moisture: Hence moisture provides elasticity. Dr Phillips recommends teflon coated irons as they produce more steam for safer styling of the hair.
  • Thicker curlier hair needs more heat, therefore it’s exposed to more damage.
  • Those who colour their hair have a reduced heat tolerance.

According to Krant, scarring of follicles is another long-term side effect of straighteners and unfortunately cannot be recovered naturally. Although one might notice it soon it has a delayed effect; plummeting hair growth once the scalp and follicles have been damaged.

After reading this I doubt I will throw my straightener out, however I will definitely be more cautious of how many times I use it. One shouldn’t underestimate damage just because it’s not visible. Ladies warn your sisters, mothers and friends, its worth it.

Read the full article here:


5 thoughts on “The straightener. A tool or weapon?

  1. Wow – that’s so depressing that when we straighten our hair it “looses its smoothness…and disrupts the reflective sheen”. I always find my hair looks glossier after I straighten it. But I guess my dry ends (when I let it dry and hang naturally after a shower) are a result of straightening it so much…

    As I have very thin hair I’m genuinely concerned about how much I’m damaging it. I find my hair looks absolutely awful (goes all frizzy) if I don’t straighten it though and I can’t wear it out unless I’ve put it under the iron! Are there any other ways I can stop frizziness without straightening my hair? I use a protective spray when I do straighten it.. do you think those sprays actually help protect it?


    • Unfortunately it is quiet bad, but that is usually the worst kind of damage. In terms of reversing it, this depends on how damaged the hair follicle is, usually cutting your hair will eliminate the damaged strands but sometimes burns to the scalp can result in reduced hair growth.


      • Yes anti- heat sprays retain moisture in the hair follicles, hence providing a protective layer over reducing exposure to heat causing damage. The most effective ways to reduce frizziness include: using anti-frizz creams and serums, allowing your conditioner to soak in your hair for longer, argan oil, washing your hair with cold water and using the right brush that smooths hair and doesn’t pull the strands.


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