Using Natural Keratin to Prevent Hair Damage

Health hair is shiny, bouncy and strong. You should be able to tell if your hair is healthy by running your fingers through it a few times. If you find your hair breaks off easily your hair may be damaged. To repair this and prevent further breakage, it is important that we understand exactly what is at the root of the problem.

health straight hair free of damage
Photo By Jesse Briggs
Story By Whitney Cox

Your hair is made up of three layers: the cuticle, the cortex and the medulla. Hair damage involves the cuticle and the cortex. The cuticle is the outer, protective layer. It's made up mostly of keratin proteins that keep the cortex protected and hydrated. The cortex, is the inner layer that gives hair its flexibility and curl.

Cuticle damage can be caused by a number of things. First, heat is a very common culprit. When you blow dry, straighten or curl your hair with heat, you cause cracks in the cuticle as well as dry out the cortex.

Chemicals, as in hair dye, bleach, relaxers and even pollution in the air also cause hair damage by degrading the structure of the proteins.

healthy hair cuticle layers damaged hair cuticle
Left: Healthy hair cuticle layers - Right: Damaged hair cuticle

Friction too is a huge cause of hair breakage. Pulling and rubbing on your hair with a comb, brush, hair tie and rubbing against fabric while you sleep can all wear away the protective cuticle layer.

How can such damage be prevented?

Since it would be nearly impossible to avoid the causes of hair damage, the only way to prevent breakage is to reinforce the proteins of the hair's cuticle.

Additional keratin proteins can be introduced to your cuticles through hair products. But before you go out and buy a 'keratin-rich deep conditioner' read the ingredient label.

If the only keratin present in 'hydrolyzed keratin', put the bottle back on the shelf. 'Hydrolyzed' means that the keratin has been so degraded by processing that it no longer functions as it is supposed to.

Look for labels that say 'functional keratin protein' or 'Replicine' (the only patented functional keratin available on the market). These proteins will work with your hair to reinforce the protective cuticle layer, leaving your cortex hydrated and healthy.

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About Author
Whitney Cox - Author and Beauty Editor Whitney Cox is a beauty and health blogger based in Christchurch, New Zealand. Whitney writes regularly about the benefits of natural keratin for hair and skin.

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