Flat irons, like hair straighteners, are potentially damaging to your scalp. We’ve put together some tips for you to avoid the worst.
Modern ceramic flat irons can heat up to nearly 400 degrees Fahrenheit (over 200°C). Apparently, this is so that it is easier to straighten your hair, but it also makes it easy to damage your hair and scalp.
How flat irons cause damage
The outside of your hair is covered in a layer of overlapping cuticles, that protect your hair much like shingles protect a roof. They keep moisture trapped in, and help keep harmful substances out.
Unfortunately, this makes flat irons bad news for a few reasons:
- Cuticles become damaged at temperatures over 350 Fahrenheit (180°C)
- The clamping and pulling action of flat ironing strips away cuticles, permanently damaging the strands
- The heat can also damage your scalp, causing it to dry out and flake
The best way to flat iron
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use a flat iron, just that you should take care when doing so.
You can minimize the damage by:
- Straightening at a lower heat. This takes longer, but will save your hair and scalp
- Straightening only dry hair. Wet hair has a lower damage point than dry hair, leading to more damage if you try straighten it right after a wash
- Be gentle when drawing the hair through the clamps of the flat iron, to avoid mechanical damage from pulling on the hair too much
There is more you can do too.
Healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp. Use a moisturizing scalp care shampoo regularly, to help restore natural moisture while helping to tackle irritation and flakes.
Second, use a good conditioner, to help the flat iron slide smoothly over those hair fibers without damaging them.
Follow these tips, and you’ll have smooth, silky, straight and most importantly healthy hair.
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